Here’s what she had to say:
Where did you go to high school? Christian Brother’s in Sacramento California (Oak Park).
What do you want to do in life? I want to earn my Master’s in Public Health studying mental health and substance abuse disparities. Then I want to become a practicing psychiatrist, maybe pediatric psychiatrist. After that, I want to retire and be a school counselor. Seems doable right?
How do plan to get there? School and research and field experience.
What is next for you? More school.
Enijah took the year off after graduation to relax and work to save money for school. She applied to several public health schools and will soon make a decision on where to go.
How did you decide on which schools to apply? I looked at diversity on the websites, faculty-to-student ratio, cost of living in the area, and curriculum concentration in my desired area of study.
Was location a factor? Yes. I wanted to make sure I was an area in an underserved community. This way I am able to reach my targeted community.
You mentioned diversity, why is that important? Because, I feel like my primary education has been with me as the minority. Then when I went to college, I was the majority (Howard University is a predominantly Black university). Now I want a little bit of both. I also looked at the diversity of the faculty, both in sex and race. Coming from Sacramento, I appreciate cultural diversity.
Why do you think that is important? In any job you want to know that there are people that can identify with you. I feel that a lot of people don’t get the appropriate treatment because they feel like their provider can’t understand their perspective if they are from a different race or culture. I have had encounters at my current place of work where the interaction across cultures and languages has seemed disjointed or awkward. An example of this is with my Latino families. They seem to not understand fully when spoken to in English but, when you attempt to speak in their language, they get excited and then the conversation is something they can relate to. This is just one example.
Why do you want to be a psychiatrist? This is so generic, but I really want to help people who otherwise are unable to help themselves. I really want to give back to a community that gave to me and this is one way to do it. Also, I am 22-years old and a black doctor has never treated me. Not even at Kaiser.
I personally found the last statement interesting because since moving back to California, two of my patients have said to me that they have never seen a black doctor before.
Tell me about your career counselors in high school. Did you have any? Not really. I haven’t had a good experience with that. My counselors were good but we did not do any career stuff. Then in college I never was as active as I was in high school so, a lot of things I did not figure out until it was too late.
Things like what? I was not proactive enough. Like going to the career center, going to the department, or volunteering under the science professor.
So, you did have those things available to you? I feel like you had to go seek out everything, and at the time I was more focused on going to school and then home.
Do you know people who used the career resources? Yes. My freshman year RA graduated from Howard with her B.S. in Biology and went on to Harvard Medical School. She is currently finishing her last year in medical school while completing her MPH and is applying to residency programs.
Wow! Enijah has a lot of hard work ahead of her. She will head off to her chosen school in just a few short months and we will continue to chronicle her progress with new interviews and progress reports. Check back for updates.