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Cesar Aguilar – Medical Student

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What is your current title and role?

I’m a medical student at California University of Science & Medicine who will graduate in June 2024.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Fontana, in Southern California.  

Tell us about your professional (medical, nursing, allied health, etc.) school?

I obtained B.S. in Biology and B.A. in Spanish and Portuguese from Emory University in 2019. I currently attend California University of Science & Medicine (CUSM). CUSM School of Medicine is a relatively new medical school in the Inland Empire founded with the purpose of fostering future physicians to address and meet the needs of the people in the Inland Empire.

Tell us about struggles and challenges in achieving your goal and how you overcame?

As a first-generation underrepresented student, I have experienced challenges in navigating the educational system. I was able to overcome these barriers by asking questions and finding mentors.  

Please share with us about your family and your support group.

I am member of a loving family of five: Mom, Dad, younger brother, and little brother.  

Please share a memorable experience from your training that has stayed with you till today.

A moment that has stuck with me was in high school when I discussed with my counselor my career goals. I expressed my interest in pursuing medicine and my counselor wholeheartedly believed I could achieve it. Surrounding yourself with people who support you is crucial in any goals you may have.

Please share a memorable teaching moment.

Having the opportunity to collaborate with my classmates on mock patient encounters has been extremely enlightening and has provided me with numerous perspectives of patient-centered care.

Please share a highlight from your practice/current role.

As I begin getting ready to start clinical clerkships, I have heard from many upper classmen that I won’t have any time to do anything besides eating, breathing, and sleeping medicine. I hope this is not the case, however, I have been enjoying any free time I have currently by doing the things I enjoy or spending time with my family.

What do you like and dislike the most about working in healthcare?

I enjoy getting to work with a collaborative team committed to providing the highest quality patient care. I dislike the toxic environment that can arise, for example, excessive hours, sexism, and racism.

What are three things that you are grateful for?

I am grateful for my family, good health, friends

What excites you outside medicine?

I love anything sports and outdoors. I also dabble in baking. I also LOVE chicken.

What advice do you have for students interested in healthcare?

Study like a STEM major but network like a business major. While obtaining good grades is important, networking will provide you with a myriad of opportunities.

What do you think the student of today needs to be successful in matriculating and graduating from professional school (medicine, nursing, allied health, pharmacy)?

Passion. If you want to be successful in any facet of your life, you need to be passionate about what you do.

How would you advise or guide students to develop leadership skills, community outreach experience, research opportunities and clinical shadowing?

Ask. Don’t be afraid to ask. If there is a professor or healthcare provider that you connect with, ask for opportunities to work with them or ask them to mentor you. Put yourself out there to open more doors.  

How can we support and guide students to achieve good grades and be successful in standardized exams?

Learn the rules of the game and then play your best game. This means you should be familiar with what the expected outcome is and then make a game play that works for you. I believe that access to resources and practice exams are key in both grades and standardized exams.