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The Role of My Grandmother in My Decision to Study Biology

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I wrestled with the idea a lot. I’ve always been interested in science and wanted a job where I could help others. Eventually I chose to major in Biology, Society, and Environment (BSE) because of my grandmother. She was often sick when I was growing up. She had difficulty swallowing certain foods and sleeping. She used to watch her shows every afternoon and laugh loud enough for the whole house to hear because one of the characters on Seinfield said something ridiculous or did something funny. I was finishing up highschool when she moved from her house into a nursing facility. Thinking back, I would often bring her a shoebox full of her medications after she finished watching her shows, waking up, or eating. I didn’t know any better, but at that time I wanted to help people like her by knowing everything about these strange little pills and heavy bottles. The excitement and the confusion from trying to read the big words on those bottles fueled me to discover more. And as I asked questions, I would answer some of them. Yet, there were still questions that I wasn’t able to answer and required me to dig deeper into the world of biology. And once I immersed myself in the world of biology, there was no going back.

I mean, what could possibly be more interesting than the study of life itself? You need to know some biology whether you’re interested in the mechanisms that allow the human body to work, discovering a cure for a disease, or wondering where we came from or what effect humans have on the planet. As I watch my grandmother eat her lunch, I learn on a superficial level how her cells will eventually metabolize the banana in order to provide the energy she needs. I think about all the things on earth and their different abilities that help them survive, and realize there’s really no difference between someone like grandma and Elaine (character from Seinfeld). Okay, maybe just a couple of small differences. This understanding pushes me to learn and grow. I hope to continue my studies on the relevance of biological sciences and its relations to social, environmental, or health-related problems at the University of Minnesota. It’s the first thing I’ve cared about in a long time since I know it’s the only important thing for my future.

To this day I still make it my personal goal to continue immersing myself into the world of biology and answer the unanswered questions. Thus, BSE was a perfect fit for me as I would be able to learn valuable knowledge, gain a better understanding in the sciences, and become the first in my family to practice in healthcare. I owe it all to my grandmother. I’m glad that I decided to major in BSE. It’s great to be able to study biological sciences along with social sciences and still have the freedom to customize my major as my interests evolve and change.

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