Future medical student overcomes “shaky” start to collegeMarch 05, 2018

The image to use for this article. Listing image managed through RSS tab. Cayden Martinez

“I’ve always been fascinated with muscle groups and body mechanics,” said 20-year-old Cayden Martinez.  “Even as a child, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in the medical field.”

Martinez is one of four Midland College (MC) sophomores who have already been accepted into Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (TCOM).  The students will graduate from MC with associate degrees in May and then take classes at the University of North Texas (UNT) beginning in August.  After taking upper-level undergraduate classes for one year at UNT, they will begin medical school at TCOM in the summer of 2019.  The program is a partnership between Midland College, the University of North Texas, Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine and Midland Health.  Students in the Primary Care Pathways program pursue a rigorous curriculum that enables them to earn a medical degree in just seven years.  They participate in clinical rotations at Midland Memorial Hospital, and at the completion of the seven-year program, they will have an opportunity to serve as medical residents for Midland Health.

“I almost got kicked out of the program,” said Martinez.  “I didn’t take my first semester at Midland College very seriously.  High school was really easy for me, so when I entered college, I mistakenly assumed that I could ‘breeze by’ as I had done at Midland High.  I rarely went to my classes and didn’t study for exams.   We have to maintain a 3.5 GPA every semester at Midland College in order to stay in the Primary Care Pathways program.  That means we have to mainly make A’s with just a few Bs.  My grades at the end of the first semester consisted of just one A.  The rest were Bs and Cs.

“I was really devastated at the end of that first semester.  I felt sorry for myself, and I remember complaining to my grandmother.  My grandmother said that I was being ridiculous, and there was no reason why I should have done so poorly.  She said, ‘When I was in nursing school, I had three kids and two jobs.  If I did it, you can too!’  So, I took my grandmother’s advice and started being serious about getting into medical school.”

Martinez visited with program personnel and convinced them to allow her to stay in the program on probationary status.  She quit the MC cheerleading squad so that she would have more time to study, and she attended tutoring sessions every day.  By the end of her second semester, she was able to raise her GPA to the 3.5 program requirement.

Martinez has managed to maintain high grades after that first disastrous semester, and today she has a 3.75 GPA at Midland College.  She will live in Denton, TX for the next four years, while she attends UNT and TCOM.

“I guess that I was predestined to have a career in healthcare,” said Martinez.  “Anatomy and physiology have always interested me, and I’ve always enjoyed science.  My grandmother is a nurse, and my father is a radiology technician.  My mother’s family is in the mortuary business.   As a child and teenager, I often wondered if there was anything that could have prevented people from dying.”

Martinez is the daughter of Lorena Martinez and Edward Hernandez.  She was born in Odessa and later moved to Midland.  She graduated in 2016 from Midland High School. 

She began taking gymnastics classes in the third grade at the age of 9.  This eventually led to cheerleading for three years while she was in high school and then one semester in college until she decided to forgo cheerleading in order to pursue her future career in medicine.  Martinez still performs gymnastics and works out at home in order to balance the long hours of studying.  In addition, she and her grandmother Laura Hernandez play tennis at the MC tennis courts.

Martinez said that the favorite part of her day is going home to her two dogs Buddy and Vinny.  Buddy is a Bichon Frise, and Vinny is a Bichon Frise/Poodle mix.

“I’m really glad that I decided to listen to my grandmother and get serious about college after that first semester,” said Martinez.  “I hope to eventually practice medicine in West Texas, but the location really doesn’t matter, as long as I enjoy what I’m doing.”

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