I was asked to define what feminism means to me but I found it challenging to define without including race. Feminism is the opportunity for Black women to become doctors, business executives, teachers, and professionals while being wives and mothers. It is equal opportunity for women so that we are able to beat the odds irrespective of our upbringing, experiences, and criticism from others.
Growing up my mother was a hair stylist, aerobics instructor, and wife who raised two daughters, step-son and younger sister. She wanted us to obtain a level of success that had been unobtainable to her. She taught aerobics at 6am at the YMCA then came home to get us ready for school. She then dropped us off at four different schools. Everyday she picked me up at lunchtime to take me to another school for the afternoon. I spent the afternoon taking AP Science and AP Math courses. She showed us the importance of physical fitness, hard work, family and education. My mother raised a doctor, public relations agent and a computer programmer.
I grew up in a household with parents who did not have a college education and could not help me navigate the educational system. But my parents knew that education was the key! I went to a middle and high school where I took AP Math courses, AP Science courses and entered the county science fair every year. My grandmother passed away from lung cancer when I was five years old and my mom raised her younger sister. The passing of my grandmother influenced me to focus on science courses. I put my heart and soul into my education because I wanted to become a doctor. It was perseverance, dedication and my family that allowed me to become a Black female doctor who beat the odds.
The journey to success comes with many failures. The one that makes it to the finish line is not always the best, the brightest or the strongest. Sometimes the person that makes it to the finish line is the one who has had the most obstacles to overcome but they persevered. During my freshman year of college I was told that I was not going to get into medical school and I should change my major. I refused to let someone prematurely set a limit to my success. I turned that negativity into motivation and continued to follow my dreams. In 2011 I was accepted to medical school! While in medical school I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and other health issues that made to journey to becoming a doctor even more challenging but I kept going. I was not at the top of my class and I was not at the bottom but after all of my struggles, I made it to the finish line.
In order to obtain success you must be dedicated to what you are trying to achieve. I set a BIG goal and made many microgoals. Upon fulfilling each microgoal I was one step closer to achieving the BIG goal. There were many distractions along the way and I had to make many sacrifices. My friends and family had vacations, parties, gatherings and events but I was always the one missing because I was dedicated. Sometimes being dedicated means being selfish with yourself and others.
My family is my foundation and my support system. I depended on them for emotional support. The journey to becoming a doctor can be isolating so I lived through my family. Many days I wanted to give up but it was the proudness and encouragement from my family that kept me going. Without my family I wouldn’t be Dr. Quintisha Marie Walker. A 1st year Pathology Resident at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.