Youth Canada

Achieving a dream of becoming a physician

15-10-2008 by Laura Drudi

Achieving a dream of becoming a physician

I would have liked to say that getting accepted into my first year of medical school at McGill University at the age of nineteen was the first step on my journey in becoming a physician; however, that is ever so far from the truth.

My story begins in grade four where I had to write an assignment on my future career. Intrigued by the sciences, laboratories and physicians, I knew then that I wanted to become a physician and a researcher. My passions and interests developed throughout my high school years, as did my aptitudes in the core science subjects – math, physics, chemistry and biology. However, I knew in high school that the literature in the textbooks was not the hands-on science that I was so eager to be exposed to in the laboratories. With an impatience to wait until my university education, I started my own research experiments in grade 10 at the University of Montreal.

After my great grandmother was diagnosed with cancer, I wanted to learn more about this chronic disease and discover a way, if any, to inhibit the metastasis of cancer. After conducting thorough literature research, I hypothesized that aspirin and acetylsalicylic acid, which are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, might have an effect on the inhibition of cancer cell proliferation. A simple idea became a yearlong project with very convincing results of aspirin’s potential in cancer treatment at a cellular level. This experience opened my doors to biochemical and physiological experimentation. This was the opportunity of a lifetime for me, a high school student at the time.

In the midst of my academics, research, and family life, I was also a rugby player for my high school team. In my final year, I was recruited to be a member for the Quebec provincial junior women’s elite team and played in the National Rugby Championships for two consecutive years. My passion for rugby led me to become a varsity rugby player for McGill in my first year of university and medical school.

I was exposed to the medical health care system through volunteering at St. Mary’s Hospital as a friendly visitor, but more so with my countless visits to the Children’s Hospital with injuries extending from broken ankles and fingers all due to rugby. I realized that all my experiences, interests and ambitions were the true cornerstones of my goal to become a doctor.

A physician is a composite of many identities, qualities and attributes. Through the McGill medical application process, I dissected all the layers to my own individuality and discovered in the process who I am as a person, researcher and athlete, and most importantly, who I want to become as a physician.

LAURA DRUDI is a first year medical student at McGill University. She conducts research, the president of the Aerospace Medicine Association, and enjoys extreme sports such as skydiving and scuba diving.