Ryan Verano; University of Connecticut Class of 2018; Major: Economics; Minor: Asian American Studies; New York College of Podiatric Medicine DPM program, class of 2024
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Why did you choose to pursue a career in healthcare?

Medicine and health care I believe is the most rewarding field you can go into. You have the opportunity to learn more about the interconnected complexities of the human body, as well as the chance to oversee the care of a human life. It is a great feeling of satisfaction when you're able to understand the pathology of a disease in a patient, and then deduce the best course of treatment given the lab results and presentation of symptoms.

What wre some meaningful extracurricular activities that you were involved in while at UConn?

I was Co-President of the Filipino American Student Association (FASA) and was a PAC Rep and Co-Fundraiser Chair for the Pan Asian Council (PAC). It was through my positions in these two organizations where I discovered that my passion to lead stemmed from making a positive impact in my communities. Being heavily involved as a leader in the Filipino community during my UConn years, I became aware of the diseases prevalent among Filipinos such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and hypertension. My drive to be a physician keeps growing so I can continue being of service to the Filipino community, this time as an advocate for people’s health. Using my cultural competency, I want to help members of the community take charge of their health, and not fall victim to the diseases plaguing our population.

What were some challenges you have faced along your healthcare journey so far, and how have you overcome them?

Starting medical school during a pandemic was tough because all our lectures were on Zoom for the first year. It was so challenging to sit in front of a computer screen for long hours as the eye strain became real. Sometimes it didn't feel like medical school because all my learning was happening in my apartment bedroom. This also limited my interactions with my classmates and that made it hard to make meaningful interactions. It wasn't until my third semester that I was able to meet all my classmates in person.

What did you do during your growth year(s) and what did you learn?

I did a Post-Baccalaureate at Hofstra for one year, and then I applied to medical schools soon after. While applying to med school, I was coaching youth basketball. I became the assistant coach for the Boys Varsity B basketball team at my high school, and was an assistant coach for a 6th Grade team in my local Catholic parish sports program. It was a time full of uncertainty and even feeling lost in life because you don't know if med school is going to work out. It's a process that involves a lot of soul searching. However, I learned that life has a funny way of correcting itself. The old saying of not going where you intended to but still ending up where you needed to be couldn't hold any more true. So make sure to breathe, everything will work out. In the meantime, enjoy your passions. For me that was basketball.

What are some ways that you take care of your mental health and overall wellbeing?

I make a conscious effort to eat broccoli and salad twice a week. Vegetables do wonders for giving your body energy! I then allow 20 minutes for exercise each day. On Fridays from 5 PM onward, I don't touch anything school related because I've earned my rest and relaxation time after a hard week of class and exams. Most importantly, I make sure to pray every day and make it to Church on Sunday mornings. Each time when I get to talk to God in silence, it puts my mind at ease.

What advice do you have for aspiring pre-health students?

Take all your pre-requisite classes seriously! Your grades in those classes are a major factor to admission committees. Also take charge of your education and studies! That means having the self discipline to know when to pass up socializing time with friends vs. having more time to study for an upcoming exam. Your friends will still love you for missing the Saturday party in order to study for that Monday or Tuesday exam.

What’s something that you wish you knew when you were in college?

I wish I knew more about podiatry during college, as I wasn't really exposed to it until after graduating. It's such a great field to go into, and I'm glad that I'm on this route.