Many people say life is about opportunities. I believe however, that it is what you get out of those opportunities that matters the most. This summer I was blessed with the opportunity to go to the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine in Boston. By taking advantage of this nomination, not only did I expand my knowledge base, I had an awesome experience!
When I arrived at the Sheraton Hotel in Boston, I was very shy and nervous. I kept to myself until I was approached. I made a few friends but it was only a little group. Then I met my roommate who was from New York. We were put into different groups and attended small classes and discussions. The name of my group was Lister. It was here when I began to act like myself. I became very outgoing and made a lot of close friends that I continue to keep in touch with today.
Aside from the small sessions we had three times a day, we also had special events scheduled throughout our days. We had guest speakers and even visited some places. Our first visitor was Susan Briggs who spoke to us about the importance of being a leader in the field of medicine. The next day I visited the University of New England-College of Osteopathic Medicine, where I learned what it’s like to go to medical school from students themselves. It got even better the next day, when we were able to watch a complete knee replacement live on a big monitor. My favorite part of the trip was going to a local clinic. I was able to experience a colonoscopy, tracheotomy, heart surgery, and observe organs that were donated from patients who could not beat their disease. We were able to dress like doctors and even ate in the same cafeteria as the doctors who worked there.
There were other parts of the trip that did not involve learning. One night there was a talent show. My friends from my group and I danced in front of 400 students. It was hilarious.
Also, the next day we went to Hampton Beach in New Hampshire. The water was freezing, but I made a really close friend, Dino, and we had a football game. That same night there was a dance for all the students that was also a lot of fun. The following day, after a brief meeting on AIDS and a visit from David Butler (who developed a camp for children with AIDS); we went to the city of Boston and were free to walk around with all our friends. I was able to tour the entire historical city. The last night of the trip there was a Farewell Dinner-Dance on a boat. It was a great night and I was upset that my stay was coming to an end.
When the last day arrived all the students gathered in the ballroom of the hotel. A dermatologist spoke to us about being happy with what you do. He tried to help us understand that we should not worry about work but worry about the things that are most important to us. He explained how his wife, daughter, and job made him happy, and therefore, that’s why he continues to work in the field he does. After he left, a student from each group made a speech about their experience. One of my friends from my group made a speech. He was so upset about leaving all his friends that he began to cry along with many other students in the room. Then I realized how much I learned not only about medicine, but meeting people. A group of strangers that I’ve never met before become almost like a family. I went from being the quiet guy to being the guy everyone loved talking to. I also realized what I could have missed if I had passed on this great opportunity.
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