Following 3-year FPPN member Anika Somasundaran through her self-realization journey of finding her lifelong career.
“[During my] freshman year, there was a guest speaker panel with researchers and doctors from Stanford,” junior Anika Somasundaran said. “I [was] a bit iffy before that [day] as to what [specific] career I wanted in the [medical field], but after hearing those doctors talk about what they do on [a] daily basis, I was like ‘I can’t wait to do that.’”
Those guest speakers were just one of the many reasons why Somasundaran decided to stay a member of Monta Vista’s Future Practicing Physicians Network club (FPPN), a student-led organization that aims to educate the MVHS community about medicine. After joining the club at the beginning her freshman year, Somasundaran felt a strong bond with the other students in the club. She continued to be an active member of the club, and her love for medicine flourished.
“I’ve always been really interested in the medical field,” Somasundaran siad. “Around seventh grade, my own health issues surfaced and I became even more interested in medicine. I always thought science was really interesting so I joined [FPPN] because it was the only medical club on campus that interested me.”
Members of the club are able to be truly exposed to the realities of the field of medicine through guest speakers, informative presentations, discussions and live dissections. The combination of all of these opportunities allowed Somasundaran to explore her passion to the fullest extent possible. While she always knew she wanted a career in medicine, Somasundaran explains that being a part of FPPN resulted in her being able to clearly envision her future and narrow down her interest into one specific speciality: cardiology.
Somasundaran’s first dissection in FPPN was a sheep heart. She describes being nervous about the dissection, fearing that she would make a wrong cut and damage the heart. However, her feelings of excitement and curiosity were greater.
“I had heart surgery before [the dissection], so it was really cool to see an animal heart in person,” Somasundaran said. “I was able to see the different parts of the heart and discover [the similarities] between the human heart and the [sheep] heart. I had never seen the inside of a body or any organ before, so it [was truly life-changing].”
Although the club had other dissections, this one in particular stuck with Somasundaran. FPPN was no longer just an average school club with fellow students; FPPN was crafting her future and career goals.
Somasundaran claims that a big reason why she was able to thrive during club activities and continue to find joy in medicine was due to the club environment. Being able to connect with other students with similar interests and form such strong relationships with other members and officers kept her going. She believes that incoming members also feel the same way once they get to immerse themselves in medicine and join the FPPN team.
“FPPN really solidified my mindset because before, I didn’t have the background or enough knowledge to say that I was dead set on becoming a doctor,” Somasundaran said. “After being in FPPN and hearing the speakers talk, [doing the dissections], and listening to the presentations, I [one hundred percent knew] that I wanted [to be a doctor] and there was nothing else I wanted to do”.