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 Mary Fischer, a second-year medical student at KUMC.
Can you share a one-minute summary of your life?
I was born and raised in Sarasota, Florida. In middle school, my family moved to Fort Scott, Kansas, where my father was born and raised. I have three wonderful brothers who are part of the reason why I am such a tomboy sometimes. My two wonderful parents are always supportive of me and my education.
As a junior in high school I started taking college classes to complete my high school credits. At first, I thought I was going to major in music. But I always knew that I wanted to be a doctor. Once I branched out from music and started taking some of the science and math courses, I really fell in love with science. I pursued molecular and cellular biology at Illinois State University.
Learning about other cultures has been a passion of mine. Therefore I spent my second summer break in college volunteering at a hospital in Haiti and I studied abroad in Mexico for my last undergraduate semester. After returning from Mexico I started medical school.
If you could choose one word to describe yourself, what would it be and why?
Tenacious. Once I have a goal in mind, I’m going to pursue it. I’d say that is more my tenacity and the grace of God that got me into medical school.
What do you do in your free time?
I like to bake. I find it fun because baking and cooking are a kind of experimentation. You never know how it is going to turn out. Rarely is a cookbook or recipe involved in my form of culinary concoctions. Therefore my recipes are usually not recreatable.
What are you passionate about?
Music, without a doubt. It’s has been an integral part of my life. Music has been a huge outlet for me in medical school. Opera is probably my favorite genre of music. I was trained in classical music and opera for six years. I like singing other genres, but I’m not nearly as skilled in those areas of music.
Music is a great way to relieve some stress. Usually my pretest routine is light studying the day of and a short karaoke jam session right before my exam.
What is something that most people don’t know about you?
I have been and still am in a play called Life in a Jar. Serving as a cast member and speaker for this play for the past 10 years has been a truly rewarding experience. This play is about a woman named Irena Sendler who saved 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw ghetto during the Holocaust. Being a part of the Life in a Jar cast and crew has really shaped me as an individual. Hearing inspiring stories about individuals and how they changed the course of history continues to inspires me to be the best person that I can be.
The power of one person to change the world was greatly demonstrated through Irena’s life. She changed countless lives by rescuing so many individuals from the Warsaw Ghetto durring Holocaust. She took a stand for something she believed in. And that really speaks to me as a medical student and as an individual. Standing up for what you believe in and making a stand for what is right is very important. That is what Irena did in the Holocaust. Learning and telling her story has really been an honor and shaped me into the individual that I am today.
What inspires you?
There’s a lot of things that inspire me, like seeing what individuals can achieve when they put their minds to what they want to do. I’ve been inspired by my peers, how some of them have overcome great adversity to be in medical school. Seeing that has been truly inspiring. Also, watching individuals make an impact on their surroundings by standing up for what is good is inspiring.
What is your journey into medicine?
The first time I remember someone asking me the question “What do you want to be when you grow up” was in kindergarten. I distinctly remember saying said, “I want to be a doctor.” At that young age I was very serious about becoming a doctor, but I did not fully understand what being a doctor really meant.
Over the years my understanding of what “being a doctor” means has developed into the understanding and more resolute determination to become a physician. I have grown to appreciate the patient-physician bond and how physicians really have a unique ability to connect with their patients. This special bond and an appreciation for the art that is medicine has continually fueled my desire to become an attentive physician.
What are your future hopes in medicine?
I see myself serving as a primary care physician, and likely a family practice physician. I really like the unique opportunity that family physicians have to develop lasting relationships. In other fields, you can develop relationships too, but I like the multi-generational aspect that family medicine provides.
In rural Kansas, the scope of family medicine is fairly vast. I would love to practice in a setting that allows me to practice a broad scope of medicine. It would be wonderful to get to bringing new life into the world by delivering babies and help families through the challenging times of death and illness.
I also really like the puzzle that family medicine presents. You don’t necessarily know what’s going to walk through your door. A patient could have any sort of medical concern. You just have to be able to work through your differential to develop a plan for the patient.