By Michron Robinson
The support of family or lack thereof can cause you to soar or plummet, and Dr Anquan Anderson is remaining forever thankful to his inner circle for having his back even in the face of rough tides.
Since he left Queens College in 2015 at the age of 16 and headed to Queen’s Royal College in Trinidad, it has been a journey of pure dedication for Dr Anderson. His parents, Winston and Sandra Anderson, have been his support along with his sister, Dr Aleisha Anderson, who is also a doctor.
Dr Anderson shared that his older sister was like a guiding light and she shared many tips, which kept him grounded.
“She told me about the sacrifices I would have to make and I heard her, but I did not take in a single word.
“She told me that I have to miss out on a lot of social interactions, parties and the limes. I did not pay any attention to it, but now I feel like I miss a large portion of it,” he said.
His older sister was also in medical school at the same time and they even completed a rotation in surgery together in 2020.
“No one realised we were family until the last day, but she was a great support and inspiration for me.
“She made a road map, which made it easier for me to follow in her footsteps. If I needed advice, she would give it or if I needed to read something, she would send material to read and she made my life easier in terms of breaking into it,” he said.
However, despite the loving support of his sister, Anquan shared that he felt like he never wanted to be “coddled” by her.
“I tried to really put myself out there and get my own experiences as well,” he said.
After Queen’s Royal College, he gained a Barbados Scholarship and went to Mona in 2017.
Since beginning his stint at the QEH after graduating from Mona, Anderson said that he has the ear and comfort of his mother at all times for which he’s eternally grateful.
The medical honours graduate admitted that he wasn’t too keen on academics.
The sportsman pursued football and tennis and, quite recently, boxing, to create that social balance.
“I spent the earlier part of my education doing the work. I played a lot of sports growing up, so I just followed my interests and it led me there. I had a big interest in the sciences and when I kept pursuing what I was interested in, I found myself on a roadmap that led me there,” he added happily.
For someone who wasn’t initially interested in medicine, Dr Anderson says that he’s enjoying his internship, which started in September 2022.
He had the support of many doctors who helped him understand what he got himself into.
“So far, I’ve done internal medicine. I’m in paediatrics now. I loved internal medicine. I had a lot of great mentors who shaped the raw teaching in medical school and helped to direct it in a more patient-centred approach,” he added.
He admits interning is a “rough journey,” given the hours.
“It’s not always sunshine and rainbows but at the end of the day someone has to do it and this is the field I chose and I’m going to give it my all,” Dr Anderson added confidently.
He said three key things have kept whim motivated: the patients he helps, the teams he worked with and the people he’s met along the way.
“The people I meet in terms of the staff, the doctors and the patients make it easier, especially when you are now starting out and you are not sure where to go or how to speak to patients. It really helps when people are open with you,” he said.
As for his vision for himself, this 23-year-old is hoping to “open a couple of businesses” outside of his life of medicine and to involve himself in charitable work.
“I know I want to get some more qualifications, involve myself in some things other than medicine. I also want to make things easier for people who are now coming up. That’s what I want to spend my time establishing in the next five years,” he said.
His advice to young people is to be sure about the path they choose.
“There are a number of things you have to give up as a doctor. There is a big jump in being in school and being a doctor – there’s a bunch of sacrifices you have to make, so you just have to be sure that this is what you want to do,” Anderson advised.
He also has a warning for those who say they want to go into medicine to “help people”.
“There are many ways to help people other than medicine. You can volunteer before you [commit] to medical school.
“For those who know for sure they want to pursue medicine they should give it some time and stick with it to know that it is rewarding – not financially, but watching someone you see come in ill and get them back to a better place [is satisfying],” he said. (MR)