Worth the wait: Two WSU medical students prove it’s never too late to do what you love

Worth the wait: Two WSU medical students prove it’s never too late to do what you love
Ashlyn Jimenez (back) and Michael Durrant take notes during a lecture at the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine.

Lectures, homework and exams probably had a lot of us excited to graduate high school or college, but two students at the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine actually spent years looking for ways to go back to school.

Ashlyn Jimenez and Michael Durrant aren’t your average medical students. They come to class with a little bit more life experience than most of their classmates, but that experience drives them everyday and it’s what inspired them to go into medicine.

Now, the two are learning a lesson we all should — it’s never too late to do what you love.

“I think that with anything worth doing, it’s going to be difficult,” said Jimenez. “I, as somebody that’s always wanted to go into medicine, can say that a bad day in medical school is still better than a good day doing anything else.”

Before she set her sights on serving patients, Jimenez served with the Navy Reserves for about seven years and served in Iraq back in 2009, where she was a hospital corpsman.

“Being in Iraq, I had the opportunity to interact with people from different cultures and different beliefs and things that I felt like, walking in we’re not going to have anything in common, but medicine is kind of a common language between everybody,” she said.

The aspiring pediatrician shares that language with Durrant. When he’s not in class, he’s at home with his wife and three kids.

“It’s been a fun role to be in because most of the other students don’t have kids, you know, they were smarter than me and didn’t decide to go to school with kids,” Durrant laughed. “When you come home, I take a minute and sit in the car, because I’m going to be a completely different person when you walk through the door.”

Once a chemist and a physical therapist, Durrant is now looking towards a new career in physical medicine and rehab.

“It is a lot of work and I think that drive comes from a true understanding of what medicine has done for me and my family given the state of chronic disease in our family and kind of that loss and pain that we’ve had over the years,” said Durrant. “I can look back and think of the names and the faces of the people that I was able to help as a PT and I can imagine the ones that I’m going to see in the future as a doctor.”

It’s those experiences — along with the question of “what if?” that keeps them both coming back to class, day in and day out.

“My mom made a very good point. I told her, I was like, ‘I’m going to be 40 by the time I finish residency and fellowship and all those things that come along with it,” Jimenez remembered. “And she’s like, ‘you’re going to be 40 anyway, you might as well be 40 and a doctor doing what you love instead of 40 having the regrets and wishing that you would’ve taken the path even though it was more difficult.”

As they’ve learned these past two years in medical school, it’s never too late to do what you love.

“If I could, I would go to school forever, which I won’t do. I’m going to have a job one day,” said Durrant. “If you don’t have that drive, you don’t really want to do it, if you’re not really hoping to help patients then it seems like a lot of work for not much but if you have the drive and you really care about people, it’s a great option.”

Both Jimenez and Durrant are second-year medical students with two more years of school left before they head into residency.

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