B.S. in Psychology with a Concentration in Behavioral Neuroscience + Pre-Med Prerequisites
from Wright State University
There is not a summer commencement, but my sister gave me her robe from her graduation three months ago. Holding it makes graduation seem a little more real. As I close this chapter, so many things came full circle.
I took anatomy in 2004, but received an “X” in the class. I was very uncomfortable learning from donors and decided that a career in medicine was clearly not for my sensitive stomach. After that quarter, I left Wright State and earned an associate's degree in Visual Communications (from Sinclair) and went on to become a photographer. I retook Anatomy (now Anatomy + Physiology) in 2016 when I came back to Wright State as a single mom in my thirties. It went much better. In fall of 2017, I gave a speech for Boonshoft School of Medicine’s Anatomical Gift Program reception (2 groups of ~800 attendees) as an undergraduate representative to express gratitude for being able to learn Anatomy at Wright State.
The last topic I tutored this week was on acid base balance in Physiology. Me, the girl who didn’t know what a hydrogen ion was when I first sat in that class can breeze through this now. People had a lot of patience with me and I worked really hard. I also took a lot of chemistry.
Always surrounded by pictures of my sons, especially because they spend summers in Florida with their dad. I have missed them, but I'm glad they can go on vacation while I have spent long days at my classes, working in my lab, and tutoring. Studying for finals, I was lucky to be fueled by pizzelles my dad made.
When I was writing my (undergrad) thesis, I went back to papers we read two years ago in my research lab about maternal deprivation & the impact of stress in early life. I looked at the notes I wrote in the margins and remembered how hard it was to read those papers- partially due to the difficulty of the scientific literature and partially due to missing my sons that summer. It was incredible to realize how much I’ve learned since then about the immune system and the influence it appears to have on neuropsychiatric conditions.
There was also this moment of accomplishment when I noticed my professor had written my old married name on that stack of two-year old research papers. I've settled into my maiden name so much that I forget how recently it changed.
I’m thankful for friends that I’ve made here, and feel so lucky to enjoy being at Wright State. My friends have been so supportive and my lab partners took me out to dinner after our last lab (and my final "task" before graduation). My classes are so much better because of the people I've met in them.
My sons and parents can tell you how intense it has been to graduate with all my pre-med classes & the concentration in behavioral neuroscience. My family's support has been vital as I make this transition from photographer to medical doctor. My sons have come to classes with me and watched me study continuously. My parents have supported us and helped with rides when I had to take night classes. My sister, Abby, helped me get through my divorce and was a big inspiration to help me stick with my classes. It’s bittersweet since she moved to Colorado this morning, but I’m excited for her to do what she loves there.
Only a few more days until my sons come home, and I can’t wait to start a new chapter with them. Calling them to tell them I finished was a call I was so proud to make. Only cried a lot.