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Darayon Moore is a first-generation college student and a rising third-year medical student currently enrolled in the UK College of Medicine-Bowling Green Campus. She explains why a college education was so important to her, and how it will lead her to success in her future career as a physician.

Q: Why was going to college important to you?

A: Going to college was important because I wanted a career, not a job. As a child, I would see people dread going to work. Receiving a paycheck every two weeks was the highlight of the job. I desired a new direction. I wanted to be in a profession that I loved and enjoyed going to every day. Most of my mentors who loved their careers went to college. I decided to take the same route.

Q: What was your biggest worry/challenge when starting college?

A: When starting college, I felt behind compared to my Kentuckian counterparts, particularly in my S.T.E.M. courses. I struggled to grasp the basic concepts of what I needed to know. During high school, I was the student who helped people with coursework. It was difficult for me to ask for help. In the beginning, I struggled because of my pride. I feared asking for help would portray me as weak and incompetent. This was my first time going to a tutor. At that moment, I realized it was OK to ask for help. I was able to excel in the classes where I was previously struggling.

Q: Where did you go for undergrad, and why UK for medical school?

A: I went to Kentucky Wesleyan College (KWC) for undergrad. The UK College of Medicine-Bowling Green Campus would visit KWC at least twice an academic year. I loved the curriculum and the family atmosphere of the Bowling Green Campus. It was important for me to attend a school that valued diversity and had an excellent curriculum. During my sophomore year, I visited the UK College of Medicine-Bowling Green Campus and loved the tour. The students and faculty were great! My group asked multiple questions because we wanted to know how we could become great applicants for medical school. More importantly, we wanted to know how to get admitted into the UK College of Medicine-Bowling Green Campus.

Q: What do you hope to achieve with your college degree(s)?

A: With my college degree, I will help reduce health disparities in low socioeconomic communities and practice medicine as an anesthesiologist. The field of medicine has come a long way from simply reducing stereotypes and ideologies that affect the type of care and treatment that an individual receives. However, there is still more work that needs to be done. As a youth, I saw firsthand how the health care system failed Black patients such as my mother. I believe that issues with health care access and disparities can only be addressed by physicians who truly advocate for underserved patients.

Q: Do you have any advice for future first-generation college students?

A: I would advise first-generation college students to never give up! While there may be challenges and adversities that seem discouraging, it will all work out. I know that the pathway to medicine may seem petrifying, especially if you are the first to do so. However, I am here to tell you to keep going! Make sure you utilize the resources available to you, whether from school or online, to help you become a great applicant. When future students see you as a physician, it will inspire them to choose medicine. When patients see individuals who reflect themselves, it is easier to establish trust, which leads to better care. No matter what anyone says, always remember to believe in yourself because you can do it!

This story was featured in the Winter 2023 edition of UK Medicine magazine. To read the full issue, click here.