It all started on July 13th, 2007, when I loaded my bags, said good-bye to my family and drove to the airport. Soon after I took off from Kansas City, my plane landed in Chicago. A Lead America leader was waiting to take me to Lake Forest College where the ten day medical conference was going to be held.
That night all 250 of us attending the conference arrived at the auditorium for our opening ceremony. Students ranging in age from 15 to 18 years old from all over the world would be at this honorable leadership conference. We were all nominated to be a part of this once in a lifetime experience.
My days consisted of breakfast in the morning, leadership activities, team building fun, medical simulations, visits to Roseland Franklin University School of Medical Science, a field trip to downtown Chicago, dinner at Navy Pier, and a trip to the Surgical Museum. Three days out of the week we spent our day at Roseland Franklin. There, I got to learn about caring for patients, diagnosis, and treatments.
One day, I got to use a human simulator named ‘Frank’ to practice my skills on. ‘Frank’ could make different medical scenarios happen to him so I had to figure out the problems. My team of three worked on ‘Frank’ and we discovered he was having a heart attack and an asthma attack.
Another day, I got an actual real live patient that came into the clinic with medical problems. I got to act like a doctor and chart the patient’s information, interview the patient and diagnose their disease. The last day at the university, I got to witness a live surgery on a patient’s foot that had ulcers due to diabetes.
We actually got to talk to the surgeon while she was doing the surgery. After seeing this live surgery, I know for a fact that I want to be a surgeon! While at the University, we were followed by photographers the entire time. I feel famous now.
The next four days of my trip were spent on campus and on field trips. One of the four days we took a field trip to the Surgical Museum of Medicine in downtown Chicago for half the day and the other half of the day I spent shopping at the Magnificent Mile with friends. Later that night, we all had dinner at Navy Pier.
The other days, I learned leadership skills, public speaking, team building activities and medical education. I had simulations and lectures from doctors telling us about their lives and life in the medical field. On the last day, July 22nd, I woke up at 6:00 A.M., said good-bye to all my new friends and left to get on the plane to go back home.
I will miss Brooke from Scotland, Kelsey from Wisconsin, Catherine from New Jersey, Bree from New Mexico, and Stella from St. Louis, Missouri. We all have a lot in common — our love for the medical field, travel, and experiences. Catherine and I have the most in common. We have the same birthday, love South Carolina, and enjoy life. We exchanged numbers and e-mails to keep in touch.
When I arried in Kansas City, my family was waiting for me. I was so excited to see them and I finally got the hugs I have been waiting ten fun days for. I told all my life changing stories the whole way home. My parents had balloons waiting for me that showed how much they missed me.
This whole trip taught me how I can make a difference in the world by being a good leader and what medical school is going to be like. At the beginning of this trip, I was so scared because I knew I was going to be out of state without my family and I didn’t know if I could do it. By the end, I learned I could do it. I could have fun and meet new people while still keeping in touch with my family.
If I had the chance, I would do this whole trip again in a heartbeat. I had the time of my life. This trip changed my life in so many ways. I got over being scared about being away from home. Made life long friends from around the world. I learned how to become a better leader and to believe in myself.
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