Faces of U of T Medicine: Jude Sanon
Before coming to U of T, Jude Sanon studied Biomedical Science at the University of Ottawa. This year, he joins the Class of 2T2 as a first-year medical student. He spoke with Faculty of Medicine writer Julia Soudat about the importance of mentorship, giving back to the community and what he’s most looking forward to as a UofTMed student.
What made you want to become a doctor?
I always loved learning about the human body and the multidimensionality of health. When it came to choosing a career that I would dedicate my life to, there were many factors to consider so it was necessary for me to get first-hand experience. Volunteering and working at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute early on in my undergrad showed me that medicine would provide me with plenty of opportunities to learn how science can positively impact the lives of others. It also gave me exposure to different cases and let me grow as a person thanks to everyday interactions with diverse groups of people. As a Haitian-Canadian, I saw the opportunity to be an advocate for my community and help address social barriers that affect underrepresented populations – like Black Canadians.
How did being a member of the Haitian-Canadian community influence your journey into medicine?
Being a Haitian-Canadian has instilled in me a sense of empathy and sensitivity towards people who may be facing barriers in health care - such as language, culture, and discrimination. As I continue to develop as a physician, my community will always ground me in the ideals of respecting the humanity that exists within all individuals. This will help me to be a better advocate for health equity - particularly for immigrants - as the Canadian population becomes more diverse.
Have you had mentors or role models who’ve helped you along the way?
Coming from a family who immigrated to Canada and moved around a few times before settling in Ottawa, one major obstacle was that I never really established a social network early on that was well-developed enough to provide specific mentorship for getting into a career in medicine. My parents always provided the emotional and financial support that would serve as my backbone throughout my journey. They will always be my role models for a great work ethic.
During my undergrad, the friends I made helped me remain hard-working, focused and realistic about my goals. We were all working towards a potential career in medicine, so we were on similar paths. When it came to my first application to medical school, the Community of Support (CoS) was vital to my success. They gave me detailed advice pertaining to the MCAT, writing my essays and interview preparation.
Were you inspired to become a mentor to others after your experience with the Community of Support?
The help provided by my CoS mentor helped me maintain a positive and productive mindset throughout my application cycle. This was very important as it motivated me to put my best foot forward at every stage of the process rather than lose hope too early. The support I received along my journey not only helped propel me into medical school but inspired me to be a mentor for future students who may feel they are lacking support.
How did it feel when you got your acceptance letter?
I felt so many emotions, it's hard to describe! I was exhilarated and validated because I accomplished this major goal which I dedicated the last three years of my life to. I was excited because not only did it mean I was going finally start training how to be a doctor, but my parents no longer had to worry about my future career. I was so grateful, because as time passed after my interview date, my confidence definitely waned. I fully expected to have to apply again in the future cycle. Gaining admission to medical school in my first cycle was a testament to the excellent support I received from family, friends and my CoS mentor throughout this process.
What are you most looking forward to as a UofTMed student?
I look forward to continuing to grow as a person, learning amazing things about the human body and interacting with patients. I am also very excited to meet my fellow 2T2s during O-Week and creating lasting relationships that will go beyond medical school!
What do you think the biggest challenges will be?
My biggest challenges will be being away from my family and friends in Ottawa and adjusting my study methods to the rigors of medical school. Maintaining a balanced lifestyle between my studies, my overall health and my hobbies/social life will be a challenge as well. I think sticking to schedules, interacting with my fellow 2T2s and staying in contact with loved ones will help me stay grounded and healthy while in medical school.
What do you like to do outside of school?
I'm very big on physical health! I enjoy powerlifting and bodybuilding. It has helped me reach my physical health goals and allows me to de-stress. I’m also into photography – it lets me capture and appreciate the great moments and small things in life.
Faces of U of T Medicine introduces you to some of the interesting people studying in the Faculty of Medicine. From advising political leaders to providing care to Toronto’s most vulnerable populations, members of our community are having an impact at home and around the world.
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