The DIOP Circle V.27

December 29th, 2019


Stephen Bozier

Every Sunday, we publish a story from a member of the DIOP community. Because each and every one of you is on a journey and we're right there with you.

This week, we're delighted to have Stephen Bozier. He debuted our shorts back in August but really digs the Iggy top from season three, which he returned to model for. He's going to share just how personal growth can be.

We are the generation tasked with self-actualization. This realization, along with its challenges and implications, are often at the center of intimate discussions with my housemates and close friends in medical school. We simultaneously acknowledge the generations of work that led us to this point in time and are weighed down by the burden of extending that legacy and narrative. Both of my parents far exceeded the expectations of their parents – get a job, raise a family, be good citizens etc.

These still-fundamental goals are no longer the ceiling nor anymore guaranteed for us than for our parents. In this era of profound uncertainty, secondary to profound wealth inequality, limitless possibility but limited opportunity, and the existential threat of climate change, I feel the task is now to fulfill a divine purpose – to seek and discover one’s calling and impact in such a way that answers the questions “who am I?” and “why am I here?”

I contemplate the answer to these existential questions often, sometimes daily in earlier periods. I mean come on, a young black creative kid - trying to find their place in the world and too often panic-stricken by their overblown sense of awkwardness - is bound to be an overthinker.

In my defense, I didn’t really see where I fit back then. I grew up in a racially-, ethnically-, and economically- diverse New York City suburb during the early 2000s. Stereotypes were how I first attempted to understand my position in this rainbow coalition.

Most of the boys in elementary school would gather on the playground for football, baseball, or kickball games – demonstrating their physical abilities in order to measure up for the game-within-the-game: claiming their latter rungs on the social hierarchy. I was a good sport but not good at them – my four eyes, subpar hand-eye coordination, and chubby short stature weren’t promising for anyone looking to be another Gus Williams, Ray Rice, or 3rd baseman on Joe Torre’s Yankees. I resolved to stake out my claim elsewhere.

I always admired performing artists. I grew up loving iconic artists like Michael and Janet Jackson – I practiced their dance moves all of the time, even during lackluster little league innings in the right field; Whitney Houston, and Stevie Wonder – for their powerful vocals and abilities to captivate audiences all the white sitting or standing behind a microphone; and Denzel Washington and Angela Bassett - due to their innate abilities to transform into the characters they played.

I saw each of these artists are potent storytellers – vessels with the power to elevate the stories of everyday people and their most intrinsically human experiences.

To this day, I don’t have a solid answer when asked “when did you know that you could sing?” I can’t pinpoint a singular moment. I only recall the strong desire to feel great at something - other than academics. It’s not lost on me that the intense feelings of inadequacy and loneliness that pushed me toward the arts are often found at the center of growth.

Reflecting on the past five years specifically, I noticed that periods of great adversity and discomfort on preceded periods of great accomplishment and personal growth. My first semester back in the Northeast after studying abroad in Cuba intensely confronted me with delayed-FOMO, the demise of a romantic relationship, and feelings of isolation and depression.

But it led to a renewed focus of seeking fulfillment in happiness in my personal relationships and pastimes, expansions in my conceptions of love and self-love, and the realization that I did not have to choose between careers in medicine and the performing arts.

Medicine, health policy, advocacy & service, music and the performing arts – are all significant interests of mine, the origins of which are traced to precious moments in my personal and professional development. The breadth and uniqueness of these unlikely bunch puzzle many, who often see them as very different. To me, however, they are inextricably bound as key components to unlocking my purpose – my fullest potential to impact.

This past year confronted me with many of my greatest challenges to date – academic adversity and imposter syndrome in medical school, stress-induced depression and anxiety, emotional and mental disorganization. Seeking God plus the love and support of family, friends, and mentors, I pressed forward and discovered within myself a new level of strength and resolve. Quite frankly, the stakes have never been higher - and that’s why 2020 will be big.

Self-actualization and growth occur when discomfort meets urgency. My advice to anyone looking to find their lane of impact is to revel in discomfort and be open to the fact that it might not resemble anything you’ve previously seen.


The DIOP Circle V.27

December 29th, 2019


Stephen Bozier

Every Sunday, we publish a story from a member of the DIOP community. Because each and every one of you is on a journey and we're right there with you.

This week, we're delighted to have Stephen Bozier. He debuted our shorts back in August but really digs the Iggy top from season three, which he returned to model for. He's going to share just how personal growth can be.

We are the generation tasked with self-actualization. This realization, along with its challenges and implications, are often at the center of intimate discussions with my housemates and close friends in medical school. We simultaneously acknowledge the generations of work that led us to this point in time and are weighed down by the burden of extending that legacy and narrative. Both of my parents far exceeded the expectations of their parents – get a job, raise a family, be good citizens etc.

These still-fundamental goals are no longer the ceiling nor anymore guaranteed for us than for our parents. In this era of profound uncertainty, secondary to profound wealth inequality, limitless possibility but limited opportunity, and the existential threat of climate change, I feel the task is now to fulfill a divine purpose – to seek and discover one’s calling and impact in such a way that answers the questions “who am I?” and “why am I here?”

I contemplate the answer to these existential questions often, sometimes daily in earlier periods. I mean come on, a young black creative kid - trying to find their place in the world and too often panic-stricken by their overblown sense of awkwardness - is bound to be an overthinker.

In my defense, I didn’t really see where I fit back then. I grew up in a racially-, ethnically-, and economically- diverse New York City suburb during the early 2000s. Stereotypes were how I first attempted to understand my position in this rainbow coalition.

Most of the boys in elementary school would gather on the playground for football, baseball, or kickball games – demonstrating their physical abilities in order to measure up for the game-within-the-game: claiming their latter rungs on the social hierarchy. I was a good sport but not good at them – my four eyes, subpar hand-eye coordination, and chubby short stature weren’t promising for anyone looking to be another Gus Williams, Ray Rice, or 3rd baseman on Joe Torre’s Yankees. I resolved to stake out my claim elsewhere.

I always admired performing artists. I grew up loving iconic artists like Michael and Janet Jackson – I practiced their dance moves all of the time, even during lackluster little league innings in the right field; Whitney Houston, and Stevie Wonder – for their powerful vocals and abilities to captivate audiences all the white sitting or standing behind a microphone; and Denzel Washington and Angela Bassett - due to their innate abilities to transform into the characters they played.

I saw each of these artists are potent storytellers – vessels with the power to elevate the stories of everyday people and their most intrinsically human experiences.

To this day, I don’t have a solid answer when asked “when did you know that you could sing?” I can’t pinpoint a singular moment. I only recall the strong desire to feel great at something - other than academics. It’s not lost on me that the intense feelings of inadequacy and loneliness that pushed me toward the arts are often found at the center of growth.

Reflecting on the past five years specifically, I noticed that periods of great adversity and discomfort on preceded periods of great accomplishment and personal growth. My first semester back in the Northeast after studying abroad in Cuba intensely confronted me with delayed-FOMO, the demise of a romantic relationship, and feelings of isolation and depression.

But it led to a renewed focus of seeking fulfillment in happiness in my personal relationships and pastimes, expansions in my conceptions of love and self-love, and the realization that I did not have to choose between careers in medicine and the performing arts.

Medicine, health policy, advocacy & service, music and the performing arts – are all significant interests of mine, the origins of which are traced to precious moments in my personal and professional development. The breadth and uniqueness of these unlikely bunch puzzle many, who often see them as very different. To me, however, they are inextricably bound as key components to unlocking my purpose – my fullest potential to impact.

This past year confronted me with many of my greatest challenges to date – academic adversity and imposter syndrome in medical school, stress-induced depression and anxiety, emotional and mental disorganization. Seeking God plus the love and support of family, friends, and mentors, I pressed forward and discovered within myself a new level of strength and resolve. Quite frankly, the stakes have never been higher - and that’s why 2020 will be big.

Self-actualization and growth occur when discomfort meets urgency. My advice to anyone looking to find their lane of impact is to revel in discomfort and be open to the fact that it might not resemble anything you’ve previously seen.


Stephen Bozier

Follow Stephen @stephen.bozier and the Brown University Chapter of the Student National Medical Association @snmabrown on Instagram.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of DIOP.


- Stephen Bozier


Follow Stephen @stephen.bozier and the Brown University Chapter of the Student National Medical Association @snmabrown

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of DIOP.