Derek V Gibbs
Growing up, my parents instilled in me a strong work ethic. This strong work ethic carried me through my undergraduate years, during which I earned two bachelor degrees in four years, all the while working or doing research. I applied to medical school during my senior year in college and, to my dismay, I was turned down. Of course, this was incredibly humbling; I knew at that time I wasn’t the best applicant, but being turned down felt like a failure. I had a choice at that time, to move on with my life and get a job, or take a year to pursue something I was passionate about. I decided to take the year, evaluate what I wanted to do with my life, strengthen my application, and reapply. I took a position as a pharmacy technician, volunteered in an emergency department, and spent time shadowing to confirm medicine was a career I wanted to pursue. Through dedication and hard work, the principles my parents stressed from a young age, I succeeded in matriculating to medical school. That experience taught me that perseverance really does pay off. I also learned that “failure,” as I thought of it at that time, is not an endpoint, but rather a place from which to build. There is always something to learn and take away from every experience.