Ratna Ramaraju

Family inspires senior to pursue career in medical field

Sarah Sheikh, Staff Writer

To diminish the worries of getting into college and graduate school in one step seems too good to be true. Getting into a college is daunting, and not to mention dealing with the competitiveness of graduate school in a few years to come. Since the beginning of her education, the aspiration to become a doctor has trailed through senior Ratna Ramaraju’s thoughts. The journey was prompted when she received her first ever toy: a mini doctor’s kit.

“Growing up, the first toy my parents got me was a play doctor’s set with the stethoscope and everything,” Ramaraju said, “Reflecting back I knew my interest was sparked right then.”

Ramaraju’s passion for the medical field is not just the product of a beloved childhood toy. Her family history and personal health contribute to the heartwarming compassion she has towards others.

“In my mandatory essay I had to explain why I was a good fit for the selective schools in the program,” Ramaraju said. “I wrote about the extensive health issues in my family and how they are my inspiration for medicine. My aunt is a doctor who stayed resilient through stage four breast cancer and two knee replacements by keeping her clinic open the entire time.”   

Guided by her aunt’s strength, all throughout high school, Ramaraju has maintained the rigor of her health oriented classes in an effort to prepare for her upcoming journey.

“What my brother has told me in his last year of college is that grades are not everything, and as much as you want to stress out over your GPA, colleges only care about grades to a certain extent,” Ramaraju said. “They care more about your compassion, what kind of person you are, and what you have done to give back to society. So, when I applied to undergrad and grad at the same time they didn’t ask for essays. They asked me what I have done to help my community followed by a string of interesting ethical questions regarding difficult situations that doctors may be put in.”

Ramaraju is driven by many things including the enthusiasm to learn, desire to improve the world, and a supportive family. Through the duration of her ongoing education, family was crucial in keeping Ramaraju motivated. In fact, there was a period of time where she completely strayed from the idea of medical school, only to be brought back by her family.

“My parents are the ones that pushed me to do this.” Ramaraju said. “They were the ones who said ‘you can do it, and it is okay if you don’t get in ,and it doesn’t matter because we know you will be successful no matter what’. So, having that support from them was my final push for me to apply to medical school. All through high school there were times that I doubted myself. Could I really go through this? Am I prepared for medical school? The advice I was given every time was that nothing is impossible. It will be hard, but it will be worth it.”

Hand in hand with her eagerness to improve the world with her compassion, the mindset following Ramaraju’s persistence to pursue this field is built on her perspective of society. She believes in healthcare equality for all members of society.

“I used to live in Pennsylvania, and moving to Houston and seeing the socioeconomic levels in the different pools of diversity inspired me to go on this quest to make sure that everyone, no matter what socioeconomic status they are, has the same healthcare,” Ramaraju said. “I want to be a psychiatrist, especially to impact areas with poverty where people are on food stamps, or they live in a single-parent house. Often times, the kids in that household often encounter a lot of mental battles and a lot of mental illnesses. Unfortunately, due to their low socioeconomic status they can’t go get the help they need, and that is a big part of what inspired me to apply to this program. We are all human, and we all go through similar battles. There is no reason why anyone should not be able to get the help they need.”

To fuel the causes important to her, Ramaraju is grateful for the opportunities she has received through high school because she feels it has leveled her expectations for college. She believes her endurance and capacity for hard work, and even stress is more flexible due to the rigor of education she has become accustomed to.

“Cinco is definitely a very hard school, and there were many times I would just be really stressed out,” Ramaraju said. “Going into this medical program I know how difficult it will be, but I feel as if I am more diligent due to the harshness of my classes. The teachers really prepared me to go out into the real world.”

After highschool, Ramaraju plans on attending St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas in the Fall of 2018 with a scholarship that covers the whole tuition. The underlying mental debate is whether she will specialize in psychiatry, or obstetrics and gynaecology.

“I chose St. Mary because it was the first school I visited,” Ramaraju said. “I instantly fell in love with the sense of camaraderie they had. The head of the biology department even sat with me to plan out my schedule. Overall, I am not sure which specialty I will lean towards because women’s health is also very important to me, especially the controversy regarding abortion. For instance, to me it does not matter whether the woman wants to keep the baby or not, I just want her to be confident of her decision. That would be the main cause that would influence my decision. For now, I will just focus on undergrad and cross that bridge when I get there.”

Ramaraju is always inspired to do her best by the people around her. Her hopes for Medical School are almost as big as her heart. At the moment, Ramaraju is conflicted as to which specialty to pursue.

“My thinking is that I will make a decision by the time I finish my undergraduate term,” Ramaraju said. “I know that if I choose psychiatry I could make a helpful impact on people’s lives. On the other hand, I feel the same way about obstetrics and gynaecology. Women’s health is so important to me and I just want to make sure that every woman has the ability to choose what happens with her body.”

Although Ramaraju is conflicted with her future, medicine isn’t the only thing that occupies her mind.

 “I love music. I have been involved in music from elementary to high school, and if there’s still time I want to go back to get a degree in musical therapy,” Ramaraju said. “My dream is to open up a psych clinic especially for children, and use music as a way to heal.”

Whether it is staying up all night studying, or even freaking out, one thing is for sure; Ramaraju’s intentions are backed by wholeheartedness and her success has immense potential. Her perseverance and humanity will be the factors that will push her through the ten to twelve years of college and graduate school ahead.

“Both my successes and failures from high school have prepared me for this program because my surroundings have taught me to keep going no matter the setbacks.” Ramaraju said. “Life can be hard, but you just have to give it your all and have faith that everything will workout.”