Pre-Physician Assistant Major
I remember growing up hearing my parents tell me about our journey to this country for higher education and the opportunity to grow as a person, something that would not be possible back home. As a first generation student with parents that never went to college, it has been a challenging experience here at Grand Valley and in my educational career. Things like study habits, self-regulation, professionalism, pursuing higher education, what kinds of programs are out there, how to apply to programs and internships, how to connect with people, talking to a professor, and even filling out FAFSA were just a few of my struggles that I had to face without my parents being able to help. It has been a very transformation journey here at GV, one which I wouldn't change if asked. I grew to love the Sciences, started to make friends, joined the Pre-MD/PhD club and became president, worked on community health at The Other Way Ministries, explained things I learned in school to my family, met many great counselors, professors and professionals who have helped me find my path, laughed, learned and loved.
I thought that my skin color, class, personal health and educational background would define my limits, but with the support of close friends, mentors, counselors, and programs like TRIO STEM, I was able to look past that and seek more; to seek passions and help others along the way. It wasn't until I started to do research as well, with Dr. Tara Hefferan, that I saw my hard work was going somewhere and taking me places. I was able to do an ethnographic field study, as well as archival, and learn more about the underserved/underrepresented community of the Westsiders, the Westside of Grand Rapids. This touched my heart as I got to hear people's stories and collect data as well. I was able to go to attend conferences here at GVSU, Canada for the national conference for Society for Applied Anthropology, Harvard for the National Conference for Physician Scholars in the Social Sciences and Humanities, and now here in Grand Rapids for the Michigan Sociology Association Fall Conference.
Don't let anyone, not even your own personal health, determine how far you can go! And I would tell anyone that if you don't know what or where you want to go, the best option is to explore and gain experience! Learn what you don't like to minimize your options and do more in the areas that you do like.
Believe in yourself!