Student finds enrichment in attending Medical Congress


Junior Victoria Van speaks to Richard Rossi, the president of the National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists. Submitted photo

Story by Victoria Van, Entertainment Editor

“Congratulations! We are proud to select you for recognition as a Delegate representing Texas High School and the state of Texas at the Congress of Future Medical Leaders.”

The Congress of Future Medical Leaders is a highly selective national program honoring academically superior high school students dedicated to the service of humanity through medicine.

Nobel laureate speakers. A live laparoscopic surgery. A once in a lifetime experience.

My first thought was to throw this letter away and forget about it, but my mind wondered if this letter was remotely genuine because of how prestigious the words made the conference sound. My slight curiosity pressed on to read the rest of the letter. Soon enough, I found myself enrolling into the Congress of Future Medical Leaders.

I’ve always been fascinated with the thought of helping others by pursuing a career in the medical field, but I’ve been slow to accept the fact that I need to start preparing. I didn’t want to make the effort to learn more about medicine. I had a slow start. My thoughts were more focused on my hobbies, such as art and my general high school classes, so my fear of actually thinking about becoming a doctor stayed in the back of my mind.

Letter in hand, I unraveled an opportunity to engage with other high school students who have been looking for the right time to dive into researching their career. The Congress promised an unforgettable encounter so I flew to Boston, awaiting the launch of a new discovery.

Preconceived ideas of being the lonely person with a notepad in the corner were expected. I’m not one to make friends easily, but sharing the common interest of becoming a doctor lingered around every person I met. Contrary to my belief of being an antisocial pessimist, the first friend I met was standing in front of me as we were waiting to enter the building and we instantly connected over our love of science in medicine. We started conversing about our dreams and aspirations, promising to stay in touch as we became medical students.

Soon after, my fellow delegates behind me became my new friends as well. Our group sat together, listening to each individual speaker deliver their speech and imagining our future as doctors. I allowed myself to find friendships and open up about what I’ve only dreamt of for so long.

As the Congress went on, each speaker resonated with me in some way that I’ll carry. Ebola survivor Chris Sacra, Princeton University student Janelle Tam and Nobel Prize winner Mario Capecchi were only a select few who’ve brought out the necessary motivation for me. I had the chance to speak briefly with the man who puts the whole show together, Richard Rossi. Getting to see him was an absolute honor and I hope to see him again as a respected figure. Standing in awe of their presence was enough for me to reach out within my goals and attempt the impossible.

Attending the Congress helped me learn and interact with amazing people and I was able to witness a live surgery. In addition, I was invited to attend a medical internship in Poland next summer where I can have a one-on-one conversations with surgeons in the operating room along with other exciting opportunities in store. I would never have the chance without exploring the different avenues I can take prior to medical school. No matter how far fetched my dream seems, I knew this experience at the Congress of Future Medical Leaders was the necessary guide for me to continue achieving my most ambitious goals.

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