Going into my first semester of my undergraduate career, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to “be.” I went from a business major during orientation to a nursing major with a dance minor the day before classes started, still unsure if this was the path I wanted to commit to. During my freshman year, I began to brainstorm about ways to combine my interests of dance and the performing arts with my capacity to care for others. In the spring of 2016, I developed a desire to design an Integrated Studies major through the Honors College which would prepare me for admission to a Dance/Movement Therapy master’s program for graduate school. Appropriately titled “pre-dance/movement therapy,” I worked closely with Dean Ruebel, Dean Emert, and advisors from the dance, psychology, and nursing departments in order to develop this major in a way that would allow me to maintain my nursing commitments, as it was important for me to not simply abandon my plan to be a baccalaureate-prepared RN. After months of research, academic planning, and reflecting, I managed to put together all of the paperwork and verbal defense necessary to get an approved Integrated Studies major and maintain my second major as a nursing student.

About a year after finalizing my INTS major, I had an epiphany. Why had I always shied away from my father’s nagging about switching to pre-medical preparation? Did I want to be a member of the care team or the leader of the care team? The answer to these questions were: because I was afraid I would fail, and I wanted to be a leader. The clear thought process and corresponding response stemmed from a fear of the unknown and my natural drive to succeed. I spent the summer of 2017 reflecting on my intentions for my future career, researching what conventional paths to medical school were, and making plans to shadow doctors in various disciplines and settings (sound familiar?). After once again reaching out to the resources I have on campus – from scholarships and financial aid to pre-medical and nursing advisors – I learned that I would be embarking on a journey that again required I defend my rationale and be confident in my decision. My true intentions behind now being a nursing major, integrated studies major, and taking the pre-medical coursework is to have the experience and knowledge necessary to provide the best care possible for my future patients. Having the background of a nursing student and a patient care assistant in the Emergency Department is going to provide me with the confidence in my clinical skills that most incoming medical students will not have, as well as give me a baseline of medical knowledge and alternate interventions before I begin any sort of graduate education.

I hope to attend medical school, but only time will tell what God’s plan is for my career path. If not the MD track, I will definitely pursue a master’s program for nursing leadership or research to become a neonatal nurse practitioner, and plan to use my interest in movement therapy and the performing arts to supplement my patient care even more. I believe the variety of this coursework is at the least helping to keep me engaged and interested each day in my education. That’s all I ever wanted – to love what I do every day!