Before Nixon Nguyen was a second-year osteopathic medical student at Georgia Campus – Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (GA-PCOM) in Suwanee, he was a Yellow Jacket. Rather, he was the Yellow Jacket: Nguyen was one of the Georgia Institute of Technology undergraduate students who served as the university’s beloved mascot, Buzz.
“It was an amazing experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life,” Nguyen said about supporting Georgia Tech in his role as Buzz, adding that he felt an adrenaline rush when he was cheered by tens of thousands in Bobby Dodd Stadium or McCamish Pavilion. He recalled crashing lectures and making professors laugh, and being hunted down for photos with enthusiastic fans. “Everyone loved Buzz!”
But being a good Buzz wasn’t all roaring crowds and running down football fields – it took real skills, including passion, perseverance and time management. Skills, the student-doctor said, that also help him succeed at GA-PCOM. Nguyen had to persevere physically and mentally, taking on a schedule of 6 a.m. workouts, a full-time class load, research lab projects, extracurricular activities, evening practices, and appearances at sporting and/or private events. Most importantly though, Nguyen said, “You needed to have the passion to love what you were doing. Because if you had to endure so much and the passion was not there – quitting became a very attractive option. Doesn’t all of that sound like medical school?”
With rigorous class schedules, lab projects and preparing for rotations, it might be easy for school spirit to slip away from medical students. However, school spirit can be important in establishing community and encouragement among students, he noted.
Once the very symbol of Georgia Tech pride, Nguyen gave advice on increasing a sense of school spirit at GA-PCOM: “I believe you build school spirit by loving your school and creating an atmosphere that is welcoming… Reach out to others in your class, another class, another program – build friendships, play ball, hangout, be selfless, support them and cheer them on (as they run for leadership positions, for example). From the faculty and students to the staff that makes this place run – everyone here is GA-PCOM. Build unity and as people start to feel like they belong, you’ll build school spirit.”
Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institute of higher education dedicated to the healthcare professions. The Suwanee, Georgia, campus is affiliated with Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine which has a storied history as a premier osteopathic medical school. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences and physician assistant studies. Emphasizing "a whole person approach to care," PCOM Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service to the wider community. The campus is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center, an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 678-225-7500.
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