Wake up at 8am. Go to work study. Do homework. Go to class. More homework. Study. See roommates. Study more.
Wash, rinse, repeat.
This was Rachel Baiyee-Cady’s schedule during her last year of college at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. And next year promises to be even more intense. Rachel has been accepted into the medical program at TOURO College of Osteopathic Medicine in New York. And she’s been preparing for it her entire life.
“It all started in 5th grade, I told my mom I wanna be a doctor”.
Even at an early age, Rachel knew what she had to do to get there. She got good grades, researched, and applied to undergraduate universities with good pre-med programs. In college she got even more serious; she met people who were also pre-med, so they’d volunteer together, give each other suggestions and were a general support system. She made more and more friends, more connections, volunteered more, and soon it all fell into place.
Rachel has always been a go-getter, but it wasn’t always easy. When she was in elementary school, she and her three older siblings along with her mom (a single parent), were living in her grandmother’s basement. “We didn’t have a lot of things to do except hang out with each other and watch TV,” she recalls.
Then, Rachel was accepted into Denver Kids. She remembers when she first entered the program. She went to lots of different events and camps, and met other students who could relate to her. She was also paired with her Educational Counselor Christa, who would visit her at school. “Every time [Christa] would come in, I just remember getting this feeling of excitement, and I was just so excited to see her like, “Oh Miss Christa’s back, Miss Christa’s back!”
One day, Rachel’s mom got very sick and couldn’t move. The doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Rachel and her siblings had to cook and clean and not only be responsible for themselves, but their mother too. After several years of immobility, her mother was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Another long while passed before her doctors found the right medication that allowed her to finally move on her own.
To Rachel, Denver Kids and and her Educational Counselor Christa represented stability. Christa was always there to talk to. To see her and check up on her in a time was constantly changing. Christa would always ask about her mom and how she was doing at home. How Rachel was performing academically wasn’t Christa’s only concern. And that mattered a lot to Rachel.
Rachel also valued the support she received from fellow Denver Kids students. “I knew that every summer I was going to see my friends from those camps or skiing trips and it was nice to be able to keep those connections instead of them degrading as time went on”.
Making connections is an important theme in Rachel’s life. With Denver Kids, she gained better communication skills from talking to other students and being in environments that required her to interact with other people. “At a lot of these camps I would meet people from different backgrounds who weren’t all people I usually hung out with from my elementary and middle school and high school so I would have only known what I would have been introduced to at school,” Rachel explained.
With the stable foundation Rachel found within Denver Kids, she’s now confident and prepared for medical school – and a very bright future. “Without all these opportunities, I don’t think I would be as well rounded as a person as I am today. I think that really helped me become a better person. I don’t know if I would have the same drive and ambition. I wouldn’t know as much about the world”.
Denver Kids taught her to try new things, to get out of her comfort zone, whether she liked it or not. “Now, I’m always open to trying new experiences and if I like it that’s awesome, and if I don’t I’m happy that I tried it and at least experienced it”.
And when you ask her what kind of doctor she wants to be? “Primary care or family medicine… but I’ve decided to be open minded”.