Vidhi Patel’s passion is serving and supporting others. A junior cellular biology major, she is serving as an orientation leader this summer to welcome first-year and transfer students to UGA. A cellular biology major from Athens, she plans to attend medical school or work in a people-based career in health care.
B.S. cellular biology
- UGA Orientation Leader
- Newborn hearing screener at St. Mary’s/Piedmont Athens Regional
- Peer Learning Assistant
Where have you interned/what have you learned?
From high school throughout my transition into college, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta was a place that I always went back to. Interning at Children’s and having the opportunity to shadow doctors, watch surgeries and interact with patients firsthand was a wholly transformative experience. This helped develop some of the innate skills that I already possessed. I learned a great deal about humility through my interactions with the patients — witnessing them championing through their treatments during their stay at the hospital. The sense of purpose and communication that stuck with me from the doctors and nurses I worked with showed the multitude of qualities as well as personnel needed for the success of the community that is Children’s.
What are your top UGA highlights?
- Orientation before even arriving in the fall was a highlight I will always remember. The friends that I made so quickly at orientation unknowingly gave me a glimpse into the community that I needed at UGA. The people who I had met just that morning had created one of my very first memories as an official UGA student, and these once strangers have grown to become a part of my support system.
- The Notre Dame game at Sanford Stadium has been one of my most memorable football games. I will never forget that feeling during “Krypton” when the stadium was brightly lit with red lights, and I was standing with my friends, living an experience that would come to hold so much meaning in my college journey.
- Being able to serve as an orientation leader with a family of 15 of the best student leaders on campus, and two of the best bosses and support systems that I could ask for has been an amazing experience already. Welcoming first-years and transfers, being able to listen to each of the stories of the students we meet and supporting them through this transition has been beyond fulfilling. This summer will always have a special place in my heart as I build stronger relationships and fully invest in this experience. I can already see the personal growth this summer has brought about only a third of the way in, and I am so excited to continue this journey.
- Induction into Arch Society.
How did you decide to come to UGA?
Two weeks before college was about to begin, I was full-heartedly planning on attending another university when I had a sudden change of heart. I decided that UGA was the right decision for me and completely switched gears. I wanted to invest in myself beyond the classroom and find a community that would support me through it all. My college experience so far has been more than I could have asked for, thanks to the experiences I’ve lived and the relationships I’ve built.
How did you choose your major?
Understanding as well as studying biology in a more detailed scope has always interested me. I can explore my interests in research, clinical studies and science at a cellular level. I can learn about vaccine development, how things live, and the life cycle down to a microscopic level. Majoring in cellular biology has allowed me to dig deeper into the cellular level of biology while pursuing my physiological and anatomical interests within the classroom setting.
What is your favorite class that you’ve taken?
Sociology. I took this class this past semester and it was the first class that I took outside of my major. Being the talkative, extroverted person I am, I wanted to learn more about people, their behaviors, and the reasoning behind their actions. This class has allowed me to be more intentional in my personal relationships while simultaneously gaining a different perspective on my mannerisms and interactions. Taking this intro level course has led me to be interested in pursuing a minor or potentially a second degree in sociology. As I take more sociology courses, I grow even more excited to facilitate change in the communities I occupy regarding the social issues that impact peoples’ lives.
What is your favorite places to study?
This year I developed a steady rotation of three study locations: Driftmier, College Square and the Main Library. The study rooms and the fourth floor of the Main Library are a place that I frequent when I need a quiet space to myself in between classes or at the end of the day. The first floor of Driftmier has been a great resource, especially when I want to pull all-nighters. College Square has become one of my favorite additions to the downtown Athens area. With some good weather and the local coffee shops all around, it’s essentially the perfect place to study or just catch up with friends.
What has surprised you about UGA?
Coming to UGA, the supportive community and the vast number of opportunities for students to succeed beyond the classroom surprised me. I came in slightly overwhelmed and worried if I was going to find people for me. The community and support system that I found at UGA inspired me to apply to be an orientation leader, to give back and foster that safe and welcoming environment that supports new students’ accomplishments, strengths and struggles.
What is your passion and how are you committed to pursuing it?
My passion lies in serving and supporting others. Uplifting one another is the best way to inspire innovation and success, and I believe that there is so much to a person beyond what one learns from surface-level interactions. I have always been dedicated to pursuing interpersonal relationships while pushing for an impact within a community. I have come to realize my passions don’t necessarily have to correlate with my goals or career ideals, but I love the idea that I can change communities while also caring for each individual relationship. When attempting to discover my passions, it was very easy for me to lean on my career goals, and rely on my career to fulfill my passions. But eventually, I came to understand that my passion enveloped anything that I pursued in life where I could show people that they are worthy enough as themselves. My commitment comes down to making an impact on a bigger scale while recognizing the unique, distinct and powerful lived experiences of every individual.
What are your plans for after graduation?
I plan to take a gap year and work in a hospital abroad prior to attending medical school here in the U.S. and pursue a career as a physician. Alternatively, I am also considering attending a master’s program in health care administration in a major city and working on the administrative side of a hospital to have a more relational and people-based career in health care. I am allowing myself to fully embrace this summer as an orientation leader and see what this growth leads me to.
I #CommitTo: supporting growth and acceptance in myself and the people around me.