Yashasvi Bajaj '21
BS Psychology, minors in
Chemistry and Health, Medicine, and Society
Where are you originally from?
New Delhi, India.
How did you hear about Stony Brook University?
I was looking for cost-effective options with good STEM programs, and my guidance counselor recommended SBU. I also want to take this opportunity to give Candance Galarneau a shoutout -- Mrs. Galarneau, thank you so much for your support and encouragement when I needed it the most. You are a compassionate human being and role model. I would recommend that every high school senior seek you out for college planning advice without hesitation.
Why Stony Brook?
The large, diverse campus population and plethora of research opportunities were attractive. I thought about going to a smaller school initially, but realized it was time to put an end to the hand-holding and take charge of my own destiny. The age-old saying that "it is what you make of it" holds true at SBU. Admittedly, I managed to just scrape by in high school. Studying at SBU allowed me to pick up the academic slack and make memories at the same time.
On his major/minor:
I chose a BS in Psychology because of the elective flexibility I was given. The major itself lined up nicely with a Pre-Health curriculum. In addition, I took an interest in Organizational Psychology and being able to hone my emotional intelligence in professional settings. Finally, I added a Double Minor in Chemistry and Health, Medicine, and Society to develop an academic niche and pursue relevant opportunities for my career objective.
SOC 344: Environmental Sociology with Prof. Coburn was an engaging class. Global problems beg social solutions. The current means of approaching very global problems (i.e., global warming) prioritize advances in economically inefficient methods without accounting for societal response. "Carbon-trapping," for one, may be a buzzword on paper, but we are neglecting the enormous cost this foreseeably upscaled technology would bring; not to mention, the lack of incentive for society to transition in the first place. Simply continuing to release carbon into the air has always been much cheaper. Therefore, we need to target social incentive just as well as we worship the hard sciences, not over-commit to technical, intricate, high-level applications and empirical suggestions.
While I was a borderline-obsessive tennis player in high school, recreational weightlifting and strength training have become my new passions. I enjoy nothing more than a rush of primal adrenaline, the feeling of a good "pump" as blood rushes to every targeted muscle group in my body. I have come to enjoy weightlifting so much because I am very results-oriented. With tennis, I would practice for hours on end and still have a bad day completely throw off my psyche. With weights, I am addicted to the marginal, but consistent progress. It doesn't matter if I'm having a bad lifting day, per se; I always feel great.
That's a tricky one. I suppose that facing my fears, taking more leaps of faith than I'd like to admit, takes the cake. Don't get me wrong, I still have a ways to go. However, I did go from being facadically obsessed with prestige to believing in myself and having that belief come from a healthier place. I have appreciated and learned from countless failures, countless nights into the wee hours of the morning, and countless conversations with amazing people.
Plans for post-graduation?
I plan to complete post-baccalaureate coursework before transitioning to a Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). I crave knowledge, and being complacent, hitting an inevitable glass ceiling, that will not do it for me. I want a career where I can be autonomous, keep up with the times, and make a difference. When we go to the grave, we take nothing with us. I want to leave something behind, something for noble world betterment that I genuinely believe in. I grow restless if things are ever too simple -- my close friends know this all too well. I hope to keep in touch with them, even if I end up moving halfway across the country. Jarin, Andrew, Vishnu, Lubaba, Sindhu, Aqsa and Mohima, thank you for being the best group of friends I could ever ask for.
The idea of driving green polymers and advanced materials exploration for advances in preventive medicine is highly appealing. I want to apply my current knowledge of anti-biofouling nanotechnology to a patient-centered capacity. Moreover, I want to understand nanoscale phenomena with the mind of a researcher, but the biomedical scrutiny of a medical student. Too often do I see physical sciences academics hypothesize far-fetched biomedical implications without a thorough enough understanding of biomedical disciplines. I plan to be a part of the solution to that problem, and am actively working towards it.