William Kelsey; University of Connecticut class of 2018; Major: Nutritional Sciences; Minor: Mathematics; Quinnipiac University Physician Assistant Program class of 2023
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Why did you choose to pursue a career in healthcare?

When I was 18 I'm not sure I had any idea what I actually wanted to do, I just knew I like science, sports, and food. When you combine all those things you get a general picture of health. Once I got into the field starting in nutrition I became more fascinated with medical sciences and couldn't resist the urge to keep learning. So I went to PA school and here I am. I have also enjoyed the people I surround myself with in hospitals, we all want to help people and being a part of that energy/community is a fulfilling feeling.

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

Alpha Zeta Omega, Nutrition Club, and Ballroom Dancing Club.

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

I've had a long journey. I started school at UConn in 2010 and I'm still in school in 2022. I may have an impressive resume now, but I had many bumps on the way there. I originally applied to pharmacy school and did not get in. I also did not get into my dietetic program or PA program on the first applications. With each of those, I looked at the areas I could improve on my applications, took the next year doing that and got in the next year. I like to look at the future and think about what I can control or change. The past is full of experience and lessons that lead me forward, but I know I can't change any of that. In March of this year, I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and am currently going through chemotherapy. Even with that, I'm still attending class and taking my exams for PA school. I can control my schedule and time. What I can't control is fatigue and nausea, I will have bad days but I will always keep moving forward.

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

The time I had between applying to different graduate programs was filled with work experience and retaking some classes. Some of the big takeaways I learned were that repeating a class really helps solidify the material for you and that experience means so much more than a GPA. Good grades are great and you need them for a lot of medical programs, but you learn a lot by getting out there and interacting with patients and the healthcare team.

What is some advice you have for aspiring pre-health students?

Find a group of friends in your program or at a campus club and make some memories. Study together, go out partying together and enjoy the moment. You don't have to do it all in four years, it's just time. I always felt "dumb" for taking longer, but looking back I'm glad I did. We all have to suffer through Anatomy and Physiology and Biochemistry, you'll make it. Don't slack off and not do your work, but make sure you get out there and do something else too. And in the summer, go find a healthcare office to work in, make sure this is the career path for you before you devote all this effort.

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

I wish I knew how to study, took me a couple years for that one. Reach out to the library, they can help with that! It's amazing the amount of resources there are around that you don't even know about. Also ask your friends everything. Ask what resources they've used and share yours. Ask what they are struggling with and maybe it's the same for you. Don't do this by yourself!