Coming to a school like Blackburn can be difficult for students who aren’t used to the small-town life, however students quickly embrace the close-knit atmosphere that Blackburn provides. John Esparza grew up in Brookfield, IL, no more than 15 miles from Chicago. Between attending his high school as one of six to eight thousand students and beginning his college career at Michigan State, Esparza went through culture shock stepping on to the Blackburn campus. Luckily, he was quick to adapt.
Now in his junior year at Blackburn as a Biology Pre-Med major, John has an innate desire to help people and dreams of becoming a reconstructive surgeon. Years ago in his first grade classroom, John was stuck by a video of children being bullied for having cleft palates. He now wants to make it his life goal to do pro bono work for children in the third world with physical deformities so they never have to go through a terrible onslaught of bullying. John hopes after graduating from med school to work with the group Doctors without Borders.
John’s need to help and be around people stretches beyond his future career plans. He currently works as a resident assistant, a work position he has always wanted to hold. “You’ve got to want to help people. The RA provides a better college experience by creating programs for students to better enjoy their surroundings,” he said.
Working hard and studying hard aren’t the only ways John spends his time. He also plays hard, pitching for the Blackburn College Baseball team. He loves playing alongside his team and under the guidance of Coach Mike Neal. “Comradery is the best thing about the baseball team. We are more than just teammates. We are like a family” said John.
Coming to Blackburn was made all the easier for John by the overall friendly nature of the campus. “Here people actually stop and say hello. They actually seem to care,” he said. When he’s not studying or practicing baseball, Esparza really enjoys working out or hanging out with his friends. He is also an orientation leader, which has allowed him to meet new students and make new friends.
John is also heavily active in club activities for Blackburn College. He even began the Red Cross Club on campus and has spent time trying to build it up as a permanent fixture. He devotes still more of his time to being a member of the Pre-Health Professions Club. He’s embracing what the club can teach him for his future plans as a doctor and how to prepare himself for the MCAT. John’s desire to help shines through further when he sees his fellow students struggling in class. If he believes he is proficient enough he will offer his services as a tutor.
John is not sure what will come for him directly after graduating from Blackburn. He of course wants to attend medical school but is not sure where he will conduct his studies. He has decided it is best to first focus on the MCAT exam and then focus on medical school admission.