The teenage years are tumultuous. Amid the stresses of friendships, academics, extracurriculars and more, young people often feel pressure to figure out their lives right now. What gets lost in the process is the freedom to explore and the ability to dip one’s toes into a variety of interesting career options.
That’s where Turlock High’s Medi-Careers Club comes in. From bringing in guest speakers to organizing school blood drives to running health booths on campus, Medi-Careers Club gives members a taste of the burgeoning health field.
On a recent Wednesday, 13 club members traveled to the Northern California Shriners Hospital for Children in Sacramento for an in-depth look at the medical profession. The tour kicked off with an orientation in which students learned about the history of Shriners Hospitals , and the lifesaving work done there.
“The health care field is big and broad and diverse, and it has so many opportunities for young, smart, energetic people,” Catherine Curran, public & community relations director, told the 60 students from various California high schools.
The medical professions available were illustrated by the diversity of the hospital staff, who represent more than 140 different careers. From radiologic technologists to researchers, from child life specialists to medical media photographers, the 22 Shriners Hospitals across the United States, Canada and Mexico rely on trained professionals to deliver their renowned care.
The career options resonated with Turlock High senior Mandip Bassi.
“For someone who works in the medical field, helping patients is not just a job, it is a form of devotional service and charity,” said Bassi, who is secretary of the Medi-Careers Club. “This is why I personally would like to in some way be a part of this amazing occupational field. I want to work for something that will make an impact on others’ lives.”
Making a lifesaving difference is a priority at Shriners Hospitals, club members learned. In addition to providing state-of-the-art medical care, all 22 Shriners Hospitals have a school to ensure that patients keep up academically with peers despite sometimes lengthy hospital stays. If a patient is unable to make it to the hospital’s classroom, a teacher takes class to the patient’s room.
“Having the opportunity to visit this hospital was wonderful,” said Yarely Mendoza, a junior. “I’ve seen a lot of helping and a lot of interaction. I’ve seen that you really do change lives.”
Students’ desire to positively influence something greater than self is precisely the type of attitude that the Medi-Careers Club tries to impart to members. In its 44-year history at Turlock High, the club has done much to shed light on the varied world of medicine, inspiring students to set medical career goals and offering guidance for achieving those goals.
“The anatomy of a body has always been of great interest to me ever since my first science class,” said junior Mirella Lopez. “I’m so thankful that being a part of the Medi-Careers Club has exposed me to many different areas of medicine. I now aspire to choose from one in order to play a big role in helping my community.”
Sunpreet Kaur, a senior, also appreciates the impact the club has had on her outlook on medicine. “Throughout my many experiences in this club, I’ve watched how being a part of the medical field allows you to improve lives, bring joy to countless faces, bring happiness to people, and bring hope,” said Kaur, club treasurer. “I think that’s one of the greatest ways possible to make a difference through a career.”
Henna Hundal is a Turlock High School junior and a member of The Bee’s Teens in the Newsroom program.