Kelsey Drapkin

How Hillsdale Prepared Me for a Career in Medical Education without My Knowing It

Written by Kelsey Drapkin, ’15

I entered Hillsdale with a thirst for knowledge. I’ve always been the kind of person who wants to know everything about anything, looking up even the most minute details to feel more comfortable about a topic. While at Hillsdale, that thirst only expanded as I entered an environment of intense and continuous intellectual volley, an environment that both excited and intimidated me since I knew there would be many challenges to my beliefs and ideas.

Looking back, the week before I started my current role with Stryker as a medical education associate for our neuro, spine, and ENT business unit was quite similar to the week before I started college. I received study material ahead of time, and I pored over it in spurts of nervous energy as I prepared to move to a new place where I knew nobody. There was one major difference between the two experiences, though, and I attribute that difference to my time at Hillsdale: I was prepared to take on the challenge of Stryker.

During my four years at Hillsdale College, I studied political economics, psychology, and journalism. I never imagined I would spend my post-graduation days in medical labs across the country supporting educational courses for medical residents. As I finished my studies at Hillsdale, job offers in hand, I planned the details of my career, and I was dead-set on moving to Washington, D.C., to pursue nonprofit work, teaching the values of freedom and liberty so often discussed on campus. As often happens to best-laid plans, circumstances changed, and I began to seek alternative prospects and career paths. While I would have loved the opportunity to spend my days doing something I knew I was passionate about, I am thankful that life pushed me to pursue other avenues, discovering subjects and disciplines I never knew I could become entirely engrossed in.

Although what I studied in college is strikingly dissimilar to what I am doing now, Hillsdale still prepared me to be successful in the workplace by giving me the confidence and ability to know how to learn. The biggest gift that a Hillsdale education gave me was not the answer “four” to the question, “What does two plus two equal?”, but rather the understanding of how to find that answer. This allowed me to make the jump from my collegiate studies to the professional world with relative ease.

When I began my current role, I had no real medical background. My studies in psychology may have helped me understand where parts of the brain are located and what their functions are, but I had no true clinical knowledge. As I got more rooted in my role, my curious side—the side that flourished and became more amplified at Hillsdale—took hold, allowing me to learn an incredible amount of information and use that knowledge to assist in the education of medical professionals across the country.

Again I find myself in an environment bursting with brilliant minds that are full of information I desire to know. It’s exciting to me that I managed to find a role post-Hillsdale that allows me to continue pursuing knowledge and, ultimately, truth.

Kelsey Drapkin graduated from Hillsdale College in 2015 with a B.S. in Political Economy.