Before I begin, let's just take a moment and admire how gosh darn cute this baby is. I guess that would be an awfully annoying comment if she were mine, but good thing I can parade around saying such things because she's my beautiful niece. I'm a Very VERY proud Aunt if you haven't noticed. And Baby Carson was my little graduation present sent from heaven. I graduated college in May of 2016 where I majored in Psychology pre-health and minored in Chemistry, and like many college graduates, my plan was not as finalized as I'd imagined it to be when I walked across that stage, saying goodbye to the comfort and shelter of my beloved university. I knew that my ultimate goal was to be a doctor, go to medical school, and contribute to the world in a meaningful way by helping people fight health disparities, but there was also an inkling in my spirit that said it was okay to travel and gain much needed life experiences on my own before jumping into institutional learning again. I used to get a little weary thinking about the decision that I made, because I didn't know how people would perceive my reasoning for taking some gap time before going to medical school. I now know that it was the right choice for me in order to present to a medical admissions board, my best self. That girl at the end of her senior year of college wouldn't have been ready for med school.
It's crazy to say that because I know that I would have been fully capable of doing the work. I could stand the rigor, but something in my spirit didn't feel complete with just jumping into medical school, so I cast all of my efforts into working hard to raise money to take an immersion trip to Capetown, South Africa. In Capetown we volunteered at Fikelela Children's Home, Baphumelele, Nazereth House, and a local soup kitchen. We challenged ourselves to see God in all things and to completely immerse ourselves in South African culture. We witnessed the ingenuity and creativity of uprising business entrepreneurs who catered to their 2.2 million population within Khayelitsha, one of Capetown's largest townships. We experienced history in it's rawest form by living and seeing hardships and barriers that few would be able to sustain through. It was breathtaking. I experienced God when talking to an older woman named Ms.Blanch, who told me to go out into the world and be whatever I wanted to be. She had anterograde amnesia, so she gave me this message several times, repeating her exact words as if we'd just met each time. I took heed of God's great crafting ability while climbing Table mountain. Words cannot explain how it feels when you're perfectly aligned with the clouds on top of a mountain, looking into the horizon.
When I look back on those last few months of my senior year of college I think of all of the job applications I filled out; volunteer programs, different clinical jobs, and of course any job involving research, cause you gotta do research to get into medical school right? Then I think of the time I spent in South Africa and it definitely wiped away a lot of my confusion and frustrations. Secretly, in the depths of my mind I feel as though I knew the answers to my open ended questions that sat, lingering in my brain. I just wanted to follow the path that I was being told, afraid that if I didn't do it the "right" way I would end up hopeless. I feel hopeful for the future! Very hopeful in fact, because I am dedicated to challenging myself and putting myself in uncomfortable situations that stimulate growth and enlightenment. As of now, I am currently working at a pediatric clinic back in my hometown, I'm living much closer to parents and family, and I've started a new venture of being an Independent Mary Kay consultant. I feel myself growing everyday and I feel closer to where I'm supposed to be going. I'm learning that no one's story is the same so if you feel trapped inside of a box, take a deep breath, put your mind at ease, and listen. Listen closely to your spirit and the ideas that rush to your brain all of a sudden. These are helpful tools that guide us on our paths of life.
I anticipate applying to medical school in June of 2017 and I also can't wait to check off the many tasks on my list of things to do during my gap time. I pray that God leads my footsteps and I hope to have clarity when making future decisions.
So let me take this time to share with you my goals for my two year gap time.
- Learn fluent Spanish
- Get more clinical experience by shadowing and volunteering
- Read. Read. Read. (I just finished Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill not too long ago)
- Educate myself in the realm of Black History and my own personal ancestry
- Travel - Learn about the intersectionality and diversity of culture
- Pick up an instrument again- I played violin for 7 years before college
- Learn to Salsa Dance
- Buy a Puppy
- Prioritize my family by supporting them and giving them quality time in order to sustain strong bonds
- Be a success Independent Mary Kay consultant who enriches the lives of young girls and women