Liz P.’s Story

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Elizabeth Powe
Class of 2019
Major: Biology

My name is Elizabeth Powe and currently I’m a freshman with hopes to graduate in May of 2019 with an undergraduate degree in biology. I hope to complete all of the prerequisites for medical school so that I can begin in Fall 2019. The vast majority of people often look at my overbearing workload, the dire need to become the ideal medical school candidate, and the probability of being in school for the next eight to ten years and ask me, “Why the hell would you ever do that to yourself?” This is where I peek up from my mastering chemistry assignment and grin, “I’m simply insane.” Honestly, I think you need to be a little insane to be a biology major with aspirations to become a doctor. You have homework every night, each weekend consists of you trying to catch up on sleep that you missed out from the weekday rush and you have to plan out ordinary tasks in your weekly planner like when to do laundry or call home to ensure that they at least get done at some point.

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In all fairness, my insanity isn’t the primary thing that drives me to become a doctor. My childhood wasn’t the best experience of my life and I endured many personal struggles like the abandonment of both of my parents. My amazing grandparents took me in at the age of thirteen, I transferred high schools and began living in a little town at the end of Long Island named Greenport. The community of Greenport opened its arms to me in ways I couldn’t even explain. They gave me a second chance to be someone and to make a difference in other lives that deserve their own second chances. When I volunteered at our local hospital, Eastern Long Island Hospital, I met my own second family that consisted primarily of the emergency room. Since my grandmother was a nursing supervisor at the time, she brought me to work and I volunteered there and found my passion for medicine. Dr. Lawrence Schiff took time out of his hectic schedule as the chairman of the emergency room to act as a mentor and teach me valuable skills and knowledge each day that I still refer to for my present college lectures. Even now, I know I can turn to him or any person in that emergency room for help, personal or academically.

So in short, I want to succeed for myself and for those who helped me along the way; fifty-nine of my closet friends who graduated beside me, the entire Greenport community, the emergency and operating rooms of Eastern Long Island Hospital and my little family that only consists of my uncle and his son, grandparents and two cats who sacrificed more for me than anyone I know.

Even though my support system may be amazing back home, I struggle daily in Albany and I have no problem admitting that. I have a strong dislike for math, biology and chemistry can look like absolute gibberish and I combat homesickness constantly. I lean on my professors’ lectures to break down complicated processes, their office hours that have saved me multiple times already this semester alone, organized study clusters and most importantly, my suitemates’ words of encouragement. I may be away from my family, but I know that I have my own little family here in Albany with the five extraordinary girls I live with and the close friends I made throughout the first semester.

Coming into Albany, I think any new freshman should know a few things like:

  • This is not high school. No teachers to cater to your whims, no designated lunch or break times. So, Congratulations! Welcome to the ultimate college struggle of finding times to nap and eat!
  • You may have never picked up a book in high school but that’s about to change drastically. Be prepared to study even if you never did before.
  • Your suitemates are your family. No matter what drama you all may have with one another; you are a family so get used to it. Lean on each other for encouragement and if you all the same major, better yet! You’ll always have someone to review with.
  • Don’t be ashamed if you need office hours. Trust me, I was, and that didn’t get me far at all. Also study clusters and CARSS are mint if you can get in them at convenient times.
  • Lastly, time management! You can get good grades and go out at night with your friends if you just budget your time precisely so invest in a good weekly planner or bulletin board (I may or may not have both to be extra sure).

Hope this helps your new adventure embark as smooth as possible. Remember, it’s always a great day to be a GREAT DANE!


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