Finding My Niche

By: Bianca Walker

Throughout middle and high school, I always found myself drawn to science and math. They were my favorite subjects and I was one of the few students who chose them over subjects like english and history. My eleventh-grade year is when I really discovered that science is what I would like to pursue my career in. On November 3rd, while my sister was celebrating her birthday, I received a call from the hospital stating that my mom had a heart attack along with flatlining twice and having multiple seizures. I found myself baffled because how could a forty-six year old women whose never had any health issues have her life turned upside down at the blink of an eye. After my mom’s surgery, the doctor came into the room to talk to her about the steps that she needs to take so that something like this doesn’t happen again. I remember him explaining to her that she doesn’t need to eat fried foods, red meats, and other types of foods that could increase her chances of having another heart attack. I remember researching all of the variables that can cause a heart attack because we eat very healthy and had not eaten fried foods and red meats in years. A few days later, my mom realized that before her heart attacked, she had been very stressed and this is what could have possibly caused the events that followed.

My mom’s story is why I chose to go into medicine. Opportunities like the HBCU Scholars Program and PACER are helping me find my niche and love for cardiovascular disease. As an HBCU Scholar, I was given the chance to explore research on pulmonary arterial hypertension and the effects that TGFBR3 receptor had on mitochondria. While this summer as a PACER scholar, I have been learning about pregnancy and cardiovascular disease, specifically preeclampsia. Along with the many skills and techniques that I have learned over my research experience, every day I discover the importance of research and medicine. Science is endless because there is always more research that can be further explored or a peculiar medical case that needs to be solved. Knowing that one day I will be one of the many people who can push medicine further brings me joy. 

Even though science has its trials, to me it’s about being able to do something I love while being able to give back to my community in the process. When I have a challenging class or assignment, I think about the bigger picture, what I want to accomplish in life, and that I have a purpose for what I’ve chosen. One way I do this is by thinking about my favorite show “All American”. On a particular episode, the main character, which is a teenage black male, got shot in a drive-by. When he arrived at the hospital, the doctor and nurse on staff had prejudged him, assuming that his life wasn’t valuable enough for their resources because they believed that he was in a gang. In the process of them failing to give him the care that he needed, it was the black nurse who took control over the situation and ended up saving his life. This episode is one of my reminders that life can change in an instance, and its situations like this that remind me why it is so important for not only myself, but for underrepresented people to go into healthcare. I was lucky enough to have a mother who knew the importance of taking me to black doctors when I was sick or for check-ups, so that I was able to see first-hand and know that what I want to be is achievable. Becoming a doctor and being able to teach others about health gives me the unique opportunity to express apart of myself, while achieving one of my biggest goals in life. 

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