In August, Johnathan “Nate” Davis arrived back in Mississippi from Spain - where he had just excelled in an elite, military skills contest - and started his second year of medical school.
In spite of the vast distance - geographically and philosophically speaking - between those two important events in his life, his accomplishments in land navigation, water-hazard survival, marksmanship, and more in Madrid provide a metaphor for making it through medical school, where he is also obliged to complete difficult courses, keep his head above water, negotiate strange territory and take his best shot.
A former high school and college football player for Pascagoula High School and Millsaps College, Davis is a cross-fit enthusiast, powerlifting phenom - 820 pounds in the raw squat - military officer, husband, father-to-be and physician-in-training who still works out twice a day and drills once a month in the Mississippi Army National Guard's Medical Detachment in Jackson.
By virtue of his strength, it seems, he can squeeze hours out of minutes and weeks out of days.
“I've been told all my life that you can't do this if you do that, because there's not enough time,” said Davis, born in Mobile and brought up in Pascagoula, “but it's what you do with the time you have that counts.”
In the 26 years of life he has counted so far, Davis set a one-time powerlifting record, completed a master's degree in biomedical sciences at the University of Mississippi, earned the gold bar of a second lieutenant and started a family with his wife Jessi Davis, who should give birth to their first child in a couple of months.
“He puts his heart into his dreams - and his dreams are to be a husband, a dad and a doctor, and work on wounded soldiers,” Jessi Davis said.