France Archange is a senior English major and Biology minor at Oakwood University. You can connect with her on Instagram
Okay, I don’t have a crazy story to tell and it was only while writing this that I even began to realize my ‘why’ for my career in medicine (I’m in my fourth year of college lol, but don’t mind that). I don’t have the entire puzzle figured out, but I can share some pieces that I’ve pulled out from my experiences that point to why I love medicine and chose to pursue a career in it. At age seven, I randomly declared to my mother that I was going to be a pediatrician. At that time, I was a sickly child who kept to herself. I didn’t know what this sudden passion would lead to at that age, but I did recognize how relieved I felt when a doctor diagnosed me instead of dismissing my symptoms. I recognized the impact that a good caretaker, whether it was my pediatrician, a nurse, or my mother, had on me when I was ill. Worries and fears about my well-being were replaced with trust and hope that what I was experiencing would not last forever. And even if the pain took long to go away, I believed that the care I received would overcome the discomfort my conditions caused. This passion for adequate care presented itself in the way I responded to sick family members and friends; I found joy in comforting them and helping them figure out the cause of their malaise as much as I could. I would google their symptoms (don’t laugh, I was young and didn’t know about the fake news and pseudoscience on the internet), advise them on what remedies to take, and encourage them to go to the doctor if the remedies didn’t help. This is my first puzzle piece.
Another thing that influenced my decision to study medicine is the presence of health disparities. I’ve been surrounded by Black American and immigrant families and communities for pretty much all of my life. Growing up I didn’t know the term ‘Health Disparities’ but I saw the lack of healthcare providers in my neighborhood. My family would have to travel to a predominantly white town for doctor appointments. I also noticed that parents who had immigrated with their children had little knowledge of the healthcare system in America. They had a hard time adjusting to it and little guidance and resources to do so. When I got to college, I joined the BioMedical Association, finally could name what I saw as disparities, and realized that many communities around the nation were plagued with the same thing I observed in my community. My passion for providing adequate care now includes the need to provide it for underserved communities. This is my second puzzle piece.
The financial struggles that my family faces motivated me to pursue a career in medicine. I want to provide for my future family and myself in ways that were not possible for me growing up. Although this motivates me, it’s not the only reason for my choice in career. I have learned that decisions should be made out of passion and not just struggle. This is my third puzzle piece.
The last puzzle piece is my mother’s recent health complications—which almost resulted in unnecessary surgery and almost cost her her job. Through this, I was again reminded of how important it is for physicians to really listen to and care about their patients’ stories. The medical care we receive heavily impacts our way of life. And so, my choice to pursue medicine is also rooted in my passion to offer holistic and efficient care. Now more than ever, I know what it looks like when someone doesn’t receive proper care and the extra hurt it can cause. Therein lies the last piece (for now). I know the puzzle will keep growing as I grow, and I am excited to see the full picture.