Briana Echols graduated from UNT in 2014 with a degree in Biology. She then earned a Master of Science studying biotechnology at UT-Tyler and hopes to become a physician’s assistant.
Why did you choose to attend UNT and be a part of the Honors College?
The reason I chose to attend UNT was because of the really wonderful school spirit. I joined the Honors College my freshman year spring semester. My fall semester I didn’t really know anything about the Honors College so I started researching it and read online about it and said “hey I qualify for it,” so that’s how I got into the Honors College.
What was the most valuable thing that you did or lesson that you learned while you were in college?
I think the most valuable stuff I did was being in organizations. I was part of a lot of student organizations and involved in a lot of activities. I also liked volunteering a lot with the leadership office; I did alternative spring break and study abroad. The most valuable thing I did was get involved.
How does your current life compare to what you expected when you were about to graduate?
I wish I would have taken more advanced classes while I was there. I’m trying to go to PA school, so some of the classes that I need I wish I would have done better at UNT. I could have taken more classes and gained more experience, and done more things outside of school. I would volunteer more and take advantage of what the city has to offer.
What have you accomplished that you’re most proud of?
What skills from working at Neiman Marcus will help you in your PA career?
What I’m doing now at Neiman Marcus is just temporary, while I’m doing my (PA school) interviews. Right now, I think the communication skills. I have to communicate with buyers in the office, which helps me when I’m going through my interviews, to be able to articulate myself, be able to talk to people, be able to be social. Communication is a big thing at Neiman Marcus.
Was there anything that surprised you or that you didn’t expect from the application process for going to PA school?
I know one thing was the classes, there are things I should have taken at UNT that I wasn’t aware of. I had to go back to community college and take those classes. I know personally, the hands on experience kind of surprised me too, that we had to have a certain number of contact hours.
What made you choose PA school over other health professions?
First I was pre-med so I wanted to be a doctor so I did a lot of shadowing with physicians and nurses, but I found that that wasn’t really great for me. The interaction they had with their patients was really uniform, it didn't seem like they had a good relationship with their patients. I wanted to get to sit down, talk to them and know a little bit about them. When I saw the physician’s assistants I saw that they actually care for the patients, they take the time to know the patients besides their medical history. They talked about other stuff. That’s why I chose physician’s assistant.
If you could do college over again, what would you do differently?
I would’ve studied more and paid more attention to make As my first semester. I would’ve taken advantage of more opportunities. I did study abroad my junior year, I wish I would’ve started my sophomore year, or freshman year.
Do you have any advice for current college students?
I would tell them to take advantage of every opportunity. Don’t just waste time, take advantage of everything, get involved and make lots of friends.