Major: Biology Hometown: Toledo, Ohio Currently: Third-year medical student, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences
St. Bonaventure prepares students for the rigors of medical school.
As an undergraduate at SBU, Kevin Okapal managed the demands of a pre-med program and the demands of being a Division 1 athlete.
“I did play soccer and I was in pre-med. One of the great things was the soccer coach: He knew what my goals were, what my aspirations were. If I was going to practices at different times or just skipping a couple scrimmages or games, he was willing to work with me,” Okapal said.
Choosing the St. Bonaventure-George Washington combined degree program was “one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” Okapal said.
“You’re able to get a first-class education, you have teachers that know your first name, they know lots of things about you,” he said. Okapal felt that the transition from being an undergraduate in Western New York to being a medical student in the nation’s capital was a smooth one.
“I think Bonaventure laid a very good foundation, so through the first and second years we just build upon that foundation and then the third and fourth years you’re able to … apply that knowledge and apply that to patients,” he said.
Participating in Olean General Hospital’s Experience in Clinical Medicine at Bona’s gave Okapal a behind-the-scenes look at a community hospital and reinforced his career plans.
“At Olean General Hospital it was a pretty good introduction to what we’re doing now on the wards. You’re able to follow different attendings around, different specialties, maybe see what you want to do in the future and get a better sense. For me it really confirmed again that I wanted to go into this area,” he said.
The third-year student at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences is approaching each of his rotations open-minded, considering each of the fields as a potential specialty.
“The good thing about third year is you’re going on about six different rotations: You get to see what your life would be if you chose that specialty,” he said.
Regardless of the medical specialty he chooses, Okapal knows what kind of doctor he wants to be.
“I just hope to be a doctor that patients can appreciate,” he said. “I feel that everything about the field of medicine — from how complex some problems are to how much you can help a patient the next day in a quick turnaround — is very satisfying.”
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