“You only think you know everything”
Marion class of 2019 valedictorian Emmy Hess graduated this spring from the University of Kansas with a bachelors’ degrees in human biology and Spanish.
Her immediate plan is a 13-month mission trip to Central America. After that, she’s off to medical school.
She doesn’t yet know which medical school she will attend but wants to become a doctor of osteopathy.
“I will apply while I’m overseas and then go to school in the fall,” Hess said.
If she could give advice to this year’s graduating seniors, it would be to learn more about life than they already think they know.
“I would tell them to put themselves out there, travel to new places, talk to new people, and broaden their horizons,” she said. “The best way to do that is by experience with new people.”
Her biggest adjustment after leaving Marion was getting used to a busier city and more diverse atmosphere, but that did a lot for her personal growth. She is not the person she would have been if she hadn’t done that.
“Getting used to the diversity took me a little while, but the diversity was one of the best things for me,” she said. “With a diverse population, you learn a lot of new ideas.”
When she struggled with those adjustments, she called her family a lot, went to therapy when she needed it, and got involved with other people to socialize.
Looking back, she realizes how little she actually knew about life when she walked across the stage at her high school graduation.
“You only think you know everything coming out of high school, and you don’t,” she said.
She recommends spending time figuring out what people want to do with their lives.
“Challenging your own ideas and really learning things is a great thing,” she said.
She doesn’t see herself returning to Marion County because it doesn’t offer the opportunity to fulfill her ultimate goal of helping marginalized Hispanic people have better access to health care.
“I don’t think I’d be able to do that in Marion County,” she said.
Paying for college was easy because she got many scholarships. She had to take out only a few small loans.
“Most of my education was paid for by KU,” she said.
Last modified May 25, 2023