Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University

Allison Gockley '08


Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pa

Majors: Philosophy/ Pre-Med

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Women’s Lacrosse
  • Kappa Alpha Theta (Scholarship Chair 2006)
  • Classroom Volunteer through Literacy Campaign
  • Alpha Epsilon Delta (Pre-Health Honor Society)
  • Phi Eta Sigma (Freshmen Honor Society)
  • Order of Omega (Greek Life Honor Society)

Off-Campus Experiences:

  • University of St. Andrew’s, Scotland in Fall 2006
  • 3 years of summer internships within the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (both clinical and research based work)

Post-Graduation Plans: Medical School

Favorite Class: Modern Political Philosophy with Professor Eduardo Velasquez

Favorite Campus Landmark: The view of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the lacrosse field!

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When I began the college search process, I wanted it all. I wanted a university where I could be a pre-med student, a philosophy major, an athlete and still have meaningful friendships. And when I visited Washington and Lee for the first time, I was convinced by the students and the admissions officers that this was the place for me.

And sure enough it was! By the end of freshmen year, I had made the lacrosse team and committed myself to both a major in philosophy and the pre-med track. I had joined a sorority and made great friends.

I had also learned that having it all was a lot to handle. As I ran from biology lab to lacrosse practice late one afternoon, both lab notebook and lacrosse stick in tow, I realized that striking a balance between academics and athletics was hard work.

But all the hard work is made bearable by the extraordinary professors, coaches and mentors I have found here. My professors are tireless, holding extra office hours,and even coming to campus on a Sunday night make themselves available to me. And not only are they available, they truly engage with me. When I was struggling with organic chemistry, feeling like I was putting in hour upon and hour and still not mastering the material, one of my mentors explained that studying for organic is like a lacrosse practice. I can’t just jump into a scrimmage or tough synthesis problem--my mind needs to warm-up and cool down, just like my muscles, to function at its best.

Similarly, my coaches have always understood the delicate balance between athletics and academics, and they are invested in the team’s academic success. In my meetings with the coaches, they want to know about how my classes are going and overall about life off the field. While the balance is something I work hard to maintain every day, there has never been a question in my mind that W&L is a community where it is not only achievable, but encouraged.

At W&L I have been nurtured as a scientist, philosopher, athlete and friend by professors, coaches and mentors. All of these people have helped me to see that I not sometimes an athlete or sometimes a student, but rather I am always both. W&L has helped me to synthesize these disparate parts of myself into a unified person who calls upon skills from each of these areas, no matter which role I am filling. Being an athlete has made me a better student, and being a student has made me a better athlete. I cannot envision a better outcome of my college career than to carry this confident sense of who I am into the next chapter of my life.

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