Alex Ryden, Geneva Class of 2011, is the highlighted alumnus for this quarter. Here are his responses to a standard set of questions which will be given to an alumnus to answer each quarter.
Please give a current update on yourself (college/graduation year, major, work/career, family, other interests, service or hobbies).
I graduated from UT Austin in 2016 with a Plan II degree (I know it sounds odd but it’s a real degree, look it up). I started medical school at the Long School of Medicine in San Antonio in July 2016 and I am currently in my final year of school. I am in the process of applying to medical residency in Internal Medicine, which is the next step in my training. I will be working as a physician under supervision for three to six years, after which I will be able to practice independently. I still have a life though, believe it or not, and I spend my time in all kinds of activities (started rock climbing about a year ago, for example).
In what ways did your Geneva education/training prepare you for the work you are doing now?
The ability to speak in public has been the single greatest skill I took from Geneva, with good writing skills being a close second. I cannot speak for other fields, but medicine involves a lot of talking. You talk with your team, you talk with consultant physicians, you talk with the patient, you talk with nurses, etc. Being able to do so comfortably has made my journey much smoother. Being a good writer is also very useful, if for no other reason than I recently had to write yet another personal statement.
Please describe the most significant value you learned from Geneva.
Being a critical thinker was a major takeaway from my time at Geneva. I think having the skills to parse through complex ideas has personally served me well throughout my upper level education. It allows me to be flexible in the face of new, challenging ideas and problems.
How would you encourage a Geneva Rhetoric School student to make the most of their Geneva years?
Don’t be afraid or reluctant to work hard. I would say work ethic trumps just about everything when it comes to college and beyond so learning it now pays off in a big way later in life.
Describe Geneva in one word. Explain.
Comfortable. It provides students a perfect environment to learn advanced and important skills while avoiding fostering a harsh and competitive environment.
Please share one or two of your Geneva extracurricular activities and then contrast that with one or two of your current non-work activities.
Oof, well I am a little rusty on what all I did in high school. I know I ran cross country and I try to stay active at the gym. I still run and play sports when I have time (plus climbing). I do not really play violin much anymore although I would like to pick it up again one day.
What are your future career goals and how do you feel prepared for them?
Like I said, I am applying into Internal Medicine with the goal of either becoming a hospitalist or specializing in ICU work. Both are intense jobs that require a lot of complex problem-solving, which as I have stated earlier, I think Geneva set me up for perfectly.
How are you impacted by being in medical school? What is something you have learned/are learning about yourself and God’s world?
My work means a lot to me. I am still very early in my career but I feel like what I do matters. It’s been a long and grueling road so far, but I hope to continue finding it meaningful into the future.