For my STEP signature project I was fortunate enough to participate in an internship with The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center for Emergency Medical Services. Specifically, I was a CPR Intern with Dr. Ashish Panchal and helped work the pilot program of Hands-Only CPR in Schools at the University level with the American Heart Association. Throughout my year long internship, our goal was to train atleast 600 Ohio State University students and Columbus community members in Hands-Only CPR and we ended up greatly surpassing that number and reaching over 2,000 people! My job as an intern was not only to train at the various sessions but also help grow the program and spread the importance of knowing CPR throughout the Columbus area. My love for this specific field of medicine and the community outreach aspects of the project are things that I have discovered I enjoy throughout the duration of the internship and I will be returning for another year with this program — this time serving as an Internship Coordinator.
Through my experience in the program I have not only developed many skills that will directly transfer to the real world but also learned more about myself as I reflect and affirm my passion for science and teaching as well as my post-undergraduate goals of attending medical school. While medical school has always been the dream, this internship put me in the position to learn more about my desires to participate in community outreach and serving others. I have always been a service oriented individual, but being able to reach such a large amount of people and see tangible results has been an overwhelming experience for me. I take such pride in this program and being able to see the difference in the surrounding community has been a surreal experience. In terms of specific transformational experiences, this project as a whole has been heavily introspective for me as my STEP adviser, fellow interns, and participation in the program have allowed me to verbalize my desire for medicine and help me determine my personal goals and what makes me an individual in a field where people are often cookie-cutter copies of one another.
Through the internship I made a great deal of friends, many of whom were determined to go into the medical field, but not necessarily as physicians. As someone who is constantly surrounded by pre-med. students I usually have to go out of my way to meet and interact with people who I would not typically have a chance to talk to. While I have developed a diverse group of friends in my years at Ohio State, the CPR internship provided me with a different experience since it was the internship that served as the common interest between us all, and our academic backgrounds and hobbies came second. Our desire to be a part of the internship made us similar enough to become close friends, but the variety in where we wanted to go from there made me appreciate our group even more. The way we were always working together helped me establish myself in the group and I was able to find what I am especially good at contributing. In more concise terms, this internship opened my eyes to the diversity in a field I once saw as very repetitive in terms of the people who are a part of it. I learned that while a common goal for all of us was to go in to some kind of medicine, we are all coming from different backgrounds and striving for different goals. What made this experience unique was our ability to get close with one another as we were all reaching for the same goal of training as many people as possible but it also provided me with friendships I had not had prior.
Looking back, I also think this new-found confidence in who I am and where desire to go in term of my education and future career has helped transformed me into a stronger, more outgoing, leader. Public speaking was the largest hurdle I had to overcome with this internship and it is a skill I am very happy to have the chance to practice every single week as a part of this internship. You have to learn not only how to find the confidence to interact with people but also do so in a manner that will keep them engaged and help them learn this extremely important skill. After getting comfortable with speaking to strangers I have personally felt a shift in my interpersonal interactions with everyone I know. Learning how to talk in front of people as well as interact with people in general is such an priceless skill that I have learned through this internship simply from practicing it over and over again, and without the motivation to do so in order to be a better intern I would not be at the level of comfort I am today when I do trainings or anything involving public speaking.
All of these transformations are directly applicable to what I want to do in the future. Throughout this experience I not only reaffirmed my desire to become a physician but have been able to dive deeper into whys and hows. Finding my deeper motivations has allowed me to really picture what kind of physician I want to be in the future; for example, I want to be a doctor whom is not only in the clinic helping patients but also teaching the upcoming medical students and finding time to give back to the community around me. For this upcoming year we hope to surpass the 2,000 students we trained last year and as I take on a leadership position I hope to help facilitate this growth within the group to the best of my abilities. I have discovered that as the internship continues to grow, so do I and overall this experience has been a monumental involvement for my time as an undergraduate.