For four summers, from 2005 through 2008, I worked as a counselor at Camp Sweeney, a diabetic children's camp in north Texas. As counselors, we taught our campers about diabetes and reinforced healthy habits through a structured regimen. We helped give them self-confidence to lead full, happy lives. Additionally, we gave them a support network of peers whom they could learn from, teach, and remain in contact with once they returned home. It continues to be fulfilling to see my campers grow into successful, confident, and healthy young men and women.
As much as I impacted my campers, I believe they impacted me. My time at Sweeney sharpened old skills and developed new ones. I began to see myself working in a health care setting— working with others, working for others.
I continued to work as a designer before returning to school to pursue a career in health care. After speaking to students, educators, and professionals in different careers, and after exploring my own goals, skill sets, and interests, I decided to pursue medicine.
I will enter medical school in the summer of 2014. I am currently interested in pediatrics and primary care, but I am open to learning where I fit best.
This is not a farewell to my creative side. Design has influenced the way I see, think, and work. Art and science may appear to be disparate fields, but they are complements, not opposites, that strengthen each other. I believe the application of design thinking— that is, design's problem solving process— to medicine and health care can lead to meaningful innovation for patients, providers, and systems.
I find myself at a very exciting intersection of my past and my future.
Though I was aware of my different interests at a younger age, I believed I had to compartmentalize them, that I could only do one at a time. Now, I realize I can express both at the same time.
It is because of my nontraditional journey that I have learned so much about who I am and who I want to be. These puzzle pieces are finally falling into place.
I'm excited to see what's next.