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This week marks the beginning of medical school for the UNC School of Medicine’s Class of 2019. Over the next four years, their experiences both in Chapel Hill, across North Carolina and even across the world will prepare them to practice medicine in an ever-changing health care landscape. But before all that, the class gathered for orientation. We spoke to several students about why they chose UNC and what they are most excited about on the first day of their medical school journey.

“I did my undergraduate work here at UNC through the nursing school. Just being a part of a professional school around the medical campus, I have seen what a great atmosphere that we have and the supportive nature of everyone here. When choosing a medical school it was very important for me to be somewhere that I would be supported.”

– Stephanie Sun, completed undergraduate studies at UNC Chapel Hill

“I was really drawn to UNC because of how nice all of the people I met here were. Even this morning as we’re walking in there were people getting us hyped up and excited. I love that. It’s great motivation.”

– Krishan Sivaraj, completed undergraduate studies at Duke University

“I love Chapel Hill and have always felt at home here. Plus the medical school has an outstanding reputation and is a great value.”

– Ashley Oskardmay, completed undergraduate studies at North Carolina State University

“I noticed when I interviewed here that the students seemed a lot more relaxed, happy and welcoming than some of the other places I visited. I’m excited not only to study, but to get to know the other students.”

– Nathan Howell, completed undergraduate studies at UNC-Greensboro

“UNC does a great job of exposing medical students to patients very early on so I’m excited about that.”

– Ammu Vijay, completed undergraduate studies at North Carolina State University

“This is a major career change for me. I’d been an art director at a video game studio. But, after traveling to Mongolia for a month I decided I was sick of just sitting behind a desk so when I got back I started working as a volunteer medic and fell in love with the work. I decided I wanted to go to medical school and here I am. I’m just ready to get started.”

– Dave Tyson, previously worked as an art director in a video game studio. Completed undergraduate studies at Virginia Commonwealth University

“I’m so excited about collaborating with the second year students and learning from them. I’m already looking forward to next year so I can come back here and cheer on the first year students like they are doing for us. It’s a great way to help take away the stress. Everyone here has been very happy, excited and caring. It’s the perfect place for me.”

– Luisa Paredes, completed undergraduate studies at Macalester College

“I couldn’t be more excited. I think a lot of people here have been looking forward to and thinking about this day for a very long time. I’ve wanted to be a doctor pretty much my whole life.”

– Charan Mohan, completed undergraduate studies at North Carolina State University

“UNC has great opportunities for both research and clinical medicine and the community has been incredibly welcoming. That’s very important to me.”

– Evelyna Kliassov, completed undergraduate studies at Duke University

Graphic by Rachel Morris/UNC Health Care
Photos by Max Englund/UNC Health Care