Ximena Cardoza


What does inspiration mean to you and how would you use your platform in your future career to inspire others?

My definition of inspiration was blurry a few years ago. In the past, I described inspiration as the moment when a person’s face lights up and a light bulb hangs over them. In other words, I had a weak idea as to what inspiration was and how it worked; so much that I considered inspiration unreliable and rare to find. Then, thirty years after discontinuing his education in sixth grade, my father enrolled in a GED program. My father’s resilience during his GED experience inspired me in my journey to become a physician assistant, and the true meaning of inspiration became clear. Since then, I define inspiration as a power that enhances the ability of the people around you, and I hope to use this power to inspire other individuals by demonstrating resilience.

To complete his GED program, my father attended classes after his nine-hour shifts every day; he arrived home exhausted and ready to hit the bed. Despite spending hours staring at the computer screen and textbooks, he did not pass the math section of the GED exam. For nine months, he continued examining every math problem in his textbook and computer screen until he finally triumphed. Seeing his tenacity inspired me to reconsider my career options: to become a physician assistant.

My ambition of working as a physician assistant had been in the back of my mind for a while, but my father’s persistence was the final push I needed. Now, I believe inspiration means to revitalize the hope and dreams of myself and the people around me; and such inspiration is made possible through desirable qualities, like strength, passion, and resilience that manifest in your surroundings. In particular, I hope to inspire others by demonstrating resilience in my work as a potential physician assistant. Within a medical facility, both healthcare workers and patients may encounter a diverse array of unpredictable challenges and, thus, are prone to discouragement and burnout when a mistake is made. Because of this, resilience, rather than strength or any other qualities, is one of the best ways to inspire as a medical professional. After all, every medical professional has his or her areas of strength, but only a few individuals withstand an obstacle enough to reach for the stethoscope and try again. To motivate others, I aim to constantly reach for my stethoscope and learn from my mistakes so that both my coworkers and patients can see that persistence is essential for inspiration.

In the end, inspiration can be many things. Each individual defines and attains inspiration in his way. Inspiration can originate either externally or internally and causes individuals to react in a certain way. While many people define inspiration as a burst of creativity, I believe inspiration is a universal ability that improves the confidence and mindset of the persons around you. Nevertheless, while there may be various ways to be inspired, I plan to inspire others by overcoming and adapting to the challenges in the life of a physician assistant.

What are you currently doing to inspire those around you?

In such an enormous and diverse world, it can be overwhelming to inspire others. Countless are the times where a movie character wants to motivate a crowd of people as a means to solve a communal problem, but cannot do so because of a lack of unity, communication, and because the group may not know each other well. The same applies to the leaders of nations, some of which find it particularly difficult to motivate their country towards a specific agenda. Also, to many people, inspiration must be performed through creative art or other extravagant ways and must reach a large mass of people to be efficient. On a much smaller scale, however, I recently discovered that inspiring others does not have to be a nationwide or even municipal-sized effort right from the start, nor does it have to be complicated. In fact, a person may inspire others via ordinary activities and can start by first inspiring the individuals near them, such as their siblings. Thus, today I find myself inspiring my sisters through my academic dedication.

My commitment to education began in my late eight grade year, which is when I rigorously studied for the early college high school admissions in my school district. At the same time, I worked hard to show my sisters how much dedication was necessary to enter a challenging school. I worked harder and longer in each class not because better grades meant a greater possibility of admission, but because I knew that an early college education would be strenuous. My sisters realized this when, after a letter of acceptance from the early college high school arrived in the mail, I continued studying.

Now that I am in my third year at Quest early college high school, I use every opportunity to inspire my siblings and guide them on a similar path. The demanding environment and competitive alumni at Quest means I have to push myself harder than other students to motivate my sisters to strive even further. I work diligently to become a role model for them: I volunteer as a service-learning leader at my school, maintain a place in the top ten students of my class, and spend most of my time learning upcoming school material and planning school projects. When they see the positive impact, academic merit, and achievements that result from academic dedication, their eyes radiate with encouragement. When they see that everyday qualities like commitment and perseverance can inspire and change their community in extraordinary ways, they want in on the action. One day my younger sister decided, “I want to go to Quest, too.” With that, my method of inspiration finally bore fruit.

By winning the Desire To Inspire scholarship, I can continue inspiring my siblings as first-generation students and push my family forward. Not only will my loved ones be inspired by my academic commitment, but other students will also acknowledge the importance of commitment and inspiration in their college journeys.

What you would do with the scholarship award if you were to receive it?

If I were to receive the scholarship award, I would like to share this scholarship opportunity with future eligible applicants so that they can be aware of the support available to them. Hopefully, by seeing that it is truly possible to win a scholarship, my peers and loved ones will apply to the Desire To Inspire scholarship in the future. After all, the monumental purpose of the Desire To Inspire scholarship is to inspire, so it is only fair that the recipient passes the torch.

9 thoughts on “Ximena Cardoza

  1. Continue to inspire others and wishing the best your future.

  2. Ximena,
    Well written and inspirational.
    I’ve known your family for years and you all continue to impress with determination and accomplishments.
    Best wishes on this path you have chosen. You will help make this a better world.
    Dan Tidwell

  3. You have me inspired. I hope you become wonderful Physician Assistant. Good luck

  4. Wow! Beautifully written! I find myself inspired. Great job Ximena!

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