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In early August, David Bennion (’12, Bio) took part in the “white coat ceremony” at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine in Michigan.

David Bennion's white coat, marking his official entrance into medical schoolThe traditional donning of the signature white garment marks a student’s official entrance into medical school.

The first week of school was mainly orientation, but halfway through his second week, “lots of material is being thrown at us, and at times I have felt a bit overwhelmed,” he wrote in an email.

"Everyone says it's like drinking water from a fire hose. Of course, I didn't fully understand this analogy until I was blasted in the face with the scope of material we must absorb."

He quickly learned the value of his CSU Monterey Bay education.

“I feel that, when compared to my colleagues, I am ahead of the game in several aspects," he said. His classes at CSUMB, especially molecular cell biology and biochemistry, prepared him for the challenges of graduate school.

"Often I see glazed eyes and confusion during instruction, but I feel my education at CSUMB has equipped me for the challenge. In particular, instruction and counseling from Dr. Aparna Sreenivasan and Dr. Henrik Kibak have been integral to my success.”

The Bennion familyIn his second week, Bennion was introduced to the anatomy lab. "Within a short period we were expected to find over 500 structures on our cadavers.

"I can't imagine not being exposed to anatomy before attending medical school," he added. “I took anatomy at CSUMB, so once again I feel like I’m ahead of the game. But the sheer volume of material to learn is intense.”

Bennion came to CSUMB in 2008 after serving in the Marine Corps. He graduated in May, and then drove to Detroit, towing a 4,000-pound trailer behind his SUV. After putting his possessions in storage, he headed off to “my next challenge, Air Force officer training.”

Bennion was selected for a full-ride scholarship in medical school, sponsored by the Air Force. The five-week introductory officer training was held in Montgomery, Ala. “The weather was dreadful – hot and sticky,” he said.

“We learned quite a few leadership principles that I can see myself using in the future as a physician and team player.” And he managed to lose 25 pounds.

The day he finished the training, “I jumped in my car and started the 13-hour drive back to Michigan – never looking back to the sauna they call ‘Sweet Home Alabama.’ ”

He will serve as a physician in the Air Force once he completes his medical training.

Does he have any advice for pre-med students?

“Set goals, don't EVER give up, and take Biology 414.”

Learn about the pre-med program at CSUMB

Learn about the biology program at CSUMB