Young was eager to start her first day of EMT school, even though her name was misspelled. Photo Courtesy of Grace Young
While many Americans hunkered down during the pandemic, Menlo alumna Grace Young (‘18) signed up for an Emergency Medical Technician course. After getting sent home from the University of Michigan for COVID-19 in 2020, Young hoped to have an in-person internship that summer; when that turned asynchronous, she found the Bay Area Training Academy’s EMT classes.
Young studied on the pre-med track at Michigan, so becoming an EMT provided the perfect way to get involved with the community during the pandemic. “I know other people are afraid of COVID, and I want to be able to help them through this difficult time. Once I got [EMT] certified, [Michigan’s] classes were online for my junior year,” Young said. “I moved back to Ann Arbor and started working at a company called Rapid Response in Romulus, Michigan, which is in the Detroit metro area.”
In her year working for Rapid Response, Young had to balance her EMT shifts with her college course load. “I started working there only part time, so I was just doing two days a week while doing my classes,” she explained. “Since my classes were asynchronous, I was able to do my two 12-hour shifts and then [make up] my classes that were that day on a different day.”
Young grew to love the relationships that the front lines fostered between her and her coworkers that helped her get through grueling shifts. “Everyone that I met was incredibly supportive. I felt like I could talk to all the members of my team and that they would be willing to sit down and talk with me,” Young said.
COVID-19 stretched resources thin, so Young directed her efforts towards forgotten community members. “There’s something about being able to be there for someone on the worst day of their life. There’s people that are really terrified, and they need someone to talk to,” Young recounted. “The nursing homes, especially in some of the poorer areas of Detroit, the nurses were trying their best, but they were completely understaffed.”
When classes turned off their Zoom monitors and moved back to campus, Young hung up her EMT uniform and donned her backpack full time again, but her medical experiences stuck with her. “It’s not just about knowing what to do, and there’s some people that didn’t necessarily [need] medical intervention, but there’s a lot of people that really benefit from having someone talk to them,” Young said. “Being able to connect with patients and hopefully brighten their day a little bit is something that I definitely learned.”
After graduating from Michigan in 2022, Young is currently taking a gap year as she applies to medical schools. Over the summer, Young labored over her medical school applications, traveled and got accepted into the Semester at Sea program — where college students study abroad while sailing the world.
Young values how Michigan prepared her to take the Medical College Admission Test with its expansive pre-med program. “I think my classes prepared me for the MCAT, […] I certainly felt really prepared and did very well,” Young said. “There was nothing I had to relearn, I had already been taught all of it in my classes at Michigan.”
Menlo’s rigorous course offerings also gave Young a head start as soon as she enrolled in Michigan. “After Menlo, I was definitely academically prepared, but I was not socially prepared at all,” Young said. “Menlo encouraged me to sign up for harder classes, and I was definitely prepared to just jump right in; I also came into college with a lot of AP credits.”
Young also shared some advice to any prospective pre-med students. “If people are interested in medicine, I would say [my] number one [advice] is to get exposure early so that you have a really good idea of what you’re getting into because it is difficult to balance,” Young said. “But, if you know why you want it, then it makes it easier to find time for those things.”
Outside medical experience, Young emphasized that pre-med students should get involved with their communities. “Get involved with volunteering because there are a lot of lessons that you will learn while volunteering that translate very well into your medical school application and beyond,” she said.
Young wants to help current students with their aspirations. “If there’s anyone at Menlo who’s interested in that career path, I’d be more than happy to talk to them specifically about it.”
Writer’s Note: If you are looking for an alumni mentor, search through Menlo Connect, a networking site exclusively targeted towards the Menlo community.
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