I never imagined that my time as an intern at Hospitality House would have such a significant influence on my future career, but I will carry the interactions and experiences I had with me for the rest of my life. No matter what duty I was tasked with, I was always presented with a new challenge that encouraged me to expand my mind and think differently than I had ever previously considered. I was placed outside of my comfort zone on multiple occasions, and I engaged in conversations that I was unprepared to have. However, those difficult situations taught me more about myself as a person and allowed me to reflect on my decision to pursue medicine.
Prior to interning at Hospitality House, I never realized the importance of time. My busy days would fly by, and I would never take time to cherish the moments that I had with others because I was so preoccupied with my to-do list. However, the residents at Hospitality House reminded me how fragile life is: one day you could be having a cheerful conversation with someone and the next day you could find them in a state of crippling depression. I have learned that for vulnerable populations, every day is a battle and time cannot be taken for granted. Through assisting with the health clinic, I have also recognized the inter-connectivity of homelessness, mental health, and chronic disease, and I have come to understand the need for consistent and trustworthy medical providers in under-served areas.
My greatest takeaways from this past semester have not only been the relationships I have formed with the other interns and staff members at Hospitality House, but the bonds I have created with the residents as well. As the health intern, I witnessed first-hand how impactful the establishment of trust can be on someone who is going through a difficult season of life. I was able to see how my willingness to listen to their narratives and validate their concerns showed them that I cared about their well-being, and as a result, they had faith in my words and recommendations. Above all else, my time as an intern showed me that people from all walks of life have the potential to formulate relationships and engage in meaningful conversations. It introduced me to different caring professions and confirmed the need for cross disciplinary interactions and systemic change. As a healthcare professional in the future, I will commit my practice towards advocating for those that need it most. I will engage with my community and consistently think about how to best serve those around me.