Saajidha Rizvydeen '12
Area(s) of Study
Major in Biology and Minor in Chemistry
Pediatric Resident Physician
Children's Hospital of Illinois
What made you choose Lake Forest College?
I was attracted to the academic rigor and the small class sizes. I visited campus while in high school and remembered how welcoming the faculty were and how well they knew their students. Lake Forest College was also very generous with their financial aid and I was able to attend on a four-year full tuition scholarship.
How did a liberal arts education make a difference for you?
The greatest gift of a strong liberal arts education is that it equips you with the skills you need to cultivate and sustain your curiosity. Being required to take classes in various fields of study allowed me to stretch my mind and question my understanding in a structured way that I continue to use whenever I am exposed to something unfamiliar.
What experiences outside of the classroom do you think helped prepare you for DO school?
My experiences as editor of Eukaryon and other leadership positions gave me invaluable skills in team work and time management that served me well in medical school. It strengthened my ability to work as a productive team member and to communicate effectively. My participation in volunteer organizations like CircleK allowed me to nurture my interest in community service, an interest that I was able to sustain through my training until this day.
How did your time at Lake Forest help you prepare to apply to DO school programs?
Firstly, the health professions committee at Lake Forest was an invaluable asset when I was going through the application process to medical school. The committee was always able to provide individualized guidance and wrote strong letters of recommendation because of how well they knew me as a student. Secondly, the rigor of some of the classes I took while at Lake Forest College gave me the platform to practice my study skills and understand what kind of learner I was. When I was faced with challenging material in medical school, I had the advantage of relying on the skills I had already developed in college to succeed. I also realized that because of the close and positive relationships I had with professors in college, I was less intimidated to recognize my limits and ask for help in medical school when I needed it.
What do you think of the new Health Professions Program between LFC and RFU?
The Health Professions Program is such an incredible resource for those interested in exploring healthcare professions. The structure and amazing opportunities for hands-on learning are invaluable. This partnership adds to the already strong relationship between LFC and RFU and I am excited to hear how the program grows!
What skills and experiences at Lake Forest do you believe will help you be successful?
From my experiences in the Kirk Lab to presenting at prestigious conferences, I did not realize how unique the emphasis on scientific research at Lake Forest College was until I went onto medical school and residency. To be able to graduate as an undergrad with the knowledge and comfort to design a science research poster or to write a manuscript or grant proposal is a skill that I continue to value to this day.
What advice would you give a high school student looking to pursue pre-health and is considering Lake Forest College?
I truly believe that LFC provides the diverse and nourishing learning environment to grow and sustain any interest. Meet with your advisor early and communicate all of what you hope to include in your college experience. If they know that you would like to study abroad or participate in varsity sports while you're on the pre-health track, they will work with you to create a plan that will set you up for success. Also, seek out opportunities that will not only confirm your interest in your chosen field of study, but will also allow you to broaden your interests.