A Reflection from a Brand New Medical Student

On Monday, 104 excited, albeit anxious, students woke up, got dressed, and headed out their doors, off to medical school orientation. As one of those lucky students, thinking about starting medical school brings a range of emotions: from ecstatic, to overwhelmed, to nervous and many more in-between.

For me, although this is the beginning, in a lot of ways, it is also the end. This is the end of the road which lead me to my acceptance here and I did not traverse this road without sacrifice. Sacrifice both from my own life, and from the lives of those who have been so gracious to support my dream.

Over the past few years, I have completed my undergraduate degree, I have taken the MCAT, I have interviewed and I have been granted a seat in the Class of 2020. I drove over 700 miles from Buffalo, New York to relocate and attend the USC School of Medicine Greenville. I moved away from my family, my friends, a job I loved, as well as the comfort and security of my hometown. Even apart from the challenges of starting medical school, I am facing the challenges of learning new directions, finding which box holds my blender, constantly meeting new people and having to do things on my own. Today I even had to kill a cockroach in my kitchen. Although that might seem like a small incident, let me tell you: there are no cockroaches in Buffalo, New York. It was mortifying.

The habitual is not on my side; I have no normal yet. This is my new typical and it is taking some getting used to. As I sit at the end of this road, I can look back and see how far I have come, how much I have learned along the way. The road looking back is familiar, it is comfortable and I have learned to walk well on it. But if I take the time to look forward instead of backwards, I can see the bridge urging me on. The next road, although challenging and long, is leading me to my objective. And although daunting, I am ready to accept the end of one road for the sake of starting my new beginning.

Was the road getting here long? Absolutely. Is it sad to experience all the endings? Of course. Will this next chapter be even harder? Possibly. Will I sometimes doubt if it is all worth it? Probably.

But at the end of the day, I remember why I am here. I have dreamed, I have worked, I have studied, I have sacrificed, all to get me to where I am today. I have wanted to attend medical school since I was 16 years old, and here, almost 8 years later, I am finally about to embark on the journey that is medical school. I am here because here, at the USC School of Medicine Greenville, I will obtain the education and training I need to be an excellent physician.

I know that someday in the future, when I stand at the end of this road, I will be forever grateful I chose to step off my old path, through the scariness of change, over the bridge and onto the road of my dreams. Despite each of our journeys looking different, I am sure each member of my class would agree: USCSOMG Class of 2020, ready or not, here we come.


Leanne Brechtel

I am originally from Buffalo, New York where I grew up eating real chicken wings, watching the Buffalo Bills, working as a barista and shoveling four feet of snow off my driveway each morning. I moved down south in 2013 to attend North Greenville University where I obtained a degree in biology with a focus on environmental studies. During my time at NGU I gained both a passion for health care and a love for the community of Greenville. So when I decided to attend medical school, it was no question that USCSOMG was my top choice. I am stoked to be beginning my journey to become a physician as a member of the Class of 2020.

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  • Liz Lockwood - 4 years ago

    I love you and reading this Laan!!!!

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