Meet Amber, a chemistry major with a minor in biology who receives the HOPE scholarship.
Why did you pick your major?
I like science and I want to do something to help people. A lot of people need medicine and I want to make it for them.
Where are you from?
What do you do in your free time?
Sleep. That’s all I have time to do, really. I have classes from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. three days a week and the days I’m not at school I have to do quizzes, read the chapters, study, and prepare for the GRE and PKAT, which I’m taking in the summer.
How does HOPE help you the most?
It pays for my tuition. I only have to pay for living expenses, housing, and about $400 in fees — although I do spend at least $200-300 on books even with the HOPE book stipend. That stipend is only $150. That’s only gonna cover one book. I’m not complaining, though! Better that they cover one book than no book.
What would you do if you lost HOPE?
I would take out federal loans. I’d probably have to do something drastic. I’d have a really hard time.
What advice would you give to someone who is having trouble keeping HOPE?
Don’t slack off. Time management is extremely, extremely important — probably the most important thing in college. Also, if you know you’re going to fail a class before the drop date, go ahead and withdraw. It’s better to withdraw and retake the class later than to get an F and let your GPA go down.
Oh, and don’t do drugs. And don’t party too much. And don’t let your boyfriend suck away your life.
Did you know in high school that you'd be able to get and keep this scholarship?
Yes. I was confident. Should I have been? Maybe not. It’s been a lot harder to keep it than I thought it would be.
How do you study for exams?
The way I learn is by writing. I go to class, take notes, highlight from the book, and write everything down again. I do a whole review. If I don’t write it down I probably won’t remember it.
Would you describe yourself as a "scholarly" person?
I guess so. I go to school and I like learning about stuff in my field. I don’t care for history or English really, but psychology, biology and chemistry stimulate my mind a lot more than anything else.
How many hours a week do you spend making sure you keep your grades up?
In a week, I spend between 30 - 40% of my time on school. That doesn't include sleep.
What's the hardest class you've taken at Georgia State?
Organic chemistry. The concepts are a lot different than general chemistry. Everyone says you’re either better at one or the other, and I’m definitely better at general chemistry.
What do you find to be the most distracting from your studies?
Probably the Internet — mostly Facebook and Netflix.
How would you advise others to avoid these distractions?
Time management. Plan out a schedule for every day for every hour you’re going to study for every class. Apparently you’re supposed to study three hours to each credit hour in order to make an A. I don’t really do that. I probably study six hours per week for each class, which is probably why I don’t make all As. It’s tough to manage time efficiently.
What are your plans for the future?
I want to either go to pharmacy school or go to grad school for pharmacology. A chemistry-biology degree is best for either of those. That’s why I’m taking both the PKAT and the GRE, because I haven’t yet decided which way I’m headed. I definitely want to do something pharmaceutical.
In high school I thought I wanted to be a psychiatrist because I thought I wanted to prescribe drugs. Then I realized I was more interested in creating the medicine than giving it out. I liked chemistry and biology in high school. It’s definitely an interesting field.
Have you ever wanted to do anything else?
Yes, I have. I sometimes feel like being a chemist won’t really help everyone because people who are getting medicine are still paying for it. While I could discover something that could help people with a certain disease, I feel that it’s still not doing enough. I’m also not sure it will make me happy. I decided to continue on the pharmaceutical track because it does interest me so I feel like I will like it when I get there but I do wonder if there’s something I would like more, like educating teenagers about contraceptive methods. I feel like maybe that’s a little more important than making medicine for rich people.