Going into medicine has always been a dream for Leslie Rau, a senior Psychology major from Rice, Minn. And she chose to attend the College of Saint Benedict to fulfill that aspiration.
"The College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University has a notable science department," she said. "And I also liked the campus and the cross country running program."
And once Rau got here, all the elements of the schools enticed her in such a way that her experiences have been very rewarding.
Rau and the patients at the tuberculosis clinic she worked at while on her study abroad experience in Guatemala.
"It turned out to be a great fit," she said. "The academics are challenging and interesting."
And while her classes have been demanding, she has been able to discover a lot about herself through them. She has learned that going into medicine can involve many paths, and the road she chose has led her to the Pre-Physician Assistant Program.
"This program allows more flexibility and patient contact than that of a doctor," said Rau. "I hope to work in wilderness medicine, and PA programs would allow me to pursue this as well."
Rau has participated in sports, like cross country, throughout her college career.
This decision has had some struggles, but those can easily be rectified in the future if she finds this is not the path for her.
"Not actually being a doctor is a disadvantage," she said. "But if I find it restricting, I'll get extra schooling."
And that is one of the beauties of the program for Rau. Yet there are countless other attractions such a program has, especially at CSB/SJU.
"The professors are really helpful, and you can stop by anytime," Rau said. "They're also just fun to chat with, whether it be about biology or not. There's a really comfortable atmosphere."
Besides the experiences Rau has had within the Pre-Physician Assistant Program, she has had many unique experiences outside of the classroom as well.
"Being part of a college sport year round has been a great experience," she said. "I learned how to manage my time, balancing it between academics, athletics, and a social life."
Rau and another study abroad participant climbing La Muela in Xela, Guatemala.
Rau was also able to experience culture in a way she never imagined.
"Studying aboard in Guatemala was amazing," she said. "It was a great perspective being a minority and learning the language and customs of the area."
After Rau graduates, she hopes to return to Guatemala as well as embark on the path to becoming a Physician Assistant.
"I plan to spend a year working at a hospital," she said. "And hopefully I can make it back to Guatemala. After that, I plan on going to PA school."