Meet the Bloggers
By Andrew Petryna
How many melancholy short biographies have you read that were written by academically confused undergrad students still fumbling through the world of Organic Chemistry and Physics? Add another tally to the count because you’re about to meet Andrew Petryna. I am a second year student in the Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences. Like many students on the pre-med track, I am double majoring in two things that I was told would help me on the MCATs— Psychology and Biological Sciences. My life, both academically and personally, has been rather unremarkable and free of any serious adversity, but I will do my best to present myself as the interesting person I would like you to believe I am.
I grew up in the town of Bridgewater in Central New Jersey, where the schools are excellent, the fences are nice and picketed, and the pressure to succeed socio-economically is only slightly above-average. Like many AP-class students before me, I graduated with decent grades and a formidable SAT score. Having grown up in New Jersey, and my sister having attended before me, I was all but destined to land at Rutgers University. On the first day of classes in September 2017, I set foot on campus as a commuter, having never visited the place before. Eventually, I found my way to a General Psychology class, where the professor posted an application for a research opportunity in the Rutgers Graduate School of Applied Psychology. Despite my lack of previous research experience, I was accepted into the lab of Dr. Elisa Shernoff, who is working on the creation of a professional development program for teachers in high poverty schools. I am fortunate enough to be working in her lab and I hope to for as long as I can!
Among my many vices is a desire to write prolifically and didactically. I have always loved to play a part in the spreading of information to as many people as possible, since I (and many other nerds) subscribe to the notion of “knowledge being power”. This desire has manifested itself in a position as a Correspondent Writer for the Daily Targum student newspaper at Rutgers. Though I do not intend to make a career out of journalism, writing serves as one of the few sources of taking pride in what I create.
I spent my first year rather dazed and confused about the whole college experience, but now I think I’m getting the hang of it. I have a steady position in the lab of a respected Professor, I am, despite my best efforts, making friends, and I have convinced myself that I have my academic and degree plans all figured out. A few life lessons learned in 9 months of college schooling include: just like me, most people aren’t 100% sure of what they’re doing or why they’re doing it; that the professional world is not nearly as intimidating as it seems; and that there is an amount of opportunity beyond what I could have imagined to lead a successful and fulfilling career in science.
Despite my college career taking root in psychology and journalism, I hope to eventually pursue an MD/MBA through a dual degree med-school program. In my opinion, a medical doctor is in the most optimal position to help those around them and make a positive net-change on the world. At the same time, a businessperson is in the best position to achieve whatever it is they seek. What I seek is the ability to effect change. Medicine is an admirable profession, but healthcare is a ruthless business. I see many issues in the healthcare system and hope to one day be able to tackle some of the issues and injustices that plague people and their health. After practicing for some years, I hope to move onto a more administrative role; directorships in hospitals, positions on boards, and entrepreneurship opportunities are all paths that become available with an MD/MBA. Business and Medicine are two incredibly powerful fields that when combined, can serve as the basis for an impressive legacy that I hope will make me worth mentioning even when I’m gone.
iJOBS allows students to explore many aspects of medicine and science, including the business involved in both. Being able to learn from industry veterans with years of knowledge and experience would be incredibly rewarding for my future career goals. This program is a great way to get my foot in the door in the world of professional science and will also allow me to see the role that PhDs play. Going forward, I hope to be able to share my own experiences with others in the field of medicine. Though I am almost comically underqualified to do such a thing at this point, I hope that the effort that I put into iJOBS can provide insight to those on a career path similar to mine, and that we might all revel in the mysterious and exhilarating world of medicine and research.
Edits and contributions to this post were made by Paulina Krzyszczyk and Aminat Saliu Musah