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Sydney Kruse: Why I study science

April 25, 2018

Sydney Kruse is a junior human biology major in Lyman Briggs College. She plans on attending pharmacy school in the fall of 2019.

When I was just 12 years old my mom was diagnosed with ALS, or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

ALS is a disease that affects the motor neurons of the brain. Patients in the late stages are not able to walk, talk or eat due to weakening muscles. There is no known cure for the disease at this time.

As you can imagine, seeing your mom physically deteriorate and become trapped inside her body is not a fun experience. But all of this made me a stronger person and, in a weird way, I am thankful for it. I would not be who I am today if I hadn't lost my mom.

While my mom was sick, my family did a lot of research about the disease and became advocates for people with ALS. I was pretty young at the time and didn’t know how important this was.

They continue to advocate by donating money to the ALS Association as well as participating in the walk to defeat ALS in Denver. As I’ve gotten older, I have become more aware of news regarding the disease such as what kinds of research projects are being funded. It is important to me to continue what my family is doing when I have the funds to do so.

My experience with ALS has definitely shaped my professional goals and, thus, my academic path.

For as long as I can remember, I have always liked school, but especially math and science. In middle school, I remember really liking chemistry and biology. But this interest didn’t really spark into a potential career until I took those classes again in high school. I took biology my sophomore year and chemistry my junior year.

My mom passed away at the end of my freshman year, so I took these classes after she was gone. But she was always in my head. She had taken a lot of medicine while she was sick. These included a muscle relaxer, antidepressant, pain relievers and an FDA-approved drug for ALS. My high school science classes helped me understand her disease and her treatment.

Being surrounded by all of these drugs made me interested to learn how they work. This is what drew me to pharmacy. I loved — and still love — the idea of being able to prescribe medicine to people and make a difference in their lives. After pharmacy school, I want to be an in-patient pharmacist and work in a hospital with doctors so I can be a part of patient care plans.

Picking a major can be difficult. I chose human biology because the major requirements covered most of the pre-requisites for pharmacy school, and I also really like biology. I could have chosen neuroscience, physiology or any other pre-professional health major, but I wanted to take the bio electives that are a part of the human bio curriculum.

It has been really nice having classes or similar classes with the same people. You get to recognize them and become friends with them. This is also an added bonus of being in Lyman Briggs. There has not been a science class I have taken where I didn’t know a single person.

All of the classes I have taken have helped me prepare for pharmacy school. Biology, biochemistry, physiology and microbiology are all super important to a pharmacist. These classes have all been challenging, but rewarding in the end. I learned so much in Dr. Doug Luckie’s biology class that prepared me for biochemistry and physiology.  

I came to MSU with the plan to pursue a career in health sciences, and I am proud to say I have not changed my major or my career path. My experience here has been amazing.

My path has been validated around almost every turn. I have never questioned my decision to pursue science and, eventually, pharmacy. I feel like everything is in my grasp. I think everyone should feel that way with the right major.

Don’t get me wrong, college has not been without its rough patches, but it’s how you come out of them that is important. I cannot thank the Lyman Briggs faculty and staff enough for creating an inclusive, supportive culture.

I have always felt that my professors want me to succeed and are there for me. The same can be said for my peers who are only interested in encouraging one another. We have helped each other out through Briggs and non-Briggs classes. I think this is super important to foster a non-competitive culture in a field that demands competition. If you can’t lean on the people around you, it makes going through the pre-health process so much harder than it already is.