Thirteen-year-old Thomas Barros knew he wanted to practice medicine--he just didn’t know what that calling would look like. The decision was made for him when his brother was sent to the hospital, and had to have brain surgery.
“It was hard, seeing my brother go through [brain surgery],” Barros said. “Seeing the doctor be so confident about what he was doing instilled so much calmness and compassion in me and my family. It really made an impact on me, and I wanted to do the same for others.”
As a junior biology major on a pre-med track, Barros is seeking to pursue medicine as a career and help others the way that that doctor helped his brother when he was younger. Although he does not know exactly what branch of medicine he will end up in, oncology sparked his interest because of his classwork and the impact cancer has had on his family.
“I was familiar with it because my grandmother passed away from cancer my freshman year,” Barros said. “I'm also studying oncology in class, and it is fascinating to me.”
Barros has gotten hands-on experience with cancer patients as a Spanish-speaking medical interpreter. As a part of his job, Barros has been able to go to different oncology clinics and meet with patients and see how the clinic operates.
“I am the bridge between the English-speaking doctor and the non-English speaking patient,” Barros said. “We need to know the basics of what we are talking about when we’re interpreting and knowing what I know from biology and anatomy classes, I can apply [my knowledge] directly there.”
As a first generation Argentine American, Barros searched for a university where he would be more than just a number. After visiting campus for an Encounter event, Barros decided Trevecca was where he was meant to be.
“I had visited a couple of state universities in high school, and I didn’t know how people would get to know their professors in a school that size.” Barros said. “When I visited Trevecca and met some of the faculty, I knew that I would be able to thrive in this community.”
Barros also said that his relationship with his professors played a huge part in confirming that he actually wanted to go into medicine.
“I started out as a biology major, and that was it. I’ve picked up a chemistry minor, a mathematics minor and a psychology major as well,” Barros said. “They’ve really inspired me to open the floodgates of what I can learn.”
Barros is immersed in the Trevecca community as a biology tutor, a teacher’s assistant and a resident assistant. He plans to take the MCAT in the spring. Despite all his responsibilities and stress, Barros is confident in the path he has chosen and would advise others to not give up.
“There is a lot of stress and anxiety that comes with being the first in your family to go to college. Don’t let that pressure to perform get to you,” Barros said. “Work hard, but remember that at the end of the day, what is meant to happen will happen.”