Each story is unique, intimate, and powerful. Readers, please come open-minded and ready to engage with the following stories. More importantly, be ready to interface with an intimate space and allow yourself to step inside someone else’s life. The following is the narrative of Jared Mazurek, a second-year medical student at KUMC.
Can you provide a one-minute summary of your life?
Okay, so I grew up in Kansas in the small town of Pittsburg where I attended a Catholic school. I was initially really interested in sports. Eventually, I decided that I didn’t really think sports were challenging enough, and I wanted to branch out. That’s when I started doing theatre. I started doing plays, musicals, and acting competitions (forensics). From there, one of the dance teachers from one of the studios nearby, saw me and was like, “Hey, do you want to come to dance classes?” [I said], “Yeah, sure, let’s give this a try.” Then from there, I started dancing in the beginning of high school and really took it to heart. So, I dropped all other sports and really committed to dancing. I started with ballet, but learned many styles over the years including Jazz, Tap, Contemporary, Modern, Aerial Silks, Lyra, Bungie, and more. Naturally, I turned into a huge theater and book nerd in school. I think doing theatre and dance really helped me gain a lot of discipline, which helped me out with future endeavors (including my journey into medical school).
When I went into undergrad, I knew I wanted to go into something science, but did not know I wanted to go to med school yet. There’s a ballet program at Friends University, so that is where I decided to go. So I was doing the ballet program and taking science classes as well. [I] decided way early on that I would do professional ballet for a while if I could then go into medical school. The medical school decision came probably in my junior or senior year. From there, I was doing all of my applications for dance companies, and I was accepted into a company in Colorado. Thus, I ended up taking a gap year for medical school in order to pursue that.
In Colorado, alongside being in a ballet company, I was also a medical scribe in a pediatric emergency department. This was all on top of studying for the MCAT. That time period was a crazy time in my life. It was fun, but it was crazy. I did that for a while, and I proposed to my girlfriend (now fianceé, about to be wife) during this period. Then, I traveled to North Carolina to dance in a different company close to the beach with my fianceé. It was around the time I moved to NC that I got accepted into medical school. I danced in NC until my contract ended, and I decided to accept the invitation to enter into medical school. This was a hard decision for me because I knew I would miss the dance life, but it feels like the right decision and my knees thank me.
If you could describe yourself in one word, what would it be and why?
Adaptable. I try my best to excel at whatever I’m doing at the time. Whether that’s medical school, dancing, playing a game, whatever. I’m pretty headstrong. Once I get my mindset, I just go for it.
What do you do in your free time?
It’s mostly hanging out with friends. Maybe go for a drink. My fiancé hasn’t been living with me this whole first year. She was in Florida, so we talked on Skype when we could. That’ll change next year though. She’s moving up here so that’ll be good. Other than that, I work out a good amount of time, whether that’s going for bike rides, going to the gym, or taking a dance class. Or, you know, sometimes I just like to have the day to myself, just to binge Netflix or play a video game. Something low key to reset my mind after hours of studying.
What is something that most people don’t know about you?
I feel like at this point everyone knows I was a dancer, so I will not exhaust that point. I have a brother, which I feel like people probably do not know.. He’s in California. He is an actor. He just got a role in a short film and some TV show that I don’t know the name of because he can’t tell me.
What inspires you?
Seeing other people work hard at something and be successful. Whether that’s someone overcoming the odds in some sport or someone working hard in school and graduating. People who work hard to make their own dreams come true, I guess.
What is your journey into medicine?
In high school, I always loved science. So I knew wanted to do something in science. Then, part of it was my love of the human body. That kind of sounds weird but in ballet, our instrument is our body. So I was interested in that aspect of it — the anatomy and how all of our body works as a unit. I’m interested in radiology so that goes along with that in a way. I don’t know what exactly turned me to medicine. There wasn’t a specific moment per se. I like the leadership aspect of it too. I think the combination of the ability to help people, the science, the collaboration, and the anatomy was part of the decision to go into medicine. So, it just kind of made sense. I am very happy to be in medical school!
I think the real solidifying factor, after I decided to try for medical school, was being a scribe in the emergency department. Just seeing that interaction and physicians actually at work. I realized I really want to do this.
What are your hopes in medicine?
Short term, just graduating and then paying off all my debt. I think I’d like to be able to like to make a bigger impact in one way or another. Whether that’s teaching, such as being in an academic institution and passing on knowledge. I always liked teaching a lot. I was a tutor in undergrad and a dance teacher, so I think that is a part of who I am. Eventually, I’d like to try and help tackle some of the bigger parts of the medical world, like insurance. It’s a big topic, but it is something we need physicians to help address.