Sacha Walters-Gregory, Staff Reporter
Pursuing unfinished business, Alexa-Rae Clennon took a few detours but still ended up taking on her dream of medicine.
The 21-year-old admits that, after leaving high school, she wasn't focused on her education.
"I started at the University of the West Indies (UWI) in 2010. I didn't get to finish my first semester," said Clennon, the former Immaculate Conception High School student. "I was kind of unfocused and unsettled," she explained about her pursuits at the Pure and Applied Science faculty.
"I have a bad habit: if I know I'm not going to be successful at something, I'm not going to do it. I've broken out of that now," she said.
After a period overseas, she returned to Jamaica and, faced with no job, started looking for alternatives. Clennon discovered the Diageo Learning for Life programme and enrolled.
"The programme is a sponsored programme where people who have fewer opportunities can enrol in a programme and learn a trade to get a job," Clennon explained. She chose to receive training in mixology, a skill she always practised at home. She found favour with the skill.
"I was valedictorian for my group and I got a job with administers of the programme, Bars to Go. I later went on to become the administrator for Bars to Go," she explained. The Angostura Mix Master Challenge was her next stop. "You had to create some signature mixes using Angostura. You were judged on presentation and compilation of the mixes," she explained. "I won the competition for Jamaica and I came second in the Caribbean."
While working at Bars to Go, Lennon realised it was time to pursue her dream of medicine.
"I always wanted to do medicine, but I got side-tracked. I wouldn't say I completely gave up on it but I got comfortable with working," she revealed. Realising it was time to pursue her dream of becoming an emergency medical physician, she enrolled to do medicine at UWI this year.
"I'm pretty comfortable with what to expect," explained Clennon, as a number of her friends have done medicine. But this student also wants to give back to the homeless through her self-initiated Heal the Nation Foundation.
"It is very new. It hasn't been registered as yet. They (homeless) are the worst-off," she said.
"So far, I haven't accomplished what I've wanted to accomplish because I find that people aren't very receptive," she said in reference to her attempts at leaving coin collection cans at designated places for a drive. The cans will be left from September 1 to 30, in a drive to collect funds for World Homeless Day.
"On October 10, which is World Homeless Day, I want to package gifts and give them out along with soup and sandwiches," said of the first major project she wants to complete.
As for her medical pursuits, Clennon is looking forward to managing her time to be successful in school.
"If you can manage your time, it's good," said Clennon.
To assist Heal the Nation, contact Clennon at : email@example.com