Grad Profile: Jaide Wa’a

Jaide Wa’a, originally from Nanakuli, Hawaii is a first-year student who will be graduating from WOU with a degree in Biology with a concentration on Pre-Medicine and a minor in Chemistry.

Why did you choose WOU?
I chose WOU because I liked its location in Oregon, the size of the campus, the community, and its sizable population of students that come from Hawaii.

What do you love most about WOU? 
What I love most about WOU is the student to professor/faculty ratio. My professors truly get to know me as a student (and vice versa). On top of that they know how to best help me succeed in a given course. I love the campus community, students, programs/extracurricular activities and resources that WOU offers students.

What do you love most about the Biology degree you completed? 
I love constantly learning more about the human body, biology and everything it encompasses and the other disciplines and concepts that fall under it. I love that all the information that involves my degree and minor will allow me to help others in the future as a doctor.

What have some of your extracurriculars been? 
I have been involved in Kappa Delta Chi Sorority Inc., the Hawaii Club, the WOU Upward Bound – tutoring program, the Alternative Break program, Friends of Trees program, Relay for Life, Salem Hospital and more. All of these positively impacted my time on campus by giving me unforgettable experiences that I learned and grew from, and helped shape me into the individual I’ve become.

What has been your biggest achievement, success or accomplishment in college?

My biggest accomplishment in college aside from graduating with my degree, has been participating in the Academic Excellence Showcase. Not only was it an achievement to participate in two service learning trips abroad but it was a big success of mine being able to share my experiences with everyone at the showcase.

Has there been a class or professor that has been particularly inspiring to you? Please tell us about it!
I had the privilege of taking Advanced Anatomy & Physiology with Dr. Mike LeMaster this past fall and winter term, and he has become my most favorite professor and definitely most inspiring. It’s quite funny that for two whole terms I would actually miss the lectures for the course as I had Physics during the lecture hour and would only be able to make it to labs. Regardless, Dr. LeMaster made A&P and the entire course exceedingly enjoyable, interesting, and never left anyone confused on any topics or concepts covered. Dr. LeMaster’s enthusiasm, energy, and never-ending knowledge about the human body is what truly inspired me to want to further pursue a career in the medical field. From the structure of the class and material, to physiology labs and analyzing cadavers, Dr. LeMaster made the course a medical experience rather than a simple Anatomy and Physiology class. Each class period made me want to question everything, delve further into researching things for answers, and made me unafraid to ask all the “why?” and “what if?” questions.

What will you miss most about college?
I’ll miss all the wonderful memories, opportunities, and experiences I had throughout college. From living in the dorms my freshman year and experiencing college for the first time that year, to traveling abroad with my sorority sisters, getting tacos on Taco Tuesday with my study groups and just everything that I’ve experienced over the years to now.

What are your plans for after graduation?
Four days after graduation I will be traveling to New Zealand and Hawaii for a month to meet medical professionals, attend conferences and build up my clinical research background. Overall, though I plan to continue working as a medical scribe at Salem Hospital, studying for the MCATs, and participating in any research that I can during my gap year to prepare for medical school before applying in the Fall of 2020.

What advice do you have for current and future Wolves?
My advice is to be open to all the experiences and possibilities out there. College is the time where you have all kinds of opportunities and experiences happen that you can grow and learn from. It is that transition from high school to adulthood that helps prepare you for the real world. I know it’s cliché to say it’s a journey but it really is, and it relies solely on how you make it. These next few years can be the best or worst years of your life but it’s truly up to you and how you decide to make it all. My advice is simple, continue to find yourself, be yourself, challenge yourself and grow yourself. Join all kinds of clubs/extracurricular activities, volunteer, meet new people, try new things and go find the best version of yourself or the great individual you know you can be. It’s always great to make friends but don’t feel that you have to change yourself to fit in, stay true to who you are, and never let anyone or experiences deter you from your goals; just be yourself. Go enroll in that class that everyone told you not to take but sounded interesting to you and challenge yourself. Be adventurous and unafraid to things outside of your norm, whether it’s trying new foods or getting involved in leadership opportunities on campus; grow yourself from every trial or tribulation and every success or accomplishment. Overall, just don’t forget to have fun, learn, be open, and grow!

What do you know now that you wish you knew your first term in college?
I wish I knew to take the specific pre-requisite course for upper division courses I needed rather than a whole sequence. For instance, I didn’t know that once you take BI 102 you can take the Biology 200 level courses, and I on the other hand took the whole Biology 100-level sequence thinking I needed all courses in order to take and understand the 200-level courses. I also wish I knew that if you’re already in a class that is a pre-requisite for another class, you can enroll in both classes for that term. Knowing these things my first term in college would have made my course load for senior year so much more lighter and I possibly would have graduated a term or two earlier.

What is your favorite spot on campus and why?
The DeVolder building is my favorite spot on campus because I always find my friends, favorite professors, and my favorite study spot there. The WUC and the library are also two of my other favorite spots on campus as both have cafés/coffee shops to fuel my caffeine addiction and energy to study longer.

Did you have any funny mishaps or moments of confusion when you first started at WOU?
I’ll never forget walking into the wrong lecture hall my freshman year. Looking back its fairly common for freshman to get lost but it’s the worst when you’re that person that gets up and walks out of the class when the professor is only 5 minutes into their lecture and everyone is staring at you as you leave! But the funny mishap that I always beat myself up about is going to classes that turned out to be cancelled. There’s nothing worse than waking up early and rushing to a class that turns out to be cancelled. I won’t forget how this happened to me four times sophomore year, I was horrible at checking my email but by the fourth time I got into the habit of looking at my email before I got up for school to double check that a professor didn’t send out a “class is cancelled” email, which has saved me several times since then to now.

What’s the most important lesson you learned about yourself while in college?
I learned that college truly is the time where you find yourself. Even if you’re so sure coming into it that you know who you are and you have a set plan of what you want to do/what your future looks like; nothing is set in stone. I can recall coming to WOU as a freshman ready to major in Psychology, and fast forward to today, my freshman self, let alone my high school self, would not have pictured me pursuing a Pre-Med degree. College really showed me the vast opportunities and possibilities out there that I can achieve. You learn and grow everyday, from class, labs, assignments, activities, professors and so on. Looking back, I really didn’t know myself when I first started out at WOU and I can honestly say that even now, although I do have a good idea of who I am and who I want to be, I’m still “finding myself.” I could very well obtain the career in medicine that I want but that doesn’t mean that that’s it for me. There’s so much the world has to offer and the possibilities are truly endless. College has taught me that there’s no limit to what I can want or dream to do/attain. It’s taught me that your college journey and experiences are truly what you make of it and can very well be some of the best years of your life. But it isn’t the end, yes I’m obtaining a bachelor’s degree, but four years ago I never planned to want to pursue medical school and attain a medical degree, so who knows? Perhaps four years from now when I obtain my medical degree I may want to pursue something else, and thanks to college I know that whatever it may be, it can be done.

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