Having attended the University of California, Los Angeles for my first degree, I was initially drawn to Oregon Health & Science University for its reputation as one of the nation’s leading medical institutions. Upon the completion of my undergraduate career, I explored avenues in nursing-related research that worked mostly with underserved populations. OHSU’s outstanding research accomplishments pushed me to apply to its School of Nursing.
Being from Honolulu, Hawaii, I was initially hesitant to attend OHSU because I had never been so far removed from the comfort of family or friends (or the ocean). However, I ultimately chose OHSU because of my interview experience; I was especially impressed with the admission committee’s emphasis on working with the underserved. In my own life, I have undergone a range of meaningful experiences that have empowered me with the sensitivity to better understand the structural causes of health disparities. I have made it a priority to maintain this social awareness in a way that prioritises a balance between professional growth and personal health. OHSU wants to help its students maintain this balance. Students are given a plethora of resources that promote self-care and personal attentiveness. There are meditation rooms, student lounges stocked with coffee and tea, counseling services and even a light therapy room – all places where students can give themselves “personal attention.”
On a smaller scale, it is quite comforting to be able to walk through the halls of OHSU and be greeted with familiar faces and kind smiles; as an island girl, it makes my transition to the mainland not as intimidating and so much easier. The smaller university setting provides the opportunity for the cultivation of genuine relationships between the instructors and their students. Here, professors know your name, and questions are not considered a nuisance or a disruption during class time. OHSU gives students the opportunity to develop quality connections with clinical instructors and academic advisers because the small student-to-faculty ratio provides faculty with the space to be attentive to each student’s individual needs.
My feelings may be best encapsulated through a quote from the film, Lilo and Stitch. Lilo reminds us, “Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.” In Hawaii, your ohana means everything, and I am so eternally grateful to be a part of the OHSU ohana, because boy, we sure do stick together!
(excerpted from the original blog post found at Times Higher Education)