Students spend a day in the 'Real World' medical style
Davionte Halsey, a 3rd grade student at Patrick Henry Elementary School in Heidelberg, helps a team of medics perform a practice test on a medical mannequin. This activity was part of the Real World Medical Career Fair held Jan. 25 at the Heidelberg Middle School on Patrick Henry Village.

HEIDELBERG, Germany -- Stopping to peer through microscopes or ask questions about becoming a nurse, approximately 100 students and parents made their way through the Real World Medical Career Fair Jan. 25 at Heidelberg Middle School on Patrick Henry Village.

The event, which was sponsored by Heidelberg schools and Child, Youth and School Services, featured college planning workshops and about 20 different medical careers students could pursue including behavioral health, respiratory therapy, preventive medicine, dentistry and veterinary work.

"The goal of the program is to prepare military youth for transitions," said Barbara Abeje, the Real World program manager. "These transitions can be from one grade to another grade, from one school to another school or that final transition from high school to college."
With the transition from high school to college in mind, one student and her parents made the drive up from Stuttgart.

"I have no idea what I want to do when I get out of high school," said Candace Backer, a 10th grade student at Patch High School in Stuttgart. "I wanted to open myself up to all the different careers out there."

Her parents, Caroline and Russell, could not agree more. "I'm excited for the possibilities she's going to be facing," said Caroline Backer. "I didn't get to experience anything like this when I was a kid and I wanted to make sure she got the opportunity to make an informed decision."

For the medical professionals at the event, it was an opportunity to be open with the students. Pediatricians, laboratory technicians, physical therapists, optometrists, social work specialists and medics all took some time to describe how long it takes to get through medical school and how many hours students could expect to devote to homework. First and foremost, they were up front about the work it takes to join the medical field.

Jackie Costello, a pediatric nurse practitioner at the Heidelberg Health Center, advised students to start doing research now.

"See what area you would be interested in because there are different requirements," Costello said. "It's a lot of studying, a lot of homework and you have to be focused if that's what you really want to do. But it's a great field to go into, you'll have a great future and it's very rewarding."

Abeje also stressed how important it is for students to learn how to plan for the future at an early age, emphasizing students could attend the college of their choice or become a doctor if they start taking the steps early on.

"They can realize almost any dream if they plan for it," Abeje said.

The next Real World event is 4-6 p.m. Feb. 22 at the Heidelberg Middle School on Patrick Henry Village. Some of the workshop topics include financing college, local scholarship applications and alternatives to four-year universities.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16