I recently went on a trip to Washington D.C. for a medical congress. As a small town girl from Tooele, it was definitely a culture shock to me.
All the people wearing suits and talking on their cell phones amazed me. It seemed like everyone had places to be and people to talk to. The streets were always busy and rush hour was — every hour! There were thousands of places to eat and so many historical sites to see. I learned more the week I was there than I had ever done before.
While it was amazing to be there, the thing that amazed me most was the medical congress I attended. Becoming a doctor has always interested me, but I didn’t know how amazing and interesting the medical field really is. I got several opportunities to talk to medical school deans, Nobel Peace Prize winners, young prodigies, the President’s physician, amazing scientists and surgeons.
The three days I went were the best days of my life. I met teenagers just like me with whom I had intellectual conversations and didn’t feel like a complete nerd. I had the opportunity to watch a live surgery and ask the surgeon questions. I also heard many inspiring talks on the latest scientific and technological innovations that people are trying to develop.
One of the highlights of the congress was when Jack Andraka, a teenage prodigy, talked to us. He developed an easy, affordable way to detect pancreatic cancer in early stages. His talk inspired me, because of his willingness and desire to learn anything and everything. It inspired me to not just learn what I had to, but find out more, do more research, and actually think for myself.
The other highlight of the congress was when Dr. Mario Cappechi came and spoke to us. He is a professor at the University of Utah and a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for his work with genetics. The things he has done with his life amazed me. I even got to talk to him in person.
My trip to Washington, D.C. changed my life. I felt so inspired to make a difference in the world. Seeing all these successful people and kids like me, helped me feel like I could be just as successful.
Since then, I have been constantly thinking of ways I could make the world a better place. It doesn’t just have to be as a doctor; I can do things now as a teenager that I never even dreamed of.
I would go back to the congress in a heartbeat. The staff in charge of the whole thing was so inspiring. They really truly want us to succeed as young prodigies. They would do absolutely anything to help me fulfill my dreams.
I feel truly inspired to continue learning and growing. My high school experience seems meaningful. It sparked my own insatiable thirst for knowledge. I hope everyone gets the opportunity to feel that amazement and spark within them.
Peatross is a sophomore at Tooele High School.