While touring colleges, I immediately fell in love with GVSU. My first visit was in the summer and the campus wasn’t as busy, but there were still multiple students and professors who asked us if we needed help finding anything. When I returned for my “official” tour, my mom and I wanted to see what the campus life was like outside of the brochures, so we went to a Laker basketball game. Again, students greeted us, and one of them offered us extra tickets.
I knew it was the place for me and it was the only school I applied to. While I contemplated applying for the Honors College, I sent an email to a student I found on the Honors College office website. She wrote me back quickly and was incredibly friendly. Ultimately, she solidified my choice in attending the Honors College at GVSU.
At the Honors College orientation, I met a girl named Katie. Little did I know, Katie would end up being my “blind” roommate that fall, the Maid of Honor in my wedding six years later and my lifelong best friend. I also met other Honors students that I would eat lunch with at Kleiner and dinner with at Fresh Food. We would have study parties in the hall and play video games in the common areas. We would go bowling, pick apples or go to midnight showings of Harry Potter. These are great memories that I have of developing my identity, learning life skills and making lifelong friends.
From an education standpoint, the Honors College allowed me to achieve my dreams more efficiently. I was able to complete my undergraduate credits in 3 years and begin Physician Assistant (PA) school my senior year. This allowed me to complete my Masters degree and graduate as a PA one year early. My classes encouraged higher level thinking skills that I continue to use today. It also helped me to learn to set high standards for myself and I used those skills to push myself by presenting at the PA statewide conference this fall. My senior project involved doing research on an antibiotic resistant bacteria and its impact on the healthcare system, which I continue to encounter in practice today.
It’s hard to summarize my experience at GVSU’s Honors College. I grew both personally and intellectually. I am so thankful that was the path I chose to further my education as I am happily employed at my dream job and love being a physician assistant.
Elizabeth Harris grew up in Clarkston, MI and began attending GVSU in Fall 2005. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biomedical Sciences in 2009 and received her Master’s of Physician Assistant Studies in 2011. She is currently a Physician Assistant at an Internal Medicine/Pediatrics office at Spectrum Health Medical Group. She resides in Grand Rapids and is married to another GVSU alum.