The Small Town Dream

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**Scholarship Submission**

Once upon a time, there lived a little blonde headed girl named Madison. She grew up on the banks of Bayou Rouge in a small town named Cottonport. No red lights, no fast food restaurants, and no speed limit over 45 miles per hours are an indicator that you have entered Cottonport. Madison didn’t let this hinder her as you could usually find her cheering for her favorite team, the Panthers, or playing softball with her friends. As busy as she kept herself, something was missing. Madison wanted more. She always dreamed of working in the medical field. But how could this small town girl achieve such a big endeavor?

Feeling discouraged, Madison called her Fairy Aunt Meredith. Fairy Aunt Meredith worked as an emergency room doctor at a big hospital in New Orleans.  The hospital was so big that they called it University. I guess that means it was the size of a college. Madison knew that Fairy Aunt would be able to help her with her dream. The two of them talked for hours and she told her all about the requirements and demands of working in the medical field. But she left her with these important words of wisdom – “The sky is the limit!”

Several months later, Madison was at school and saw a brochure to participate in something called AHEC. There was a picture of a shiny stethoscope on the brochure so this caught Madison’s attention. She had seen these before when she went to visit Fairy Aunt Meredith. The little blonde headed dreamer took a brochure and began reading the information listed on it. She saw the words: college credit, 4 weeks in a hospital setting and a day with a doctor, boldly printed on the front of the brochure. She went to her next class but she couldn’t stop thinking about the brochure. The next thing you know, she put the brochure under her textbook, and instead of working an algebra problem, she began to read the information more in depth.

AHEC stood for Area Health Education Center. It was located in Alexandria, Louisiana, and offered programs for high school juniors and seniors that are interested in a career in medicine. Now Madison had been to Alexandria before and knew it was a large city because she saw many red lights and even a McDonald’s sign blinking in the distance. So Madison wondered how a small town girl like herself would be able to participate in this program. After reading further, she saw this program was going to be offered at Bunkie General Hospital. She was so excited because that hospital was only 15 minutes from her house. Now Bunkie General is nothing like Fairy Aunt Meredith’s hospital. Although a much smaller building, it still provided medical services to the people of the area. Madison read the requirements to participate and quickly decided this is something she wanted to do. If selected she would spend four weeks at BGH working in each department from housekeeping to surgery. The thought of this excited Madison as she would be able to get a taste of her dream job.

One day after school, the letter arrived. Madison’s application had been accepted. She was so excited. She began dancing around and immediately called Fairy Aunt Meredith. Her mom was giggling in the next room as she heard Madison say, “I’m going to work in the hospital just like you!” This was a happy day.

Clad in purple scrubs and a stethoscope around her neck, Madison went to work each day with a new assignment. She served hot meals at lunch, filed charts, and aided in loading a patient into an Air Med helicopter. Each day the little hospital was set up to mirror a real-life workday. This small town future doctor loved her new endeavor. She woke up each day more excited than the day before. Her mom was in shock because she never woke up this excited for school so she knew Madison had found her niche.

But this was just the beginning. The little blonde headed girl was able to participate in two more programs than just added confirmation to what she already knew. Medicine was calling her name. Spending the day shadowing doctors at another big hospital in Shreveport and working with computerized mannequins was top on the list of the other two programs. After the day at the big hospital in Shreveport she called her mom and said, “Mom, I got to hold a human brain!” “I bet none of my friends will ever be able to say this.” Her mom could hear the excitement and determination from her little girl and knew that Madison would make her dreams come true.

Luckily for Madison, she hasn’t encountered any big bad wolves along her quest to work in the medical field. This isn’t to say that these wolves will not join her on her journey. She has been educated on their slyness, irrational thinking and negativity. In August, she will leave her small, cozy hometown and travel south to begin the next phase of her educational journey. She will be surrounded by purple and gold everywhere she turns. There will be those nervous days when she might think, “I don’t think I can.” But she will remember those words that have been etched in her brain, “I think I can, I think I can, I know I can!”

So the moral of the story is, don’t let the small town keep you from reaching for the stars and think the sky is falling. Instead remember the wise words of Fairy Aunt Meredith, “The sky is always the limit!”