Humans of Chantilly: Senior Sri Konagalla

Channeling Change through Medicine

Nayana Celine Xavier, News Editor

What sparked your interest in medicine?

When I was younger, my mom used to always talk about the craziest things she learned in her high school biology class, so I always had early exposure to weird science experiments because she loved doing them and I tagged along with her. Because I enjoyed that, I originally thought I was interested in doing biomedical research, but after doing a lot of volunteering in sophomore year, I realized that I want to pursue a career that also includes a lot of human interaction and helping people in need. I don’t want to be sitting in a lab waiting hours for my cells to grow (not that research isn’t beneficial to the medical field – it’s just not the right fit for me!); I wanted to pursue something that combined my love for science and human nature: medicine. I plan to stick with my goal of becoming a physician, so I’m starting to explore different specialties. I definitely want to continue my endeavors in global health, whether that be as a physician or simply as a well-wishing volunteer. 

How have you pursued your passion throughout high school?

Throughout high school, I’ve joined clubs, classes and extracurriculars that I truly enjoy, and most of them end up being focused around volunteering and medicine. An example of a club I joined is Future Health Leaders, where medical professionals are invited to discuss their journey in the field and offer advice for high schoolers interested in medicine; I am currently the FHL president, so here is a shameless plug: check out if you’re interested!

I’ve become part of organizations like MEDLIFE that visit developing countries to get healthcare to individuals in poverty. And these are all things I’ve done because I genuinely thought they were interesting, not solely because they are in some way related to medicine or will look good at college apps. Even now after submitting all my applications, it’s truly fun for me to stay involved in uplifting the less privileged in our world, and I plan to continue to do so throughout college and hopefully the rest of my life. 

What are some obstacles you have had to overcome during your journey? 

Since pursuing medicine is a very long path – four years of undergrad, four years of medical school, and about 3-5 years of residency – I’ve really had to sit down and hone in on whether I am ready for this journey. I’ve taken classes like AP Psychology (my favorite class at Chantilly- shoutout to Ms. Coffey and her Cafe Rio!) and Genetics to delve further into medicine to cement the fact that I truly enjoy it, since the idea of becoming a doctor is often romanticized in society. I had to look beyond that to ask myself if it’s truly worth pursuing a career with 14 hour shifts, plenty of debt after graduating and confronting death. But this path also involves job satisfaction, intellectual curiosity and healing, and that’s ultimately what is motivating me to continue on my journey to become a physician.