From Wait-Listed To President

“You never know what’s around the corner. It could be everything. Or it could be nothing. You keep putting one foot in front of the other, and then one day you look back and you’ve climbed a mountain.” – Tim Hiddleston

I remember thinking that now was a good time to check. I had just dismissed my students for recess and was sitting in one of the fifth-grade classrooms at my lower/middle school alma mater. Instead of slightly paying attention to the words streaming from my-then teacher’s mouth as she busily wrote on the chalkboard, I was laser-focused as I began signing into the Ohio State College of Medicine applicant portal. This portal is where I was going to learn one of three possibilities: accepted, deferred or rejected. An eery flashback began at the moment: an eighteen-year old version of myself signing into the Emory applicant portal in the library to determine whether or not I was going to spend four formative years in Atlanta, GA. On that day, I was accepted. On this day, however, there was a different result—deferred. If I was a sail boat some of the steam had certainly come out of my sails. I slowly crept out of the classroom and headed towards the gymnasium where my students were. I was in a bit of shock but still enthusiastic that I had not been rejected as I knew a rejection left no hope, but a deferral left at least a glimmer. In the following days, I went on other medical school interviews. And, ultimately received my first acceptance on March 14th, 2014 from Indiana University School of Medicine.

Regardless, my heart was set on The Ohio State University College of Medicine for multiple reasons. I wanted to be a Buckeye Student Doctor; to train in the almost newly-finished James Cancer Hospital; to relocate to the Midwest (a geographical location I had yet to live in) and I cherished the opportunity to become a physician at one of the top medical schools in the country. As May approached I was hopeful for a call from Ms. Georgia Paletta or Dr. Capers. One evening, while at GDS High School, I was tutoring my dance instructor’s daughter. We were reviewing chemistry when my phone started to vibrate. The screen was facing down as not to disturb me, but I took a quick glance and saw with a Columbus, OH area code. I quickly excused myself and answered the phone to the wonderful tone of Ms. Paletta saying, “Hello Jason! Are you still interested in Ohio State Medical School?” to which I ecstatically said, “Yes!” As they say the rest is history, but I think the rest is what makes it so sweet. I arrived to freshman orientation, nervous and anxious, wishing that my future at Ohio State included one of many friends, mentors and colleagues I would be able to go to for support. Moreover, I knew that God gave me this contagious personality I would be able to use to help others and to create an inclusive environment if I was ever given the opportunity to lead. I joined the student council at OSU COM as a first-year medical student. I continued to work hard and diligently creating Q-Zip Nation with my good friend, Tim, and demonstrating a commitment to others and the College of Medicine through other various activities. When I got elected President I could only think back to the aforementioned quote at the top of this page; you may not know what’s around the corner but one foot after another and you look back and it’s a mountain!

It was a blessing outlined by honor and humility to have been a leader amongst leaders.

And I hope this will serve as a testament to WHERE you finish truly matters more than WHERE you start.

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