Three lifelong friends from Branson, Missouri, US, have begun the next exciting part of their lives together at St. George’s University’ MD program. Childhood friends Maggie Givens, Joe Keller, and Alec Zimmer feel lucky to have all started their medical education together at St. George’s University this fall.
Ms. Givens was the first of the trio to discover SGU. She visited the campus to help her decide, a choice that assisted in selecting SGU over the other schools to which she was accepted. For Ms. Givens, Grenada was undeniably different than her hometown, which is located on the border of Arkansas and inhabits about 10,000 people.
“As an athlete, I’ve learned that when you get outside your comfort zone, that is when the best things happen to you,” she said.
Although she briefed her friends , they decided to conduct their own research before applying. Mr. Zimmer sought the mentorship of his career counselor at school while Mr. Keller consulted St. George’s University graduates. Each was accepted, and upon their arrival, they were especially impressed by the school’s diversity.
“It’s very comforting to be able to learn alongside so many different ways of thinking, moral codes, and belief systems,” Mr. Zimmer said. “Being on a campus that is this diverse is definitely going to shape and change us for the better.”
“The student body is different from anything I’ve experienced before; everyone is nice and seems almost eager to help and be your friend,” added Mr. Keller. “This experience is a big culture shock for me, and every day I seem to learn something new and fun about the university and the island.”
They have been drawn to medicine for different reasons, and after graduating from SGU, they expect to follow different career paths. Mr. Zimmer, whose mom works in the health care field, was inspired by volunteer doctors at a local camp. “I fell in love with that lifestyle and my passion has grown since then,” he said. He has not settled on a specific career in medicine, but looks forward to seeing what field he is naturally drawn to during his studies.
As the daughter of a urologist and a nurse anesthetist, Ms. Givens has long known she wanted to pursue a medical career herself. “I grew up seeing what they did, how it impacted the community, and how rewarding of a career it is,” she said. Ms. Givens is considering a career in internal medicine or family practice but, like Mr. Zimmer, plans to keep an open mind.
“I have seen health care from both sides,” said Mr. Keller, who aspires to become an endocrinologist. “I worked in hospitals as a phlebotomist, lab technician, and volunteer, but I’ve also been a patient, and have seen subpar patient care. I hope to make a difference and to be able to make a positive impact on people’s lives.”
They have all turned to SGU to provide a sturdy foundation for their careers in medicine, and they’re happy to have each other along for the ride.
“We’ve been friends for a really long time, but this experience has really brought us closer together,” said Alec. “Despite the stresses of school, our friendship is carefree and full of fun and laughter, which is the perfect kind of dynamic to complement the challenge we’re going to be facing over the next few years.”