Sandhya Sanapala; University of Connecticut class of 2021; Major: Allied Health Sciences; Minor: Anthropology; University of Connecticut School of Medicine MD program class of 2025
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Why did you choose to pursue a career in healthcare?

I chose to pursue a career in healthcare because I am passionate about health disparities and addressing the health inequities that are present in healthcare. After seeing my mother diagnosed with depression and seeing her having a hard time going through the healthcare system, as she received stigma, judgement, and wasn't provided effective resources.

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

I was a Resident Assistant (RA), involved in KUBE (Kids & UConn Bridging Education), and was a teaching assistant for Biochemistry (MCB 2000).

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

When I first started the pre-medicine route, I had a huge lack of support from my peers, family, and professors as my "grades were not high enough". I felt like people were not aware that I provide more than my grades.

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

I'm going to be very honest. My mental health during my first two years of college were absolutely terrible. I did not eat well, I was always tired, stayed up until 2 or 3AM every night, worried about my grades. Over my junior and senior year, I was able to do significantly better. During my junior year, I took more time to improve my social life, meditate, love myself, and treat myself to nice things.

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

My advice is to maintain a healthy work-life balance. This becomes very useful for preventing burnout.