December 16, 2018

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From Dreams to Reality During First Year of Medical School

Jonna Maas, 1st Year Medical Student

“I was excited to learn that I was a recipient of the medical scholarship from Affiliated Community Health Foundation,” stated Jonna Maas, 1st year medical student.  “Medical school is a lot of things, but cheap isn’t one of them! Between tuition, lab fees, and textbooks charges add up quickly and this is only my first year at the University of Minnesota in Duluth. It’s definitely a little daunting when you realize that you won’t have any form of income coming in for the next four years, so outside support in the form of scholarships and grants is always appreciated!

I Knew I Wanted to be a Doctor

Medicine is fascinating! I have known since my freshman year in high school that I wanted to become a physician. I took intro to biology and absolutely loved it. I think that was the first textbook I ever actually read. I started paying more attention to my mom’s work; she is a Certified Nurse Specialist (CNS) and is currently working as a home health nurse. I realized that I just loved science and health and so from then on I took as many science classes as I could throughout high school and college and also took advantage of any experiences in medicine I could get my hands on.

Medical school has proven to be very challenging but yet fascinating! Every day I am completely bombarded with pages of notes and power points about different diseases and treatments, but it is all so interesting. I have also grown to love my classmates and professors here at medical school. Everyone comes from unique backgrounds and brings their own personalities, but we’re all a bunch of science nerds at heart. As an extra bonus, Duluth is such a fun city to be in; even between all the studying and worrying about exams and lab practices, we always manage to find some extra time to have some fun!

“I was excited to learn that I was a recipient of the medical scholarship from Affiliated Community Health Foundation. Medical school is a lot of things, but cheap isn’t one of them!”

My Inspiration

Growing up I had many influences that helped lead me toward medicine outside the classroom. My doctor from little on was Dr. Tom Odland at ACMC in Marshall; he was phenomenal! Going to the doctor was never a scary thing for me. He was patient, sympathetic and when I whined about my sore throats he always managed to make me laugh! After I left home for college, I switched and started going to Dr. Michelle Cilek at ACMC in Redwood Falls. She has been such a source of inspiration to me! She does such a great job in balancing both her family and her career and she’s always encouraged my dreams of going to medical school.

After Medical School

When I am done with medical school, I am pretty set on family practice and OB. I like the thought of having the opportunity to build long-term relationships with my patients and to take care of entire families. I think rural physicians have an opportunity to gain experience in so many different areas of medicine so they have a greater responsibility to stay up-to-date on current happenings in medicine and continually expand their knowledge. When I’m done with school, I’d also eventually like to return to southern Minnesota to be closer to my family.”