Di in Austin, TX as part of the HSSP Alternative Spring Break trip.

Hi there! My name is Di Xie, and I am from Lawrence, Kansas, that rectangular state that sits right in the middle of the United States. I am currently a pre-dental student hoping to major in neuroscience. Moreover, I am a first-year student in the Health Sciences Scholars Program (HSSP), and this is my story.


I felt my throat tighten as the car came to a stop outside of Couzens Hall, my new home. As I was trying to remind myself to breathe, I was mesmerized by the hustle and bustle outside the building as bulky, blue bins overflowing with people’s belongings moved back and forth. After loading my own blue bin, I courageously took a deep breath and walked in. Almost immediately, I was welcomed by a group of people wearing red Health Sciences Scholars Program shirts. As they were giving me instructions and information, their eyes lit up because they were so excited for me, they were so excited that I was finally here. Their energy intensified my excitement and helped lessen my anxiety. It was at that moment when I realized I was going to be okay.


I did not fully understand the concept of community or its ability to have an impact on people until I joined HSSP. The Peer Advisors (PAs) and Resident Advisors (RAs) have become the first people I call whenever I have a problem. I am also surrounded by a group of bright and diverse first-year students who are as passionate about the healthcare field as I am. These amazing people who make up the community I am so proud to be in. They are also the main key that helped me transition so well to my new life. Even the simplest things, like knowing the people in my hallway, and for those people to know me make a world of a difference. My day lights up when I see another HSSPer on my way to class and wave hello to them, or knock on a PA's door and be welcomed by a person who is ready to listen to the craziness of my day. It is a privilege to know in back of my head that I can always go to this nurturing group of people no matter what my hectic day throws at me. Unlike many other students on campus who had to actively find their friends, I was fortunate enough to step onto campus with a wonderful group of people waiting for me with open arms.

In addition to helping me transition to my new life as a college student, HSSP continues to expand my thoughts, prepare me for my career, and mold me into a knowledgeable professional. I had the privilege to shadow an audiologist for one of my observations. I remember sitting in a small dark room, desperately trying to follow the graphs appearing on the audiologist’s computer screen as the patient responded to a series of beeps. This particular observation greatly impacted me because I was surprised to see so many young people come in, and the experience helped me realize just how great hearing impacts people’s daily life. The audiologist also explained all of the tests she performed to help assess the patient’s condition, types of hearing loss, and different treatments available. We also discussed bigger problems like the health disparity on how hearing aids are very expensive but generally not covered by health insurance. Patients have to meet each and every requirement in order to be eligible for a hearing aid, which becomes a great burden on those who need them.

Sometimes I find myself thinking about how different my first-year college experience would have been without HSSP. One thing for sure is that I know that I would not be as happy or as knowledgeable about the healthcare field as I am today. I believe that applying for HSSP and being in HSSP have truly been some of the greatest things that have ever happened to me. I hope you will feel the same.

Until next time,



Di is currently the Associate Website Editor for the Health Sciences Scholars Program, and will be a Peer Advisor for the program for the 2017-2018 school year.