We are excited to announce one of the winners of our academic scholarships, Morgan Cook, a student at Texas A&M University, who strives to be the best she can possibly be by helping others. Continue to read her heartwarming scholarship essay below.
Eight years ago, my bright-eyed and bushy-tailed preteen self stood in the OR of a hospital in Kijabe, Kenya and witnessed my best friend’s dad cut into the back of a young boy as he was about to fix his severe scoliosis. I could barely watch as the scalpel sliced the skin, but at the same time I couldn’t look away. That moment of watching pure wonder unfold before my eyes, in my mismatched scrubs, set the pace for the rest of my life; I knew that I wanted to spend every day in an operating room from then on out.
Fast forward a few years, and I was the average high school girl binging on Grey’s Anatomy every chance I got between homework and sports. The simplicity of a TV show further fueled the fire inside of me of pursuing a career in the medical field. If I could only be one of them! For all of my high school years I would search any and every medical profession I could find, assessing every little detail in hopes I would find the perfect one for me. It wasn’t until 2015 when my mom had a cancer-preventative double mastectomy and she was crying and playing out every worst scenario she could think of in pre-op thinking she would die on the table. While this was a bit dramatic to me, I noticed how her anesthesiologist was by her side all the way from pre-op to the OR, comforting her and making sure she understood what was going to happen and that she was going to be perfectly fine. Seeing that there was a profession where someone gets to be a voice of comfort and reassurance to loved ones as they prepare to go into minimal or life-risking surgeries sparked my interest more than I ever expected it to. It took me back to the days when I was in Kenya, standing by impoverished and orphaned children to hold them and comfort them with everything I had in me, in hopes they would know a little bit of what love felt like. I thought about that little boy with scoliosis, and if his anesthesiologist had been there for him like one was for my mom.
Only six months out from graduating Texas A&M, I am now pursuing the career of being a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). I considered going to medical school and becoming an anesthesiologist, but I am a young woman who dreams to be a wife and a mother one day, so I don’t think the medical school route is the best choice for me. Plus, after a rough freshman year as a Biomedical Sciences major, the thought of medical school honestly terrified me. After hours on end with my advisors and a couple of disappointing grades, I switched majors to Sociology. I chose this because, surprisingly, many people pursuing nursing school are Sociology majors at A&M, and secondly, I feel as though furthering my knowledge about the functions and structures of society will be beneficial to me should I take my career as a nurse overseas. Having been on three mission trips, I hope to one day be able to provide my services to those who lack the care they need in some of the broken and forgotten hospitals of the world.
One of my most meaningful life experiences was in 2010 when my best friend and I raised over $1,000 to buy 1,000 dollar store toys to haul in suitcases over to Kenya and give to children who had been displaced by the 2007 election violence. Growing up in suburban Dallas, Texas with everything I ever wanted or needed, this experience rocked my world, to say the least. Watching the dull eyes of children who had been forgotten, light back up with joyfulness and the pure innocence only children can contain began a passion in me to love the unloved as much as I can in my time here on earth. I would pack up thousands of toys and teddy bears all over again every day if I could, but now that I’m older I want to translate that passion into the medical field and give everything I can to those suffering with undeserved illness or injury.
All of that being said, I will be graduating this December with a Bachelors of Science in Sociology, finishing up some pre-requisites the following spring, and enrolling in nursing school in the fall. My college career has not been easy, but I rest in the hope that God has my future planned out to even the smallest details. I know that becoming a CRNA would give me opportunities beyond my wildest dreams, and allow me to work and have a family. Texas A&M has shaped me academically and mentally to the person I am today, and I look forward to the moment where I can look back and know that fulfilled the dream that began that one day in the OR in Kenya.