When Jon Carnahan decided to attend the School of Science, he was stepping outside of his comfort zone. Four years later, he’s glad he did because of the opportunities he found. Carnahan completed two years of interdisciplinary research in a global health and science education project sponsored by the National Science Foundation. He also became actively involved in student organizations such as the Chemistry Club, Biology Club, Pre-Med Club, and Forensic Science Club.
Carnahan was chosen to give remarks on behalf of class of 2014 during the School of Science’s commencement ceremonies. This fall, he will attend the Marion University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Indianapolis to begin training as a physician.
Read Carnahan’s speech given during the commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 11, 2014:
Growing up outside a small town on a family-owned dairy farm, I didn’t know what diversity was until I came to IUPUI. Attending the third largest university in the state, in the 13th largest city in the U.S., was a stretch for me. My hometown only has one stoplight, that’s right, one stoplight! There are literally more stoplights on the IUPUI campus than in my entire city—so to say I went through some cultural shock was an understatement. In my small high school, where everybody knows everybody and their families, meeting new people and being involved was really easy for me. Coming to IUPUI, I quickly learned this would not be the same case. When I started as a freshman, I didn’t know anybody and I didn’t know where anything was in Indy! It took most of my freshman year to adjust to this different lifestyle and to start finding my niche at IUPUI. Feeling constrained because of my introverted personality and insecurity, I stuck to what I knew, which was my schoolwork.
After several weeks, I was ahead in my classwork and was going to bed at 10 o’clock. This is something I only wish I could experience again! After some time, I became frustrated because I wasn’t having the experiences that I originally thought I would have. I kept hearing about social events, volunteer opportunities and extracurricular activities secondhand after they had passed. It was then I realized that I was much more responsible for my life outside of my courses. With the appeal of free pizza, I started attending the Chemistry Club monthly meetings. Being in general chemistry courses at the time and the professors being closely associated with the club allowed me to meet my professors in an informal, but personable manner.