University of Texas Health Science Center '15
"I came to Bennington in part because it wasn’t a typical place to study pre-med. After all, with an undergraduate degree in English, I wasn’t a typical pre-med student. Having gone to a larger university for my bachelor’s degree, I had to get used to being on a first-name basis with the faculty. Getting to know them well was a real strength of the program for me—if I had questions about the material or concerns about courses, I could go straight to the teacher, and when it came time to write my letters of recommendation, I felt like they knew more about me than what my coursework and lab work showed.
"Bennington’s single greatest strength is the program’s commitment to go beyond rote memorization, to go past a formulaic understanding of basic science. In classes, in lab, and on tests, our professors insisted that we learn to understand the material intuitively, that we learn to think like scientists. The faculty really puts in the time with students to foster that level of learning.
"I loved my time on the Bennington campus. I was always amazed at what the student community was up to. When I needed to take a break from studying, I could go for a walk around campus, just as likely to encounter an outdoor performance as anything. On the weekends there were always bands playing, shows in the theaters, exhibits opening. I formed strong bonds in the undergraduate community that had nothing to do with my science study. It was a great counterpoint to my premedical education. Also, Bennington is a big orchard. Apples are free for four months out of the year.
"Bennington, Vermont, is a small town. That worked out well for me, because Bennington is exactly the type of place I want to practice medicine. My classmates worked at the free clinic at the Baptist church downtown, at a local retirement home, and at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center just a few miles away from campus. I shadowed a pediatrician in town, as well as Bennington’s campus doctor. It helped me to get a feel for what a community medical practice looks like, in ways that you just can’t find in city clinics.
"For Field Work Term, I went back to Texas to shadow physicians at a hospital near the Mexican border. I was also lucky enough to find a spot in a community health research lab in San Antonio, working on a study of domestic violence. The experiences I had over FWT did more than provide me with much-needed time to immerse myself in medical culture. They cemented my resolve to become a family practice physician and assured me that I was making the right choice for my career."