Written by Yvette Arca current student at California School of Podiatric Medicine, Class of 2024.
Throughout my undergraduate schooling, I was involved in multiple extracurricular activities. My most influential and prominent included NCAA Swimming, helping create and build a pre-health organization, and surfing in Santa Cruz. What I valued most about all these activities was the formation of a bond and the sense of community and belonging.
Being a part of the NCAA swim team at UC Santa Cruz taught me to work hard, time manage, and most importantly to be a positive, supportive teammate. The sport showed me the value of a strong work ethic and that I cannot succeed alone. I woke up at 5:30 AM to practice with my teammates, however, these tough workouts were manageable because of the positivity we all brought to them. During swim meets, whenever my race’s outcome was not what I expected, my coaches and teammates always told me that it was in the past and I can swim even better next time. I was able to apply this mindset not only to swimming but to my academic life as well. Swimming placed many mental and physical hurdles in front of me, however, it was the bond with my teammates and athletic community that kept me going. The lessons I have learned from swimming remind me every day to work hard, learn from mistakes and become the best team player and community member I can be.
In Tomorrow’s Medical Community, the pre-health club I was a founding member for, I had the opportunity to grow as a leader and as a mentor to other pre-health undergraduates. The club served as a way for pre-health students to connect with other students and gain more information about the requirements and timelines of the various health professional pathways. I was able to schedule group study hours, provide resources on volunteer and work opportunities, and serve as a mentor for underclassmen. While I was doing research for a pre-health presentation, I learned more about podiatry which inspired me to pursue this field. Through this position, I became a more confident public speaker and group leader and learned valuable professional communication skills. It was so fulfilling to help guide other students to reach their career goals. In addition, it gave me confidence in my abilities to work with others and be a positive influence in their life. This experience gave me the skills to allow me to become a better healthcare provider.
Surfing has always pushed me outside of my comfort zone. Being a swimmer, I’ve always been comfortable in the water and in the ocean. However, the unpredictability of the ocean is dangerous if not approached with caution. Spending more time in the ocean gave me the opportunity to learn more about how to read the water, the swells, and most importantly how to respect it and its aquatic habits. I grew a stronger bond with nature and gained a greater appreciation of the earth when I began to surf more. The diverse Santa Cruz surfing community taught me compassion and respect towards my community and ocean. In providing me feedback, this community of surfers showed me how to become a better surfer and their guidance allowed me to eventually help novice surfers. Surfing has provided a platform for me to connect with individuals from diverse backgrounds and taught me how to adapt to my environment.
Through swimming, I was able to provide support for my teammates. During my involvement at Tomorrow’s Medical Community, I was able to mentor and guide students towards their goals. Surfing gave me the tools to push myself outside of my comfort zone and adapt. Through my extracurricular activities, I was able to grow into a confident, adaptable, and community-based individual and I look forward to continuing to develop throughout the course of my education.
California School of Podiatric Medicine