Coming into Penn, I knew I wanted to study medicine. Unfortunately, in high school I was only able to participate in hands-off volunteering at a local hospital. So, as I walked down Locust Walk during our activities fair, I desperately searched through the hundreds of tables for a way I could get involved medically. I saw a bright red sign that read “MERT” and in small print underneath, “Medical Emergency Response Team.” I walked over to the table and began talking with one of the people sitting at there. I soon found out that I could not only get certified as an Emergency Medical Technician while at Penn, but also actively participate in medicine as part of a 911-like response service.
One semester after that day I was an active member of Penn’s MERT. I had successfully completed all parts of the certification and was ready to go. Through my past two and a half years as a member of the team, I have been on calls from seizures to drug overdoses to dislocated shoulders, wrists, and everything in between. These serious medical calls have not only taught me about the severity of medical care, but also about patient interaction and other skills that allow me to be a good professional and person. Not only is Penn’s MERT an extracurricular activity, but it is also a community. I have made so many friends through our long days and nights serving the Penn community. With the phrase being, “more than EMS” MERT is truly a family. Being able to get real, clinical experience as a student EMT has enabled me to reaffirm my interest in medicine. With much of the nationwide pre-med curriculum consisting of sciences not always directly related to medicine, MERT allows me to be a medical professional and a student all at the same time. Not only has MERT allowed me to serve University City community, but with my certification I am able to work at home at my local firehouse in an ambulance. With even more medical exposure, I am being an active participant in the Penn community while also doing something that I really love.
-Jack C. '17