Notre Dame senior Candice Park always had a passion for the sciences since she was a young girl. Coupled with witnessing her father’s compassionate care as a doctor, Park gradually developed an interest for healthcare that has led her now to the path of medical school.
When she arrived at Notre Dame, she did not waste any time in developing her passion for medicine. Following her first year at Notre Dame, Park, a biology major with a minor in anthropology, worked with Crossover Healthcare Ministry’s free clinic in Richmond, Va., as part of the Summer Service Learning Program. There, she scheduled appointments for patients, conducted financial screening interviews, scribed and translated for physicians, and developed a patient hospitality training program.
The summer after her sophomore year, Park, from Zionsville, Ind., found herself traveling throughout cities in India as an intern for Child Family Health International. Her time in India only reinforced her passion for helping others. “During my summer in India, for example, villagers from an impoverished area had to dig into the city water pipeline for fresh drinking water. I remember thinking it is both amazing and dejecting that people have to be so resourceful merely for their own survival; the scene reinforced in my mind to what degree people will strive for a better life,” Park said.
On campus, Park is involved with many different activities. She is the co-editor-in-chief of Scientia and the co-president of Biology Club. She also serves on the Biological Science Senior Leadership Committee and the Kellogg Student Advisory Board. “Embracing these leadership positions has helped to hone my skills of communication and problem-solving, tools I know I can apply to a career in medicine,” Park said.
After she graduates from Notre Dame, Park intends to enroll in medical school in the fall and hopes to decide on a school by April. Park said that her interests about which specialty to pursue will likely evolve as she moves through medical school, though she is leaning toward becoming an OB-GYN. “Since reading Alanna Cohen’s 10% Human, I have been fascinated with topics like the human microbiome, the benefits of breastfeeding, and the effects of a vaginal delivery versus a Caesarian section,” Park said. “These interests, compounded with my experience in the Maternal and Child Health Program in India, could possibly point to a future career as an OB-GYN.”
Park’s advice to aspiring physicians is to imagine the qualities of a good doctor and to try to embody those characteristics. “Then, choose activities that align with these desirable characteristics,” Park said.
Ultimately, Park said that she found success at Notre Dame by cultivating her passions to be able to tell her own story. “I was so caught up in what it takes to be a good applicant that I lost sight of what it takes to be a good doctor,” Park said. “Eventually, I started focusing on classes and extracurriculars I truly cared about. I believe one hour you spend on an activity you are passionate about is worth two hours of an activity you are not. Instead of checking off the proper resume points, try using your medical school application as a way to tell your own personal story.”