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Elizabeth Torres

Student who just graduated and majored in Psychology with minors in both biology and chemistry and is taking some gap time prior to applying to med school. 

Striving & Thriving at VCU talks to Elizabeth about why she chose her major, what her favorite course was, and what she hopes to achieve in the next 5 years.

 

An interview with Elizabeth

Why did you choose your major?

I loved my psych 101 class; it was the first class I took in college. I’ve always been really into human behavior. It’s also just helped me with my relationships with family, figure out why we do what we do, and I think it’ll make me a better doctor in the long run.

What does it mean to you to be a student in STEM?

To me, it means that you’re going to use what you learn in these fields to make something productive that helps society. Whether it’s research, practitioner, designing new products, teaching, etc. You’re encouraging people who might not have traditionally gone into this field in the first place. It’s not easy, but it’s not out of reach either, you just have to put your mind to it.

What has been your experience as a minoritized student in STEM?

I used to think I was at a disadvantage, but I’m trying to change my way of viewing it now. It was hard, I don’t really have anyone in my family that has gone through what I’m going through. I didn’t know how to study for organic chemistry, or physics, or all of these upper-level bio classes that are super intense. Before I would think I was at a disadvantage but really it is what it is. I’m only at a disadvantage if I put myself in that negative headspace. I try to think that it isn’t always ideal, and I wish I had someone there for me to tell me tips and tricks. But, my classmates and friends I’ve made in STEM classes, we all help each other. The professors are helpful, and they want to see you succeed as long as you show you’re willing to try.

What was your favorite course?

I think it is a tie between genetics and organic chemistry. For genetics, it was so intense and so much work but, in the end, when I got an A it made me feel so proud of myself. It made me feel like I could handle this class and anything that was coming my way in the future. I worked hard and got the grade that I wanted from this class.

What do you hope to achieve in the next 5+ years?

I hope to graduate from med school. I hope to get into the residency that I want. My ultimate goal as a doctor is to have my own practice, that’s really my dream. I like to be in control, and I don’t really want to work for someone, I want to be my own boss. I want the standards that I set to be there for my staff, and I want to provide the most excellent service for our patients. We wouldn’t even have a job if it weren’t for our patients. It’s such a privilege to do this kind of work, it’s not work that you take lightly. This is a person’s life and health that you are dealing with, you take it very seriously. You have to be responsible and realize the power you have in your job. That’s why I want that kind of control. If I’m the boss, no one is going to mess around and treat patients poorly.