An Unconventional Path
So I thought I was going to be a pediatrician for most of my life... My grandmother was a pediatrician who died when my dad was 4 so he always wanted one of his kids to be a pediatrician in her honor. Well, as the first-born, that was me.
Everything I did in college/medical school was for peds - youth community outreach programs, summer camp for kids whose parents have cancer, pediatric cancer research, etc. Step 1 was do-able for peds (not so much ortho).
And then I did my peds rotation. And I could not have been more miserable. It just did not fit my personality. Phenomenal field with incredibly bright and talented physicians - just not for me.
As someone who was an athlete for most of her life, ortho drew me in. In January of my third year of medical school, I decided I wanted to pursue orthopedic surgery. And I threw myself into it - all or none.
I shadowed ortho residents. I picked up extra call with the residents (and tried to make myself useful). I picked up research projects. I studied my a** off for STEP 2 and did well. I was lucky enough to land a year-long research fellowship and took a year off to do it. That was probably one of the best and luckiest decisions I have ever made - phenomenal year with inspiring mentors, immense growth, and research productivity. I was working the hardest I had ever worked and was probably the happiest I had ever been.
I am a full believer of hard work, perseverance, and humility. And a little bit of luck. You just need to find and surround yourself in those who believe in you and make the most of opportunities, no matter how big or small.