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May 30, 2020

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15 minutes with Abigail Savino: Living in New York and volunteering in New Orleans

By Torie Wright

Start us off by telling us about your college, your major, and your year.
I am a senior in the Biology program at D’Youville College. D’Youville is a teeny tiny private school located in downtown Buffalo, New York. A little bit different from Ada! To get to Buffalo from Ada it is about a six hour drive, so I don’t come home often.

Do you have any plans for graduate school?
I am graduating in the spring with my Biology degree and hopefully going to Pharmacy school for my graduate schooling. I have appreciated my time at D’Youville but I want to experience a bigger school; I’m interested in going to The Ohio State University. That would be a dream come true!

I haven’t really decided yet as I’m currently in the interview process with a couple of schools. I love D’Youville, don’t get me wrong, but I want to see what else is available for me to become a pharmacist.

Have you had any internships?
I have not. My school only offers internships for the graduate programs, but I have worked in a retail pharmacy for a couple of years so that could kind of count as an internship.

What company would you most like to work for?
I honestly have no idea! Pharmacy is expanding so much now to cover different areas of health care. There is so much to do with a pharmacy doctorate. In graduate school they send us on IPPE visits, mini rotations is how I like to explain them, and we can pick where ever we want to go. It can be retail, hospital, specific concentrations, or even to third world countries to give us some exposure as to what’s available.

What’s been your favorite college experience?
My favorite college experience occurred at the end of my fall semester junior year. I was chosen to be a part of a service trip that my school runs called Lending A Hand. It is a weeklong volunteer trip to New Orleans.

It originally started 12 years ago as a way that my school could give relief to those affected by Hurricane Katrina and our hosting parish in New Orleans gets such positive feedback from the work we do that we continue to help even though there isn’t a lot left to do with Hurricane Katrina.

We met families that were there during the hurricane and hearing their stories is so eye opening and really makes you appreciate that you still have a home and your family. I was chosen to be a part of the team again for this coming December and I could not be more excited to give back some more.

What was the hardest thing about moving away from home? Do you ever miss Ada?
It honestly was terrifying moving so far from home to a place where I knew absolutely no one! 

I was so afraid that I wasn’t going to make friends, which was crazy because I am a pretty easy person to get along with. The first week or so is always rough, I didn’t have “real” friends, if you will; it was mostly me just sitting with random people during meals so I wouldn’t have to sit by myself. Half of the people that came to D’Youville went to high school with each other so there were only a select few who didn’t know anybody else. But I met the girl who is now my best friend and one of my roommates the third day of classes and we instantly clicked.

My other friends I met through classes, my work-study, or the activities I am involved with. I do miss Ada, I’ve known people in Ada my entire life and we’ve grown up together and I don’t have that kind of history with people here.

What do you get most excited for when you’re coming home for breaks?
Seeing my family, friends, and my dog, ha ha! I really like animals so months at a time is a long time to be without animals. I always try to hang out with people when I come home but it is so difficult to get everyone’s schedules to match. Oh, and I miss food that I don’t have to pay for!

How long did it take you to get used to living in Buffalo, New York? What’s your favorite part about the city? Least favorite?
I’ve traveled a lot growing up so getting used to the city didn’t take that long. New York as a state in general, though, is so much different from Ohio — that’s what actually took the most time to get used to. New Yorkers don’t candy-coat anything; they are straight-forward with you, which can be good but sometimes it can be a little much.

My favorite part of the city is that everything is available to you, whereas in Ada you have to drive at least an hour to get to a city. My least favorite part is the noise! After living in the country my whole life, I HATE all the noise at all hours. It can be 5 in the morning and there are fire trucks and ambulance sirens constantly going. It never gets quiet except for when it snows it slows down a little bit.

Have you traveled to any other cities in New York?
I have! I’ve been to Rochester a couple of times; that’s where my best friend is from so I’ve been to her house a few times. I have been to Albany with one of my other roommates before; we drove up to the Adirondack Mountains to visit her cabin and hike. Also I’ve been to Syracuse to visit a friend from school.

I’ve basically hit all of the major cities except for New York City, which I’ve been to but that was before I went to college.  Everyone thinks NYC is in my backyard but it is eight hours away from Buffalo. I am planning on visiting Maddy [Lomax-Vogt] in Alfred, N.Y., sometime this year. I enjoy seeing new places so I am always up to go anywhere!

Do you have any advice for high school seniors considering attending a far-away school?
Don’t psych yourself out! It isn’t as scary out there as people make it seem. Find a great group of friends at college, join clubs, do activities and you’ll feel right at home. Plus your family and friends are only a phone call away.