Once homeless, first-generation student attends LECOM Medical School

WETM Special Reports

ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Charles Tran, a 30-year old first-generation student, is attending the LECOM medical school after spending some of his childhood homeless.

“My parents are both immigrants who fled during the Vietnam war and so they came over here on a little fishing boat and they landed in a place called Skid Row, California–that specific city in Los Angeles has about 9 percent of the United States homeless population,” said Tran.

Tran said that he choose to become a physician because wants to be able to help people and give back to the community.

“I remember growing up there were nights when I would fall asleep in my father’s car and then I’d wake up in someone’s home–I didn’t know who it was–but found out over time that it was the generosity and the kindness of my friends and family who let us temporarily stay in each of the places,” said Charles.

When speaking about what kind of physician he wants to become, Charles said that he’s not entirely sure, but he’s in between family medicine, emergency medicine, and anesthesia.

“Coming from the background I came from, the cost was significantly of better value, other schools were much more expensive, so I thought to myself, I don’t want to be in financial struggles my whole life –so for all of those reasons it made since to choose LECOM. “

Charles has never let having financial hardships to define him- instead he uses it as motivation.

“Everyone at any point in their life will have challenges and difficulties but it’s always important never to give up. Some people have to work harder than others that’s ok, but the day to day hustle the never giving up, the always being persistent in what you want in life, figuring out what you want and pursuing that with 100 percent passion, I think that’s the take away that anybody can do it.”

Charles is currently in his third year of medical school and will continue school throughout his fourth year.

“You have to sacrifice who you are now, for who you will be,” said Charles.

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