“You Can Never Become a Neurosurgeon”

the beginning of my journey to defy the odds

“You can never become a neurosurgeon, just to let you know. It’s statistically impossible haha.”

Being a girl born with the toughest skin in the heart of Bronx, New York, I never thought twice about his skin-piercing words. But, whenever it seems as if I can’t do it or it seems too impossible, the echo of his heart-wrenching voice haunts me. It was just a small remark that should not have been thought of more than twice, but it stayed with me because it hurt. It hurts to have your dream walked on in a split second and labeled as impossible for someone like you. So, I took it upon myself to prove him wrong. College is one of the most important times in one’s life, and it is even more demanding for me if I am on a pre-med track. Therefore, I decided to get a headstart in my studies and attend University of Georgia’s Freshman College Summer Experience.

First step: Leave the lavish idea of completing my undergraduate studies in New York. I couldn’t believe I was choosing the University of Georgia over the city that never sleeps. I was choosing Georgia over the overcrowded sidewalks filled with people who would die for their dreams. I was choosing Georgia over the cheap pizza carts and the train stations. I thought I would never enjoy the luxuries of New York City ever again or find anything that can compare to the extravagant city.

New York is a very crowded place with people populating every corner. So, I did not think University of Georgia’s population would intimidate me in any way. I was right. I love walking down South Lumpkin street with many people smiling back to me. It is a very home-like feeling that I love. With that, Freshman College allowed me to get a taste of what the Fall will feel like. There will be thousands of more people roaming the street. The only advantage I will have is that I will know where I am going on day one.

People will have whatever opinions that want on FreshCo, but I will never regret coming here. At times, it does seem as if I am at a summer camp instead of college which can feel annoying. However, at the end of the day, whatever activity we are doing will be done with a purpose. It is not called ‘wasting time’ watching a film that has to do with women empowerment, something that the women of UGA will actually need within the next four years. I do not see it as a ‘waste of time’ having a class centered around finding yourself and your goals since that is what makes many college students feel lost within the next four years. I have gained so much more from the past month than seven credit hours. I’ve gained a newfound respect for UGA. Even if it is not in the heart of New York. The fact that they even thought about such a beneficial program at such a crucial time shows how they actually care for the students’ mental health.

Within the last week, I develop something I know a ton of college students lack. I developed empathy and character. Through the service project hosted by Habitat for Humanity, I got to construct housing that low-income families were able to rent for a steady amount. It is surreal to think that I just made someone’s life a tad better. I wish I could have stayed to see the new tenant’s reaction. Through this project, I understood the value of empathy and selflessness. I understood that good things come with hard work and enthusiasm. You have to enjoy what you are doing in order to enjoy the luxuries of it . It all made me want to pursue my dreams even more. As a neurosurgeon, I could have this same feeling of selflessness on a daily basis while making someone else’s life a tad better. I can help people for a living which would be the definition of a dream job for me.

In the end, this summer semester was worth much more than the money I paid for it. Friendships that will sustain the struggle of college were created. Gratitude at a magnitude of no other was created. Even more excitement for my future was formed. And, I have a sense of belonging here at the University of Georgia. If you were to compare New York to Georgia, you would be looking at two vastly different pictures. However, I now have a home away from home. People smile just because they can smile. There are still thousands of people with terrifyingly big dreams who roam the sidewalks. I am so lucky to all this place a home, and I am so lucky I got to experience it before the other five thousand kids show up. Never shall the memories of the Freshman College Summer Experience be forgotten.

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