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Clarenville area quartet begin MUN med school together

New med students — all four from the Clarenville area. From left to right: Blake Power, Mykala Pardy, Kieran Vasanthan and Christian Pearce.
New med students — all four from the Clarenville area. From left to right: Blake Power, Mykala Pardy, Kieran Vasanthan and Christian Pearce.

ST. JOHN’S, NL — A group of local students who say they’re proud to be representing the Clarenville area are all part of the same class at Memorial University’s School of Medicine.

Blake Power, Kieran Vasanthan and Christian Pearce, all from Clarenville, and Mykala Pardy from George’s Brook-Milton participated in Memorial’s “White Coat” ceremony last month. The ceremony welcomes new students into the faculty of medicine.
The four received their short white coats — symbolizing their status as med students.

The Packet talked to each student about their interest in medicine and their early steps toward becoming physicians.

Blake Power told the Packet the white coat ceremony was a special occasion for the students and their families and friends.

“It was a great time to meet classmates, significant others, and families,” said Power.
He says having three other friends from the same area is special.

Power says he’s wanted to be a doctor since he had some injuries and surgeries when he was younger.

“Interacting with the physicians and residents in that way, I kind of got interested.”

He also attended MedQuest, a program designed to get high school students interested in careers in medicine.

When asked about specialization in the future, Power says everything seems so interesting at this point.

Vasanthan and Pearce both have parents who are doctors, and they even grew up in the same neighbourhood — so it’s especially notable for the two friends to go through med school together. Vasanthan told the Packet the two best friends applied to med school together.

“It’s been kind of a long-term goal for me for some time,” said Vasanthan. “It is definitely something I’ve been exposed to since a young age … It was definitely a big influence on me for sure, but also I just wanted to personally go into the field myself, because I saw that as the field I would enjoy myself the most in.”

He says early in his med school days, he’s keeping an open mind and looking forward to shadowing in different situations.

“I’ve been having a great time – this is what I’ve wanted to do for so long. It feels good to finally be here and go through the process with three other people from Clarenville, as well as all my other classmates.”

Pearce told the Packet his journey was also influenced by the fact both his parents are doctors, but not directly.

“Growing up with that, I got to see it and experience a bit, which let me know it was something I (would enjoy doing),” said Pearce. “But what led me to medical school in the first place was more me feeling this was what would be best for the rest of my life.”

Looking forward, he’s open to different specializations, but it’s still way too early for that, he adds.
Even the idea of being a doctor in Clarenville is a possibility down the road.

“I grew up in Clarenville, obviously, so I have a place in my heart for Clarenville and rural communities. I could definitely see myself ending up in Clarenville one day.”

So far, Pearce says school has been fun — at least while the experience of being a med student is still novel.

Mykala Pardy is from George’s Brook-Milton. She told the Packet it’s satisfying to be in med school because the journey is not always easy.

“Years ago, it was just a distant dream to be entering medical school, but to be there and receive my white coat and have my parents and my family experience that with me, it was really special,” she said.

She says she’s wanted to be a physician ever since middle school. She’s seen many great doctor role models and has always wanted this.
She also credits the great local school system for fostering her interest in medicine, adding it’s a testament to the schools when four people from a small area can all achieve something like this together.

“It plays a huge part in who we’ve become and our academic skills,” says Pardy.

After first shadowing a family doctor, she said she could see herself settling in a place like George’s Brook-Milton and practising family medicine.

“Going back there and giving back to my community is just a really great idea and I would be so interested in doing that.”

As for her fellow classmates from the area, Pardy says it’s great to go through med school together.

“It brings a little bit of home into the classroom so that’s really comforting, I find!”

Twitter: @jejparsons

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