Francis is a recent graduate of the University of Toronto Mississauga, as he achieved a Honours Bachelors of Science with a Major in Biology for Health Sciences and Minors in Biomedical Communications and Chemistry in 2016. Francis has also completed a Master of Education at the University of Toronto in Curriculum Studies. Francis joined ECSpeRT during his second year at UTM, after which he quickly advanced to the level of Medical First Responder, and was also a member of our executive team as a Training Corporal. Francis is currently studying at the University of Manitoba for Dentistry (D.M.D) and is planning to pursue a position as a Dental Officer with the Canadian Armed Forces with hopes of becoming a future faculty clinic instructor.
Why did you decide to join ECSpeRT?
“I came to UTM as an aspiring healthcare student (like most science students) and wanted to look for experiences that would help bolster my own development and growth to help me become a more competitive candidate. This meant craving leadership and health-related experiences. No other student club or organization appealed to me enough at the time when compared to ECSpeRT. I respected the work they did and filled an application right away, especially coming from a lifeguard background it was only fitting to join a team that prioritized first aid. Red was also a pretty cool color and their uniforms looked pretty solid.”
What is your fondest memory of ECSpeRT?
“My fondest memory of ECSpeRT has to be one of the pub night events. (I think it was Sex Pub?) That was one heck of a night to be on overnight duty. The amount and types of calls that came in that night were definitely more than what we were accustomed to. It was also the first night some of my colleagues and I had to interact and assist paramedics with simultaneous emergencies. The adrenaline kicked in and we just did our job with a level of synchronization we never knew we could attain. Then meeting one of the original ECSpeRT members who was one of the paramedics and being praised for our work that night really stuck with me to this day.”
What is the most rewarding skill you acquired during your time at ECSpeRT?
“There is a plethora of skills that one can learn from ECSpeRT that are transferable not only to the healthcare/medical field, but also to everyday life and other fields of work. Such skills include things like teamwork, being pragmatic, time management, ability to communicate with others, being a leader or to be assertive. The one skill that I would collectively describe as acquiring during my time at ECSpeRT was being adaptable, the one greatest skill you will ever need in my opinion. (literally that is how evolution works!!!!)
“Things will not always go your way. And that’s okay! I have gone through my fair share of highs and lows, but more importantly was how I coped with the ensuing situation. Overnights and calls to emergencies will test who you are and what you can handle. Your mind and body will morph to accommodate such scenarios.
“I was able to overcome the sheer workload of a full course load, TA-ing, ECSpeRT, and other work/extracurriculars because I was able to manipulate my own limits and adapt to the schedule set before me. My colleagues on ECSpeRT also pushed me above my limits since they too were in similar positions as me. This motivated me to push through and stay sane. At the end of the day, I loved what I did and felt I was making a difference. I could also look back at myself and can 120% say with confidence and pride that I’ve greatly matured because of ECSpeRT. The long-term result is that you will also be ready for nearly anything. Maybe even a zombie apocalypse.”
What advice do you have for current ECSpeRT members and those who aspire to join the team?
“Become adaptable. This also means being resourceful and having the ability to think on the fly, but more importantly it means to never fear taking on challenges or things outside of your comfort zone.
“The opportunities that ECSpeRT have provided me with their events/initiatives either directly (UTM’s Frosh or formals) or as members of St. John Ambulance (such as the Pan Am/ParaPan Am games hosted in Toronto as part of the Medical Team) have made me who I am today. I could have never imagined ever partaking in such events from when I joined. And anytime at an interview, even my medical or dental school interviews, ECSpeRT was critical in my responses.
“What you do, do it with passion. This will keep the fire burning in you. There were three things I loved: helping others, teaching, and health/science. I wanted to help others at the events I participated in and I took with great pride what I did during my time at ECSpeRT. (I remember my parents even bragging to my relatives about it too more than I did). I also loved when it came to mentoring newer members or being part of the training team to ensure our members were up to par with their first aid skills. The health/science part speaks for itself, but nonetheless, ECSpeRT was an outlet for all three of my passions in one place. It was too perfect I thought I was dreaming.
“In the end, you will be proud you joined. You will gain a family and connection to an outstanding network of individuals. You will grow in positive ways you can’t even imagine. You will have a sense of pride and accomplishment that no one can take from you. Ever. You just have to take that leap of faith and put in the work.”