By Anna Castilla
To most people, he is known as Dr. Luis Fuentes; but to our family he is either known as Louie or as “The Doctor”. Luis Fuentes is 27 years old and resides in Corpus Christi, Texas where he works at a local hospital. He is currently doing his residency and is looking to graduate within the next two years. I decided to meet up with Fuentes because he has not only been such an inspiration for me, but for the rest of our family.
Fuentes is the first of our family to have graduated with a PhD and we are all looking to follow in his footsteps. According to our grandmother, as a young child, Luis would always say that he was “Doctor Crazy” and that he was going to be a doctor so he can help people. Ever since he graduated from Alexander High School in Laredo, Texas, he has been 100% dedicated to his dream of becoming a doctor.
His education always came first and even after it would get difficult to continue, he managed to breakthrough with a smile. His hard work and efforts were not in vain since he now gets called “doctor” by hundreds of people a day. Although he has had a significant amount of determination, there have been multiple setbacks; one of them being his ethnicity and the color of his skin. Fuentes mentions that in his middle school years, his teachers and counselors would tell him that the color of his skin and his last name would cause problems and disappointment for him if he decided to go through with his career choice.
Fuentes has always been a rather mature person, even when he was young; whenever someone would try to bring him down and disregard his dreams, he’d simply say “I will prove you wrong” and he did.
As any other college graduate, Fuentes is part of the 44 million students that are in debt in the United States. He has mentioned that scholarships and grants were a “godsend” while he was an undergraduate, but he knew that all of that would soon come to an end once he went to Medical School.
“My family is humble. We have a healthy supply of passion, tradition, and love; money, however, is definitely in short supply.” One of the last questions I asked Fuentes was whether he sees himself as an inspiration to his younger siblings and relatives to which he answered “I hope I do serve as inspiration for them. I want them to grow up knowing that no matter where you come from, what the color of your skin is, where you call home, or what obstacles you may face. Your dreams are never impossible. If you feel so passionate about something then nothing can stand in your way. […] It’s the strength you have to keep going despite all the barriers that is truly special. I hope I can show them that perseverance is what makes each individual special.”
Fuentes has always been a very humble and hardworking man, he has proven everyone who has ever doubted him wrong. I know I can say this for not only myself, but for my younger siblings, his younger sibling, and the rest of our relatives, that he has indeed been an inspiration to all of us. If it weren’t for his aspirations and determinations, none of us would be pursuing multiple degrees in order to reach our dreams, and for that I thank him.