By: Peer Career Coach Maira Zamir

Evelyn Thomas graduated in 2017 with an undergraduate degree in BioChemistry from Illinois Tech. She is currently in her fourth year of medical school at Western University of Health Sciences. I asked her some questions about her time here at IIT which she kindly shared with me below:

What is the greatest lesson you learned during your time as a student at IIT?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. From anyone. No matter how intimidating people may seem. If you don’t try asking for their help, you will never know what they can offer to help make your life easier/better.

Did you have an internship in your undergrad? If so, what advice do you have for people who will be interning or doing co-op in the future?

I was a pre-med so I did a lot of volunteer work at hospitals and doctors offices. Seek out opportunities no matter how daunting they may seem. If someone offers you a position, even if you personally don’t think you are qualified, don’t turn it down. You will learn the skills needed to get through the task. It might be hard at first, and you may get embarrassed by your mistakes, but if you don’t try out new opportunities, you’ll never learn the skills you will need to get you through the next chapter of your life. And you never know where that opportunity will take you next.

What is one major thing you learned when you stepped into the professional world after graduating?
Do everything to the best of your abilities, with honor, integrity, and professionalism. You will be surprised by how there may be a lack of these qualities in the real world, but unfortunately, you will run into instances where you may encounter the lack of such behaviors. Displaying these qualities will make you a more reliable, trustworthy, and respected peer/colleague. Remember, being respected and being liked are not necessarily synonymous.

How did you land your first job?
I am in med school now! getting to med school takes a lot of hard work. I had to make a lot of sacrifices throughout college, i.e. I had less free time to do fun things because I knew that personally I had to use that time to study instead or doing extra-curricular activities that would make me a better candidate for med school. Others may not have needed to make similar sacrifices. Everyone has their own path.

What advice would you give to graduates of 2020?

Don’t let being an underdog in a situation prevent you from seeking out opportunities to fulfill a life goal or dream that you have. You may fail once, twice, thrice, but if it’s something that you are truly passionate about, don’t give up. Keep working towards that dream. If it was meant to be, your hard work will pay off. And if you keep trying and things don’t work out, don’t think of it as wasted time. That time was spent learning who you are as a person and developing qualities, hopefully for the better, that make you, you.

Alumni Spotlight: Evelyn Thomas