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Ben Carson overcame his troubled youth in inner-city Detroit to become a gifted neurosurgeon famous for his work separating conjoined twins.
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There Ben found squirrels to feed and a tarantula to observe. He discovered the wonders of using a microscope to study water specimens, and learned about paramecium and amoebas.
Later, at Southwestern High School in inner-city Detroit, his science teachers recognized his intellectual abilities and mentored him. Other teachers helped him to stay focused when outside influences pulled him off course.
After Ben graduated with honors from high school,
he knew he wanted to pursue a medical career. But because his mother was not financially well off, Carson had to work through most of his time in college. The automobile industry was facing a downturn in Detroit during the 1970s, making it tough to get a summer job.
But Carson was determined to achieve his goals. He knocked on doors looking for summer work and usually, through persistence, was able to obtain one. From this work, and a scholarship, he attended Yale University and earned a B.A. degree in psychology.
Despite his academic successes, Ben Carson still had a raging temper that translated into violent behavior as a child. One time he tried to hit is mother with a hammer because she disagreed with his choice of clothes. Another time, he inflicted a major head injury on a classmate in a dispute over a locker. In a final incident, Ben nearly stabbed to death a friend after arguing over a choice of radio stations.
The only thing that prevented a tragic occurrence was the knife blade broke on the friend's belt buckle. Not knowing the extent of his friend's injury, Ben ran home and locked himself in the bathroom with a Bible. Terrified by his own actions, he started praying, asking God to help him find a way to deal with his temper. He found salvation in the book of Proverbs in a passage that went, "Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city."
Ben began to realize that much of his anger stemmed from putting himself in the center of everything. Anytime anything happened that was not to his liking, he internalized it and made it his problem. Once he took himself out of the equation, he could see that not everything was directed at him and that he wasn't the only one with troubles.
He began to see things from other points of view. He soon realized he could control his anger, rather than it controlling him. He realized his future depended on the choices he made and the degree of energy he put into his life. Seeing that living in the inner city was only temporary, Carson believed he had the full power to change his situation.
After graduating from Yale in 1973, Carson enrolled in the School of Medicine at the University of Michigan, choosing to become a neurosurgeon rather than a psychologist. In 1975, he married Lacrena "Candy" Rustin whom he met at Yale. Carson earned his medical degree, and the young couple moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where he became a resident at Johns Hopkins University in 1977. His excellent eye-hand coordination and three-dimensional reasoning skills made him a superior surgeon early on.
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