Matt Santos, 2014,Cumberland, RI
Biology/English double major
Why did you choose Providence College?
You’ll hear it at almost every event you go to and at some point it may sound like a bit of a cliché, but there truly is a Friar Family at Providence College, and its presence is ubiquitous. Whether its studying in groups with friends, everyone and their mother saying “Hi” on the way to class, or a professor willing to spend the extra time to clarify class material, the family feel is truly everywhere. It is the main impression I first got from Providence College and it was probably what I wanted most in my undergraduate experience.
What stood out academically?
My favorite academic experience has been the opportunity to pursue a double major. I have always wanted to be a physician and the Biology program in which I participate closely correlates with medical school requirements. However, I have also always had an interest in literature and writing. As such, I decided to also take on a major in English. At a liberal arts school like Providence College this sort of broad education in differing disciplines was not only possible but encouraged. I could not be happier with my “team of advisors” as I like to call them: one in the English Department, one from Biology, and the Pre-Health Sciences advisor, Dr. Crafts. They have been beyond supportive and helpful in getting me to where I am today.
Given it is closer to home, why do you think that PC is a good fit for Rhode Islanders?
The one thing I can indubitably say about being a Rhode Islander at PC is that you are as close or far away from home as you want to be. While I live so very close to school I (much to my mother’s chagrin) do my own laundry and rarely come home. Of course, it has nothing to do with not wanting to go home, but enjoying both the time at school and time at home in their own right and in their own time makes both circumstances that much more enjoyable. It is nice having home as a security blanket if you ever needed it, it is great to be able to go to my little cousins’ birthday parties, and it is still wonderful to have a sense of independence while living on campus.
If you had to sum up Providence College in one sentence, what would it be?
It is kind of like Applebees and the Olive Garden all at wrapped into one. It really is “Eating good in the neighborhood” – going to school in Rhode Island, learning in the place I have always called home, and creating a new home in Providence. And “When you’re here, you’re family” because as I have said before and anyone reading this will have heard a thousand times, it really is the Friar Family.
Like many colleges across the country, families make large sacrifices to have a student attend Providence. Now that you’ve had many semesters here, is it worth it?
Absolutely worth it. As a Rhode Island resident attending Providence College, I had the opportunity to apply to the Early Identification Program at the Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University. Through this program, I applied to Alpert the Spring semester of my sophomore year. The medical school accepts a maximum of two PC students a year. Luckily, both myself and Gary Khammahavong ’14 were accepted to the program. Now, both he and I finish up our last two years at PC and then go straight to Brown. PC is the only school to which I applied that could have offered me this opportunity and it has been nothing short of the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.
Is there anything else that you think accepted students should know about PC, that maybe you didn't know when you decided to become a Friar?
PC is just honestly filled with nice people who truly care about your collegiate success. Whether its fellow students, professors, or administrators, the school is filled to the brim of people who want to see you succeed.
What has been your favorite non-academic experience so far?
It’s a definite tie between two trips for two different reasons. First, was the Alternative Spring Break trip to the Dominican Republic where I participated in an Orphanage Outreach program with about ten other students. We lived in an orphanage and taught nutrition and hygiene to children at a local school. It was a profoundly touching experience and one that I will always remember. The tremendous gratitude the children felt truly taught me more than I could ever have hoped to teach them. Second, was a Spring Break trip to Barcelona through the Liberal Arts Honors program. The city was simply gorgeous and I had an absolute blast with both my peers and my Development of Western Civilization professors.
How has the liberal arts education you have received at Providence benefited you?
The liberal arts education I have received at Providence College has provided me an outlook on my desire to be a physician that I certainly would not have had otherwise. It reminds me that medicine is not just science, but humanism. The individuals who I will one day see as a doctor are not just patients; they are human beings with fears and aspirations, families and loved ones. For all the scientific process and knowledge that goes into medicine it must be married to a sense of duty to the fellow human.
What activities are you involved in at PC?
I am a tutor in the Office of Academic Services, a Commentary staff writer for The Cowl, and a member of the Friars Club. I also act as a teaching assistant for the General Biology lab sections (but will not be doing so this spring).
Tell us about any “student engagement” experiences you have had: internships, research opportunities, study abroad, etc.
This past summer I did a study abroad program in Copenhagen, Denmark through the Danish Institute for Study Abroad. Because I am a double major, studying for an entire semester abroad was not a real possibility. However, the DIS program was a great alternative. I learned a lot, saw a lot, and really had a lot of fun. The Center for International Studies helped me get my application in order and made it a smooth process.
Send Matt a Message