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Mario Varzeas


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Hello everyone! My name is Mario Varzeas. About two years ago I made quite the transition and decided to enter back into college after being away from academia for over 8 years. I was not the most academically oriented student when I received my bachelor’s degree in 2013. I worked at a small health food store for under four years, and it was there that I realized I had a deep interest in health. The store sold a multitude of different supplements, protein powders, and many different unique foods. I remember reading everything that I could find about Omega-3 fatty acids, statins, constituents of proteins, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. After cleaning myself and my life up, I decided to enter Cape Cod Community College while working full time. I enrolled in many different science courses, and was then offered a job as a biology tutor for Cape Cod Community College. It was there that my interest in the sciences turned into a career. I continued taking classes at Cape Cod Community College while working both as a tutor and an assistant manager. It was overwhelming at times, but following my dreams was worth some sleepless nights. I am a licensed EMT as of September 2023. In September, I entered a Premedical Postbaccalaureate program at Elms College. I just applied for my Master in Biomedical Sciences at Elms College. Afterwards, I will apply to medical school where I hope to become a medical or pediatric oncologist.


College of Our Lady of the Elms

Master's degree program
2023 - 2024
  • Majors:
    • Health/Medical Preparatory Programs
    • Medicine
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Other

Cape Cod Community College

Associate's degree program
2021 - 2023
  • Majors:
    • Health/Medical Preparatory Programs

University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Bachelor's degree program
2009 - 2013
  • Majors:
    • Psychology, General


  • Desired degree level:

    Doctoral degree program (PhD, MD, JD, etc.)

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

  • Planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:


    • Dream career goals:

      Medical Oncologist

    • Assistant Manager

      The Orleans Whole Food Store
      2018 – 20224 years
    • Biology Tutor

      Cape Cod Community College
      2022 – Present2 years


    • Human Biology

      Baystate Health — Volunteer Research Coordinator
      2013 – 2014

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Cape Cod Healthcare — Transport & Oncology Volunteer
      2023 – 2023
    • Volunteering

      Greater Volunteers Initiatives - Luang Prabang, Laos — Volunteer English Teacher
      2018 – 2018
    • Volunteering

      The AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod — Volunteer Kitchen Staff
      2021 – 2022

    Future Interests




    Windward Spirit Scholarship
    One of the Buddha's most famous quotes is "With our thoughts, we create the world." Another way of saying this is that "We are what we think." There are two tracks of thought in "Ode to Millennials-Gen Z." One of them is vindictive and angry "You created this mess..." and the other is solution-oriented and hopeful "Don't worry, we'll deal with it." This Ode is a great reminder that, as the Buddha said, our thoughts and perceptions are everything. I can either be spiteful at the world I am inheriting, or I can be hopeful as the world changes and evolves. I have the choice between these two ways of looking at our world. Most people, including myself, are at the mercy of their thoughts all day long, but perception can be a matter of choice. I can choose to look at our world and see hope, love, and connection, or I can choose to look at this world and see disarray, anger, and burden. The choice is mine. As someone who wants to enter the medical field, my predilection is to look at the world and see hope. I am entering into this field because I want to be part of the change for good that is described in this Ode. Yes, this generation is inheriting a lot, but as the Ode states, I am excited to be part of this life. I enjoy the classes I am enrolled in, the people that I have met, and the opportunities that I have been a part of. I have had wonderful experiences volunteering at the AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod, The Oncology Center at Cape Cod Hospital, and as a volunteer English teacher in Luang Prabang, Laos where I taught English to novice Buddhist monks. These experiences have inculcated in me a passion for helping others. These experiences also showed me that my perception of the world around me is hugely created by those that I surround myself with. I have emulated people's perceptions and attitudes just by surrounding myself with people who have hope and believe in the goodness in the world. My perception has certainly been shaped by those around me. I am going to intern as an EMT at a homeless shelter during this upcoming semester. This will allow me to work with the most disadvantaged people in our area, something that I hope to do throughout my life. There are significantly higher rates of mental and physical health disorders in this population. A huge part of this internship will be administering Narcan to individuals who arrive at the shelter and overdose. In addition, I will be assisting the nurse practitioners with treating a myriad of respiratory illnesses, which are all too common in the homeless population, especially at this time of year. I try to be the change I want to see in the world, and by doing this it helps me to inherit the burdens of the world gracefully. Yes, we are inheriting a world that is increasing in temperature every year [1], but we are also moving towards a world that is using more renewable energy per year. Yes, there is more student debt than there has ever been [2], but we are seeing more and more student debt being forgiven each year. So much of our future depends on what we pay attention to now. As the Greatest Generation did, we can inherit our "rendezvous with destiny" with bravery and a genuine sense of duty. The meek might inherit the world, but the brave will change it. References 1.,0.32%C2%B0F)%20since%201981. 2.,For%2Dprofit%20students%20borrow%20%2449%2C700.
    Noah Jon Markstrom Foundation Scholarship
    In Massachusetts, we have a highway that runs North-South across the state. This highway connects Connecticut to Vermont, and if someone were to continue along this highway, they would end up in Quebec. It was on this highway that Jack (name changed) decided to unlock my car and stick his head out of the open car door. I then had to find a safe spot to pull over on the highway, call my manager at the family therapy center, and wait for Jack's guardians to arrive. It was experiences like these that inculcated my love of working with children and teenagers. A little under ten years ago, I worked as a Therapeutic Mentor at an outpatient family therapy center. I mentored about 10 boys aged five through 21. My job was to bring them into the community and hold sessions that focused on specific goals from their behavioral treatment plan. I held sessions where I helped some of the older teenagers fill out job applications, and I developed games that fostered problem-solving skills in the younger adolescents. Everyone that I mentored had behavioral or developmental delays. Most had endured severe neglect, or physical and emotional trauma as a toddler. Throughout these years as a Therapeutic Mentor, I learned how much I love working with children and teenagers. They are spontaneous, energetic, and whimsical, and with this particular group of adolescents, they could be unpredictable, angry, and erratic. I enjoyed every part of it. I worked with a boy named Jackson (name changed) who was 6 years old. He had already endured severe physical trauma and was diagnosed with severe ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and PTSD. We were at the library picking out some books and he started to get upset. Jackson screamed and threw books across the library. All eyes were on us. I brought Jackson into a corner of the library and let him feel all the emotions that he was experiencing. It was apparent that this anger had nothing to do with what was going on at the library. When we got back to his family's apartment, he turned to me and said that he was sorry. Jackson was able to think about me and my feelings amidst his anger. It was moments like these that made me realize the impact that someone could have on a child. My interest in medicine arrived through painful doors. My dad was diagnosed with multiple myeloma about 8 years ago, and I became interested in oncology by accompanying him to his many appointments. Seeing how the oncologists interacted with him, cried with him, and answered his questions in a thoughtful and wise way made me want to return to school. I spent many hours in these appointments learning how oncologists deliver a diagnosis, how they can provide hope, and how to make someone feel secure amidst horrific pain. Both of these experiences made me want to return to school and pursue pediatric oncology. I spent the past two years enrolled at Cape Cod Community College working full-time, volunteering, and beginning the premedical coursework. Over the summer, I volunteered in the Oncology Center at Cape Cod Hospital which solidified my desire to pursue oncology. I saw my dad hooked up to IV chemotherapy on my first day at the Oncology Center and I saw the nurses and doctors take care of him when he was in pain. I am currently a Premedical Postbaccalaureate student at Elms College in Chicopee, MA with the dream of becoming a pediatric oncologist. I believe that I am a great candidate for this scholarship.
    Dr. Alexanderia K. Lane Memorial Scholarship
    I am only sitting here today because people helped me. After receiving my second DUI, I was sectioned by the state of Massachusetts. Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 123, Section 35, permits the court to involuntarily commit someone who has an alcohol or substance use disorder into a treatment program [1]. I entered into a men's addiction treatment program and I started to experience being helped firsthand. I was carried by counselors, therapists, treatment staff, and fellow men in the program. They accepted me when I felt scared, was hopeless, and when I wanted to leave. These people changed my life through their help, and I do not know where I would be without them. I saw counselors stay late with someone while they were crying. I saw the men in treatment give clothes to those who didn't have any. I saw hardened men out of jail give hugs to their "brothers" in sobriety. These experiences inculcated how important it is to help others. Helping others is the most thoughtful act there is. I am not thinking about myself when I am thinking about the needs of others. In addition, the effects of help compound upon themselves. When someone holds the door open for me, it makes me want to hold the door open for someone else. It has also been proven that helping others enhances one's satisfaction with life and reduces the occurrence of negative emotions [2]. Altruism has also been correlated with an increase in physical health [3]. There is truly no downside to helping others. There is a saying in Alcoholics Annonymous; "We freely give what was freely given to us". This saying is the essence of help. To help is to freely give without expecting anything in return. I have watched people in AA get carried by the group in times of need. No one in this program gets paid, the reward is the help itself. When I reach out to addicts in need, I am quick to explain that helping them helps me. Volunteering has been a huge part of my life over these past years. I was a volunteer English teacher in Laos, I volunteered at the AIDS Support Group in Provincetown, MA, and I volunteered in the Oncology Department at Cape Cod Hospital. Helping others is incredibly important to me and it will continue to be a huge part of my life. Volunteering has increased my confidence, decreased my loneliness and anxiety, and has helped me to believe in the goodness of others. This further proves that when I help others, I help myself. Volunteering in these various roles has also exposed me to many different kinds of people, some of whom have much less fortune in life than me. I have been exposed to so many different people while volunteering. These experiences deepened my gratitude for my life and for the loved ones who carried me when I needed help. "No one has ever become poor by giving", Anne Franke. I have learned that help is a deep self-sustaining wellspring. I have learned about the benefits of being helped firsthand. Without a doubt, I can say that I am a happier, healthier, and healed person because I have helped others. References 1. 2. Espinosa JC, Antón C, Grueso Hinestroza MP. Helping Others Helps Me: Prosocial Behavior and Satisfaction With Life During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Front Psychol. 2022 Jan 27;13:762445. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.762445. PMID: 35153950; PMCID: PMC8828552. 3. Krause, N. (2016). Providing emotional support to others, self-esteem, and self-rated health. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 65, 183–191.
    I Can Do Anything Scholarship
    I dream of being a compassionate physician that patients can trust.
    Book Lovers Scholarship
    “Learn to read symptoms not only as problems to be overcome but as messages to be heeded.” (Mate, 2003). It is quotes like this that make "When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress" my favorite book, and one that I believe everyone should read. In this book, Dr. Gabor Mate, a physician who has experience in family medicine, palliative care, addiction medicine, and mental health, links the role that stress plays in the pathophysiology of diseases such as cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, and arthritis. In this book, Dr. Mate poses questions such as: Which emotions are linked to Alzheimer's Disease, is there a cancer personality, and how do our internal psychic states affect the body? Not only does Dr. Mate answer these questions with case studies from his patients, but Dr. Mate also references over fifty scientific journal articles to support his assertions. This book expertly elucidates the connection between a person's spiritual health, mental health, and physical well-being. Dr. Mate explains that our emotions interact with myriad systems and organs in the body through our nervous system, specifically the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis (HPS). It is chronic disturbances in this "central command" system that overwhelm the body which can lead to disease progression. "Psychological factors such as uncertainty, conflict, lack of control, and lack of information are considered the most stressful stimuli, and strongly activate the HPS axis." (Mate, 2003). Before reading this book I had never thought about how my mental health affects my physical health. I, like most people, thought that they were two separate and disconnected operating systems. I could go to therapy for my mental health and a physician for my physical health. People need to understand how certain emotions and thought processes affect disease progression. Mental health ebbs and flows, and thus, is something that can be altered. Dr. Mate explains that no one should be blamed for the chronic diseases that they experience, but that people do have a responsibility to account for their mental health. This book significantly influenced my decision to become a medical oncologist. I hope to be a physician just like Dr. Mate. He, and his teachings, are a significant reason that I entered the medical field. After reading this book people will not look at physical and mental health as separate, and there is nothing more important than that.
    Trudgers Fund
    Six years ago, I was 25, had no references, could not write a resume, and had been fired from the previous four jobs where I had been employed. In 2013, I barely graduated from The University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a degree in Psychology. There was nothing in my life that would indicate that I would be entering a Premedical Postbaccalaureate Program starting in the Fall 2023 semester. The main reason that I am entering into this program is because I am sober and because I am in recovery. A little over two years ago I started taking classes at Cape Cod Community College where I began the premedical coursework. There is no way that I would have had any success in courses including biology, chemistry, microbiology, and many others without my sponsor and grand sponsor taking my phone calls in those early days of class. I remember my sponsor taking my phone calls at work where he would whisper so he would not be heard by other people in his office. I met both men in recovery, and they are a huge reason why I am sitting here today. Addiction is awful. It was a never-ending black hole that was killing me slowly. I would wake up every morning scared of what happened last night. Sometimes I would wake up and not know where I was. The obsessions, cravings, and pain that I was experiencing at that time were extraordinary. The worst part was making people who love me worry. I can't imagine the sleepless nights that my parents had while I was gone for days. Recovery, and the people in recovery, helped me to feel loved, heard, and accepted. The people in my home group held my hand (sometimes literally) as I entered the world as a sober person. Recovery taught me gratitude, acceptance, and patience. I have been going to Alcoholics Anonymous regularly for years and have always held a service position. At times, it has been difficult to manage everything. One semester I was working full-time, taking two classes, volunteering, and chairing a weekly AA meeting. It was worth every long day and sleepless night to be sober and to pursue my dreams. I would not be sitting here, four years sober, following my dreams, without recovery. I can use my education to show people that you can become a physician and come from adversity. Part of the reason I barely graduated from UMass Amherst in my early twenties stemmed from my addiction to drugs and alcohol. Ten years ago, there was nothing in my life that would indicate that I would pursue a career in medicine. I cannot believe how much I have accomplished in these past four years of sobriety. I enrolled in the premedical coursework and have earned a GPA that I am proud of. I was offered a position as a biology tutor at Cape Cod Community College. In August, I completed my EMT certification. This all occurred because I am sober and because people believed in me, most of the time when I did not. It is uncommon for someone to overcome addiction and then pursue a career as a physician. I can hopefully use my education to help people believe that, with hard work, opportunities exist for all.
    Bright Lights Scholarship
    Six years ago, I was 25, had no references, could not write a resume, and had been fired from the previous four jobs where I had been employed. In 2013, I barely graduated from The University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a degree in Psychology. There was nothing in my life that would indicate that I would be entering a Premedical Postbaccalaureate Program starting in the Fall 2023 semester. I was struggling with drug and alcohol addiction during this time in my life. Every morning I would wake up and crave the next fix, the next hit, and my day would start with planning how I was going to obtain it. I was a hamster on a wheel, running, but getting nowhere. This life is an endless cycle and I am proud to be on the other side. On August 5, 2019, I woke up and knew I was done with drugs and alcohol. I eventually started attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and the people in those meetings listened, loved, and held my hand, sometimes literally, as I entered the world a sober person for the first time since I was 16. The people in these meetings also showed me what it means to be a person in the LGBT+ community. This secret combusted my drinking and using for years. My home meeting is an LGBT+ meeting that started with the inception of COVID-19. We call each other family, and that is true. There is no way that I could have done this alone. I needed acceptance, I needed help, and I needed love. I do not think that the word "minority" conjures up the image of an addict. According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, approximately 28.320 million people have an alcohol use disorder, which accounts for approximately 8.53% of the population [1]. This is significantly less than both the Black (non-Hispanic) and Hispanic/Latino populations in The United States [2]. We are certainly a minority, and certainly underrepresented in many fields, including medicine. After being sober for a couple of years, I entered back into community college and began enrolling in the premedical coursework. I will matriculate into a Premedical Postbaccalaureate Program beginning in the Fall 2023 semester and from there I will apply to medical or osteopathic medical school with the dream of becoming a medical oncologist. Over the summer I completed my EMT certification, so I will be working as an EMT at an urgent care center while being enrolled in the Postbac program. During this time, I would also like to volunteer in a cancer research laboratory at one of the neighboring hospitals in Springfield, MA. I would love to work in Springfield, MA as an oncologist after completing my medical degree. I grew up in Springfield, MA, my parents taught at Springfield's high school. Springfield, MA is a very low-income community where there is a lot of gang violence and drug trafficking. Most people do not have easy access to healthcare. I yearn to be of service to this community as both of my parents were. I will be in school for a long time and every bit helps. Thus far, I have applied to over 20 scholarships. This scholarship will certainly ease some of the financial burdens of school, but it will also show that people believe in my capabilities and that they are not too far-reaching for a person who once could not write resumes, got fired from four jobs in a row, and who barely made it through his first bachelor's degree. References 1. 2. Both accessed: 8/18/2023
    Maxwell Tuan Nguyen Memorial Scholarship
    The first day I volunteered in the oncology department at Cape Cod Hospital I walked into the treatment center and saw my dad receiving intravenous chemotherapy treatment. This was the first time that I had seen him receiving treatment. The man hooked up to the chemotherapy infusion pump was the same man who brought my sister and me ice skating on Lake Massasoit in our backyard, who ran and caught stray baseballs during the Cape Cod Baseball League games, and who reminded us that “tomorrow is a new day” regardless of what was happening in our lives. My dad has been receiving chemotherapy treatment for seven years. Towards the inception of his cancer diagnosis, he received chemotherapy multiple times a month and now only goes to the oncology department once a month for treatment. My dad has said many times throughout the years that the staff in the oncology department were wonderful. I knew that to be true within the first hour of my volunteer shift. I was amazed at the patience, compassion, and wisdom of every person in the oncology department. From the doctors to the nurses, to the dietitians, and the administrative staff, everyone could not have been kinder. I have attended many oncology appointments with my dad throughout the years, so I have a lot of experience with the healthcare staff. These people have saved his life, and done so in a compassionate, kind, and wise way. Over time, I felt something grow inside of me when I would accompany him to his appointments. It was curiosity, it was desire, it was intrigue, it was hope. I not only wanted to accompany him to his appointments, but I also wanted to be the one who would treat and diagnose. I found myself repeating sentences in my head that his physicians said to him as if I was the physician and he was my patient! I decided to follow through with this desire. After taking courses at a community college for the past two years, I will start a premedical postbaccalaureate program this upcoming fall semester where I one day hope to be a medical oncologist. I think that I can make a slight difference in my career because I am a very atypical student. I am older than the typical premed student, I did not have an interest in medicine until my mid-twenties, and I had a challenging life. I spent my mid-teens to my mid-twenties struggling with substance abuse. It was therapists, counselors, sponsors, and people who loved me and who changed my life. Many people believed in me when I did not. These experiences have only made me a more compassionate, patient, and considerate person, and these are the qualities of a great physician. I plan on making a difference by showing people that you can become a great physician even if you come from adversity. Diversity is hugely important for medicine. I have not seen many people who struggled with substance abuse in this field. Hopefully, one day, I can be that for someone. I yearn to have someone look at me and say that I too can be a physician.
    Henry Respert Alzheimer's and Dementia Awareness Scholarship
    My grandmother was outside, in the winter, in Colorado, looking for her parents who she thought were going to pick her up from her assisted living home. She was outside for about thirty minutes before someone found her and brought her back to her room. My mom received a phone call from my aunt who described the situation to her. Gram needed a more intense level of care; she could not stay where she was, and at this point, it was not safe for her to do so. My grandmother had been displaying symptoms of dementia for years and had progressed to Alzheimer’s disease within the last few years of her life. Needless to say, her parents (my great-grandparents) were not going to pick her up from her assisted living facility. This episode was certainly one of the most severe regarding my grandmother’s cognitive decline, but there were many others toward the end of her life. Wandering out of her assisted living facility, getting lost in town, wearing clothing inappropriate for the season (she had left her home in a winter jacket in the middle of July), and repeatedly asking the same question over and over, were all common occurrences that my entire family became familiar with. Before her cognitive decline, my grandmother was an avid reader who had multiple subscriptions to newspapers. The local or national news was always on in her living room. She was incredibly informed and could hold a conversation with anyone regarding the goings on in the world. Not only that, but she also traveled to Egypt, Ireland, Croatia, and Great Britain within the last 20 years of her life. She was over 70 when she embarked on these travels! This was also the woman who got up early and made blueberry muffins and bacon for my cousins and me, had tea parties with my sister, bought us subscriptions to magazines for our birthdays to encourage us to read, and who always brought my sister and me to museums to foster curiosity and learning. There was an exhibit at The Holyoke Children’s Museum where the children went through a long, pitch-black tunnel on their hands and knees. The goal of the exhibit was to get the children to use their senses to find their way through the tunnel. At age 9, I was too scared to go in, so my grandmother got on her hands and knees and went through the tunnel with me and showed me that there was nothing to fear. She was 71 years old when she did this. This experience showed me that it is ok to be scared and that there’s always someone who will help me get through the fear. As you can probably see, Alzheimer’s Disease monumentally impacted my family. There was my Gram before Alzheimer’s Disease and my Gram after Alzheimer’s Disease. She was the same person, but it was two completely different people. My grandmother went from a woman of extreme independence to a woman that could not be home alone anymore. It was awful to watch her decline. There was nothing that any of us could do to prevent it from happening. Physicians had limited methodologies which would slow the decline, but the decline into Alzheimer’s Disease was inevitably going to happen. I remember going with my grandmother and mother to a few of my grandmother’s appointments. Seeing how the physicians interacted with her calmly and patiently while assuaging the fears of our family was part of the reason why I decided to go back to school. I got my degree in psychology in 2013, was out of school for over eight years, and then reentered college about two years ago. I decided to start taking some of the premed coursework at the local community college. In Fall 2023, I will matriculate into a premedical postbaccalaureate program at Elms College where I will complete the premed coursework with the hopes of entering medical school in about three years. The dream of being a physician stemmed from seeing how physicians assisted my family over the years. I want to become the calm, competent, patient, presence that they were for our family. My family decided that it was best to move Gram from Western Massachusetts to Colorado. It was a gigantic move, but she could live in an assisted living facility and be closer to our family in Colorado. This was when dementia progressed into Alzheimer’s Disease. There was pain, sadness, grief, and anger at my grandmother’s condition. I remember feeling so helpless, there was nothing that I could do to fix this progression. Although the impact on our family was horrific at times, we learned to appreciate the time we had together. One of my grandmother’s family-famous sayings is “Glad to be together”. She would quip this at family dinners while all our cousins, aunts, and uncles were together in Vermont. This saying became so alive during the last few years of her life. There was tremendous difficulty in seeing her deteriorate, but we became so glad for the time we had together. We learned to appreciate the times when she would remember our names, when she got a good report from the doctor, when she smiled when she saw us coming. These were the pearls of joy hidden in the haze that was my Gram’s Alzheimer’s Disease. I learned the importance of listening to her tell the same story or ask the same question four or five times in a row. She was so glad to be heard and listened to, it helped her to feel included and not ostracized. Most importantly, I learned the importance of telling her how much I loved her. I would tell her that I loved her just as much as she asked me the same question over and over. Unfortunately, my Gram passed three years ago on Earth Day from COVID-19. We were not able to see her before her death. My aunt and cousin were able to stand outside her window at her assisted living home and play some of her favorite songs the day before she passed. She remembered these songs. Her passing was horrifically sad, but it was time. I will remember my Gram as the woman who traveled, baked muffins for her grandchildren, waved at every car that passed her house, and who went into scary children’s exhibits with her anxiety-ridden grandson. Every time my aunts, uncles, and cousins are all together we never forget to say “Glad to be together” before dinner, and we know that the spirit of Gram is alive in each of us.
    Lost Dreams Awaken Scholarship
    Six years ago, I was 25, had no references, could not write a resume, and had been fired from the previous four jobs where I had been employed. In 2013, I barely graduated from The University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a degree in Psychology. There was nothing in my life that would indicate that I would be entering a Premedical Postbaccalaureate Program starting in the Fall 2023 semester. The main reason that I am entering into this program is because I am sober and because I am in recovery. A little over two years ago I started taking classes at Cape Cod Community College where I began the premed coursework. There is no way that I would have had any success in biology, chemistry, microbiology, and many others without my sponsor and grand sponsor taking my phone calls in those early days of class. I remember my sponsor taking my phone calls at work where he would whisper so he would not be heard by other people in his office. I met both men in recovery, and they are a huge reason why I am sitting here today. Recovery, and the people in recovery, helped me to feel loved, heard, and accepted. The people in my home group held my hand (sometimes literally) as I entered the world as a sober person. Recovery taught me gratitude, acceptance, and patience. I would not be sitting here, almost six years sober, following my dreams, without recovery.