I am a member of the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) for some time. I am receiving great e-mails from them and I was checking them regularly to see if there is anything that I can benefit from directly. Most of the e-mails consisted of newly approved FDA drugs and I am very happy for the patients for that but as a medical student, I was not that interested in them.
One day I received an e-mail about the 16th Undergraduate Student Caucus and Poster Competition. I was very excited about it. I managed to prepare my research and presented it virtually.
During the caucus, I had a chance to listen to great talks from great people. On the first day, William Nelson gave a great lecture on understanding cancer. Then Marcia R. Cruz Correa talked about cancer prevention and I was very excited after her lecture. At the end of the day, we listened to a cancer survivor and advocate. If I ever lose motivation to study one day I should remember her talk. I think being involved in patients’ lives and learning more about them is the very best way to keep going.
The second day was about career development. I learned valuable things from the speakers. Also, I had a chance to ask a question during the session and I am grateful for that. Besides these lectures, all of the student posters like mine were available to watch. I tried to watch as many as possible. Seeing great works from undergraduate students like me motivated me greatly. I am aware that there are huge differences in opportunities, but maybe this gap can be filled by working harder. At least I hope so.
After all, I am proud of myself for pushing myself to present my research here. It was an important step for me. I learned a lot of things during the program and saw the future cancer research leaders. Maybe one day I can be one of them, who knows.