Swet Patel is a student from Parsippany, New Jersey studying at The College of New Jersey (’16) where he majors in Psychology with a Biopsychology specialization. After researching the program online and spending time on the website reading the profiles of mentors, testimonials from past cohorts, and seeing the grad school roll for previous interns, Swet decided to apply and become an intern with Project L/EARN seeing that it would be his best option to provide him with a platform that will springboard him in the right direction. Swet’s dream is to attend medical school while pursuing a joint MPH degree. It is his goal to continue working with the underprivileged and to start his own clinic in an urban area in the future.
During the summer, Swet had the opportunity to work with his mentor, Dr. Beth Angell and has come to really appreciate her constant support and words of encouragement. Swet and his mentor worked on a project looking at community reentry of offenders with mental illness, specifically studying how to improve study retention following institutional transitions. Reflecting on the summer, Swet says “My mentor has never made me feel as if I am simply an undergraduate student. Rather, she treats me as her colleague which is one thing I greatly admire. When I collaborate ideas with her, I feel as if I am truly gaining professional research experience.”
The best aspect of Project L/EARN for Swet was the opportunity to engage in high caliber work – whether it was working with his mentor on his paper or in participating in the countless guest lectures. He believes he has truly been immersed in graduate level work which has been challenging, yet rewarding. Swet says: “It has been an amazing opportunity to bond and connect with my cohort. We all have many weaknesses, but collectively we are a strength.” Though the rapid pace of the program proved to be the most challenging aspect of Project L/EARN, Swet found that the staff, his cohort, and his mentor all helped make the program manageable. Swet advises future interns to “Never panic. When things get tough, talk to your cohort, they are all experiencing the same level of stress. Also, always talk to your instructors, TAs, and directors whenever you are stressed. At first, they seem scary but they are definitely a thread of support that will keep you sane when things get rough.”