Amy Koch is a rising sophomore at Misercordia University in Dallas, Pennsylvania. She is studying biology and is accepted into Misercordia’s six and a half year doctorate plan for physical therapy. Despite her rigorous academic schedule, Amy is involved in various college organizations and makes living healthily a priority. One of my best friends for many years, Amy and I are very similar people, but have had quite different experiences in college. She dishes to CL about how she survived her freshman year.
CL: What was your favorite part of your first year at Misercordia University?
AK: I’d have to say my favorite part about freshman year was a service trip I took over spring break. All of second semester I was a part of service learning class, where I learned about one of Misericordia’s main values- service. After completing the eight week course, I was a part of a group of about 15 that went to Mercy Neighborhood in Northern Philadelphia. For the week, I worked in an activity room for senior citizens and in a tutoring program for kids after school. I made so many friends from Misericordia during this amazing week, all the while learning lessons and making memories I’ll never forget.
CL: Was it hard to adjust as a freshman?
AK: Adjusting to life at college was a little hard, only because it was like something I’d never done before. I was used to going to camps for a week or two, but after the week was over, I always came home. So for me adjusting to not seeing my family for a month at a time was difficult. However, not coming home and staying on campus for the first few weekends was a big help because I met some awesome people that were feeling the same way as me.
CL: How did you decide upon your major, biology/physical therapy?
AK: The summer before senior year I volunteered at the Reading Hospital in the physical therapy department. During that time I realized that I really liked what physical therapists do, and from there I started looking into the field more. I love working with and caring for people, so to me studying physical therapy seemed like a perfect match. At Misericordia, there are several options for an undergrad degree for people in the PT program, and I picked studying bio because I felt as if that would best prepare me for grad school.
CL: In what ways do you think your six and a half-year program will benefit you in the long run?
AK: I think being a part of the six and a half year program will greatly benefit me mainly because I know I’m already accepted into the PT program. As long as I keep up my GPA and do well in all my science classes, I will go directly from undergraduate classes to the PT program without having to reapply. The fact that the program is a straight-through program was one of the main reasons I chose to go to Misericordia.
CL: How important do you think being involved in co-curricular activities in college is and why?
AK: I think getting involved in college is super important and can really make or break your college experience. First semester of my freshman year I struggled with homesickness and I think that was due to my lack of involvement. Second semester I went out of my comfort zone and joined several groups which definitely made my time at school more enjoyable.
CL: What activities are you involved in and why did you choose them?
AK: I joined Chamber Singers which is a choral group because I love singing and I knew I would feel comfortable being a part of the group. Thanks to my involvement in choir, I tried out and was selected to be in the spring musical “Working.” I also was elected to be the class of 2016’s Activities Coordinator. I love planning activities and doing service projects, which is what the position requires, so I was really excited when I was elected. I’m also an Orientation Leader. I chose to get involved with freshmen orientation because I want to help make the transition to college life successful for freshmen like others did for me last year.
CL: How do you balance your academic schedule with your co-curricular involvements?
AK: Time management is really important when it comes to balancing my school work and my other activities. School work comes first, so I’m always working ahead and trying to stay on schedule with my classes. For me, being busy pushes me to get my work done on time. Rather than relaxing in the dorms, I try to make better use of my time so I can get more done in the day.
CL: I know that living a healthy lifestyle is very important to you, how do you fit working out and eating nutritiously into your life at college?
AK: I try to go to the gym between classes, and if I don’t have time I’ll go later that night. For me, working out is a great way to relieve stress and get away from school work for an hour. I also try to go on a few runs a week to clear my head and get fresh air. As for the eating, I steer clear of the grill, fries, desserts and soda. Most of my meals have a side salad and for something sweet I’ll have peanut butter toast or chocolate milk. Weekends are a different story though, and my salads are replaced with ice cream.
CL: What are you looking forward to in your sophomore year at Misercordia?
AK: I’m really looking forward to continuing to make Misericordia my home. I’m living in a town-house with five other girls, so I’m excited to see how that works out. I also hope to take a leadership class and join an a cappella group this semester. And of course I’m looking forward to taking my biology classes that’ll bring me one step closer to a degree.
CL: What advice do you have for an incoming classy college freshman?
AK: I would tell incoming freshmen to stay on campus as much as possible and to get involved. I know that’s what everyone says, but it’s so important! Staying on campus helps you to get acclimated quicker and to make friends with people in your dorm. Getting involved helps you to feel like you have a purpose and helps to make your college experience one to remember!
For classy- coed Amy Koch, getting involved in college, working out and leaving her comfort zone proved to be stress relievers and have improved her college experience. Amy is an intelligent young woman bound for a successful career in physical therapy.