This Sunday, after enjoying all the fun homecoming activities, I had the opportunity to sit and chat with the amazing Haley Ochs. Haley shared with Her Campus a little bit about her experience while doing research for the past two years. Also, she described major aspects about her current job in Trinity Hospital as a Medical Scribe. As well she reflects how changing her major help her realize the importance of self-care during college. Haley is a junior from Olney, Illinois who is majoring in Biology, with a focus in Pre-Medicine, and minoring in Biochemistry. Her involvement at Augustana includes Chi Alpha Pi social sorority, Camp Kesem, and Harry Potter Alliance. She is also a barista in Brew by the Slough and an Organic Chemistry tutor and proctor.
Tell us a little bit more about your research…
When I was a freshman, during Organic Chemistry, they have this program in which they pick students through an application process in order to do research with the Chemistry and Biochemistry professors. I applied and I ended up working with Dr. Jensen. Our research was focused in a compound that could possibly be used in different types of medicine. Also, the main focus of Dr. Jensen’s research was coming out with a simple experience for Organic Chemistry students so that students could understand and easily find the product of difficult Organic Chemistry technicalities.
When I was a Sophomore, I started doing research with Dr. Trotter from the Biochemistry department. We did research on this type of yeast that metabolizes fat cells, usually, you would think that yeast metabolizes carbohydrates. We were looking for ways in which we may use this as a model for future research in obesity.
What was your biggest takeout from both research experiences?
Probably just discipline because honestly, doing research can be very slow and monotonous so you have to stay there and put time on it in order to make things happen, otherwise you will not get any result.
Recently you decided to change your major. How would you relate this to prioritizing self-care and mental while in college?
I am working a lot this year, almost full time. When I was a Biochemistry major, I had to do a lot of math and I had to dedicate a lot of time to it because I do not have a math brain. Because I have been working so much and having other college-level courses I could not focus almost all my time to do physics and calculus. I was not doing too hot, so I realized that this was ruining my GPA and making me crazy; also, it was not going to look good on my profile when I applied other schools if I tried to continue having this lifestyle. Eventually, this was not healthy for me, so I thought it was best for my mental health to stop and change my major into Biology because I knew I could do that and be sane.
I think it is important that everyone should take into consideration what they are doing to themselves with their majors. Grades are important but they are not more important than your health.
How do you feel after experiencing this transition?
At first, I was a little sad because I really loved my Biochemistry advisor, but I noticed that I am personally happy right now after the change. I have more time to focus on me and to take time for myself which I did not have before.
Regarding your professional experience, tell us about your current job…
I am a Medical Scribe at Trinity Hospital in the Emergency Department. A Medical Scribe follows the physician and does the charting for them. I am not actually physically helping the patient but, in a way, my presence is good for the physician because it helps them focus more on the patient. And also you can be a presence of happiness for the patient during sad moments. This is really cool because at first, I did not think I wanted to be a physician, but I realized this is what I want to do because I get to be around people, talk to them, and help them.