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Humans of the U: Sydney Haslem

“I have wanted to be a doctor since I was 5 years old. My dad was an addict and he passed away when I was about 5. Being able to help people in his situation is really important to me. This past year, I’ve been working as a medical assistant at an outpatient drug rehab.

I am a step-parent and having my son come into my life deepened my commitment to help people. Losing a parent at a young age has made it really important to me to be stable and present for my son.

When my dad died, my mom didn’t have a job and that was really hard. I want to have a good career that I can support my family with. Pre-med is difficult and this desire to help my family and help others is why I am pushing through.

I’m almost done with my degree and I am so excited. I have to do an internship and I am looking forward to that. I like all the classes I’m taking and I feel like I have finally gotten in my groove of balancing being a mom and being a student.

One thing that I have loved about my college experience is participating in labs. They have been a really important tool for me in grasping challenging material. When you are in classes like organic chemistry, it can be hard to understand why certain things are important during a lecture. But then you go to a lab and it’s like ‘Oh, this is how it’s done.’ It’s really cool to see all of the work you’ve put into learning stuff come together.

My advice for balancing being a student and a parent is to prioritize your mental health over everything. You’ve got to make time for yourself. It has helped me a ton to schedule my day in a lot of detail, which might be crazy, but then I know when I am going to do things like get my homework done. It helps me not only be a more present parent, but I’m also being a more present student.”

—Sydney Haslem, a pre-med senior from Mapleton, Utah