NOW you readers know that if there’s one thing that I enjoy doing, it’s “bigging up” my Lucian brothers and sisters who are striving hard to make themselves, their families and ultimately St. Lucia proud.
Well, today’s FITC is doing just that by putting her stamp on the world of medicine.
Twentyseven-year-old Chrystal Calderon who is the daughter of Peter Calderon and Christine Joseph is currently enrolled in the Postgraduate Doctor of Medicine (DM) surgery programme at University of the West Indies, St. Augustine and in 2012 was awarded for being the Most Outstanding Student in Surgery.
Now although doctors have somehow Been reputed as being swell-headed and egotistical, this doctor is instead thriving on humble pie with her mind set on her goals and her heart on love, family and servitude.
Calderon said she tends to be laid back, fun loving and always ready for a good laugh but on the other hand, she can also be very assertive when she needs to be.
She credits part of her success thus far to the love and support of her family and friends with whom she enjoys close relationships.
I don’t know about you but loving, caring, spiritual, motivated and intelligent…those all sound like the perfect traits of what a doctor should posses.
The VOICE: You seem to be living the dream of every little girl and boy who wants to grow up and become a doctor. Was that your dream job when you were little?
Chrystal: I remember coming home from school (Carmen Rene) with my report book and my grandparents were of course, elated and shouting out “Dokte ah!!” It was almost expected, but I knew at some point in time, I wanted to be either…a doctor or a lawyer. I chose medicine obviously.
The VOICE: Tell me about your profession.
Chrystal: Being a doctor is a privilege. With that said, being a doctor is a sacrifice. At first it didn’t make sense why someone would spend all those years in school, and then not practise medicine…I understand now. Your life isn’t like everyone else’s. You can’t plan too far in the future for risk that you are on call on a said date because you miss events, celebrations, and significant moments. Not to mention the struggle of getting people to comprehend your less than simple life. It is a sacrifice, as much as it is a privilege and one constantly needs to remind oneself how one ended up on this path. You wanted to help, make a difference, serve…nothing else will keep you on that path.
The VOICE: Including your qualifications, what did it take to get you where you are now?
Chrystal: I graduated undergrad in 2012 and it was an awesome year. Then you realise that this was only the beginning, there was more to learn, read, and understand in order to progress. It is a rigorous, stressful process and during those years, one of my favourite two-word phrases was “But God…”. Solely it means despite everything and through anything, God will handle it and will get you through. Not my will but His.
The VOICE: How does your family feel about your monumental achievements?
Chrystal: Monumental achievements? Hmm…I’m not quite sure if it’s monumental but I was raised on the notion that hard work will lead to success in the end. I just try to put that into play as much as I possibly can and pray for the best. But my family have been pivotal in whatever I’ve attained, and have been great role models. Sometimes I wish some of those who have left this earth were here still, to see it. I do have a family that is proud of me and I would like to keep it that way.
The VOICE: You are definitely a daughter of the soil making our nation proud. With that said how does that make you feel?
Chrystal: I am extremely proud each and every time someone asks: “Doc, that accent is different, where are you from?” I say: “I am a St Lucian.” I miss my home quite a bit, and with home comes family.
The VOICE: What are your thoughts on St. Lucia’s current health care situation and would you ever consider bringing your expertise back home??
Chrystal: In terms of the health care system at home, I don’t have the years of experience to speak in depth, on this. But for a health system to flourish it needs the appropriate monetary expenditure allocations, adequate attention and proper facilities. Once there is movement in the direction to attain a system functioning near optimum, it’s a move in the right direction.
One of the reasons I’m not at home right now has to do with my post graduate enrolment which is an attempt to specialise in one of the subspecialties in the surgery discipline. So ultimately I would like to be at home serving there.
The VOICE: Your profession is by no means an easy one that “just anyone” take on. With all that pressure, what drives and motivates you to continue?
Chrystal: I believe that this path I’m on, God has directed my life here. At times when the future seems hazy and uncertain, I lean on his wisdom to continue leading me.
The VOICE: To that little boy and girl dreaming of becoming a doctor when they grow up, what would you say to them to inspire them to never give up on that dream?
Chrystal: Before I started medical school, I had all the doubts…would I be able to do this? Am I good enough or will I fall short? I’m not smart enough, talented enough… doubts are endless and a reflection of our fears. If we eliminate our fears, remove all the limitations that we place on ourselves, the opportunities are boundless. As it pertains to medicine, I believe that it is pivotal to understand what it entails before diving in. Make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons (not for your mom, aunt, or nenen), there is NO glitz and glamour in the job. IF even after all of that, you still want it, go for it…fight for it. Hold fast to dreams!