As I approach the end of my service term, I have reflected back on my goals for this gap year and my career at large. When I was a young child, way before I understood the full extent of the words, I would tell my family that I wanted to become a physician. Despite having an immense amount of support, I shortly learned that childhood dreams rarely come true, if ever.

And yet mine has (thanks mom and dad).

I will be attending Mercer University School of Medicine this fall to begin my medical training. In short, my service has not shifted my future professional goals, but rather, it has supplemented them and reaffirmed my passions.

When colleagues ask me what type of medicine I’m interested in, I often joke that I should be a pediatrician because I like children much more than adults and still feel like a child at heart. Naturally, serving at a children’s hospital has allowed me to be surrounded not only by children of all ages, but also by issues that directly affect their health. I have served hands-on with different groups and organizations aimed at improving health outcomes for children. I have been exposed to different public health campaigns like dog bite and drowning prevention, car seat safety, and pedestrian visibility and safety. All of these have made me an extremely hypervigilant older sister and a more competent member of my community. In many instances, the trainings that I have undergone have benefited me by allowing me to have the confidence and skills to act when necessary.

Although my service has not made a major change in my professional goals, it has allowed me to practice skills that I will use as a physician. I strongly believe that this year of service, a year of extra practice, will give me an edge when working with children and families and allow me to provide the best care possible to my patients. I may not be quite certain what the future holds, or what type of medicine I will practice, but I do feel prepared. Most importantly, I’m ready to see where my next dream takes me!





This blog post was written by NHC FL AmeriCorps member, Ashley Lall. 

Ashley serves at THE PLAYERS Center for Childhealth at Wolfson Children's hospital as a Care Coordinator.