Even before embarking on a career in the medical field, Trevor Duhon had spent more than his share of time in hospitals.
Duhon, 22, is studying clinical lab technology at Rose State College. Once he's done with school, he hopes to get a job working in a hospital.
In 2001, Duhon was diagnosed with an aggressive type of brain and spinal cancer. After 10 months of therapy, Duhon's cancer went into remission. The therapy left behind several effects, including the permanent loss of his hair, but he remains in remission now.
Duhon's protracted battle with cancer left behind another effect — the desire to pursue a career in medicine. He wanted to provide the same kind of help that he received during his treatment, he said.
When he graduated from high school, Duhon initially went to the University of Central Oklahoma to study nursing. But he was intrigued by laboratory work, he said. So after three years at UCO, he transferred to Rose State, where he's pursuing an associate's degree.
Duhon said he's especially interested in phlebotomy, or collecting and handling samples of patients' blood. While it has the laboratory component that interests him, it also includes more patient interaction than other lab jobs.
Although Duhon isn't ruling out the idea of going back toward the nursing field one day, he said he's looking forward to a career in lab work. He's optimistic about his job prospects, he said.
“Every hospital has a laboratory of some sort,” he said.
In the four years since he graduated high school, Duhon has had a realization that comes to most college students at one point or another — that college is vastly different from high school.
The workload in college is much heavier, Duhon said. In junior high and high school, he said, he had most things handed to him. In college, he needs to work twice as hard to stay on top, he said.
Added to the stress of the workload is the fact that decisions he makes about his college career could have huge consequences further down the road. The degree he's decided to pursue sets him on a path that could last his entire career.
“You get to college, and you really have to make big decisions,” he said.