For those of you still in school, congrats on nearly finishing this Fall semester and best of luck on your upcoming finals! And for the alumni reading this, I hope all is well in whatever post-academic endeavors you are pursuing and look forward to hopefully catching up with you soon!
Just a little bit about myself for those of you who don’t know me: I’m Andi Hess, a 2012 Tech Terry from Muenster, TX. I graduated in May 2016 with a Bachelor’s in Nutrition, studied abroad in the Seville, Spain in Spring 2015, and am currently a second-year medical student at TTUHSC (Wreck ‘em Round 2). I have been extremely blessed during my time at Texas Tech, making it possible for me to be where I am today. The advice I hope to share with you all is some that I’ve learned over the past six years from incredible mentors, wise professors, supportive friends and family members, and oftentimes, from the you-live-and-you-learn moments. And while my previous experiences are mainly focused in medicine, I hope this information is valuable and applicable to all of you, whether it be geared toward your success in school, your transition into adulthood, or just advice to carry through life to be as happy and prosperous as possible.
1) There is always the opportunity to learn in everything you do. For a long time, I thought going to school was the only place I went to “learn” anything – statistics, biology, world geography, you name it. But then I met someone who used every opportunity to learn something new, and I realized I had been missing out on tons of experiences right before my eyes. Whether it’s reading a newspaper article or fiction book or gossip column, carrying on a quick conversation with a Market Street cashier, or observing an interaction between others close by, there is something to gain from any experience that will leave you wiser or more knowledgeable.
For example, because I’m in medical school and because I have a ridiculous love for Grey’s Anatomy (I know, I know), I look up diseases or symptoms they mention in the show that I’d like to learn more about. While it has nothing to do with the dramatic (and often inaccurate) scenes on the TV, it leaves me with newfound knowledge that may one day come in handy on a test or in my practice. I like to find 3 instances per day where I can practice learning more from seemingly casual interactions like this. Try it for yourself, and by the end of the week you will have learned 21 new things!
2) Leave others better than you found them. Just a general rule of thumb, pretty similar to the Golden Rule they taught us as toddlers – treat others as you would like to be treated. Depending on the situation, “better” could mean healthier, happier, more knowledgeable, relieved or relaxed, etc. And by “leave others” I don’t mean walk out of their lives forever, but leave every interaction with this mentality. Even just smiling while walking past a sad stranger could brighten his or her day.
I like to use this one while networking. I’m pretty sure networking isn’t supposed to be a one-way road where one gains something without also giving something. And while your contribution may not be as significant while you’re still working your way up through school or a new job and gaining mentors, finding employers, and/or creating opportunities for yourself, you can go into every networking opportunity with a positive attitude, thoughtful insight, impressive work ethic, and unique experiences that makes the person on the other end walk away glad to have met you, interacted with you, mentored/employed you, etc. And one day when you are the mentor or employer, you will be able to make those bigger, life-changing contributions for others.
3) People may be smarter or more naturally gifted than you, but no one has to work harder than you. This is something my parents taught me from a young age that a fellow 2012 Tech Terry so appropriately put into words. I used to get so frustrated in college when I would study for hours and hours and do as well as someone I knew spent less time or effort studying, or when I worked so hard toward something that I felt was just handed to someone else. But I was way better off when I finally accepted that sometimes life is unfair. There will always be people who don’t have to study as much, or work as hard, or get credit when credit isn’t due. Instead of getting frustrated or wanting to take shortcuts because you feel gypped, direct that energy into motivation to work harder and be better, and I promise that in the end, it will pay off. Employers, at least good ones, will always prefer a hard worker to a naturally gifted individual because when the going gets tough, the tough get going – and that’s you, my friends.
4) Write down 10 things that bring you pure and total joy and incorporate 3 of those things into each day. As mentioned above, there will be times when the going gets tough, but use these things that bring you happiness to power through. Some of my favorite things include Facetiming my niece and nephew, talking to my parents on the phone, spending time with my siblings, going hiking at Palo Duro Canyon, getting together with friends, helping out in the OR, and cracking jokes with the little kiddos in the hospital (because they’re the only ones who think my jokes are funny). What are some of yours?
5) Never forget where you came from or who helped you get there. Probably my biggest takeaway from this post. When you finally get where you’re going, I hope you can look back and remember all the people who helped make it possible – your family, friends, significant other, teammates, coaches, classmates, colleagues, and undoubtedly the Terry Foundation. Lean on these people for support, get their advice, learn from their experiences, thank them for their support, never take them for granted, and always give back to them when you can.
Safe travels and Happy Holidays, yall! Terry love,
P.S. My whole goal of this blog post was to give advice to pre-medical students, but I got carried away. So, if you have any pre-med, medical school, or medicine-related questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org