I completed my doctorate in Clinical Health Psychology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Yeshiva University, Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology.
I was one of only a few non-Jewish students in my graduate program. The majority were orthodox Jews. I was raised on a farm in rural Upstate New York, and attended a nearby high school that was anything but diverse in its student population.
Moving to the Bronx was certainly eye-opening, to say the very least. For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by students who did not identify as Christian in their religious beliefs and practices.
It was initially somewhat unsettling, to be perfectly honest. I had never before experienced what it was like to be a minority, so to speak. However, I soon became very fascinated by the lifestyles of the women with whom I was attending class. We both had an extreme appreciation for learning, and a deep love of knowledge.
Despite our religious differences, we truly had a lot in common, in many respects. Never having previously attended a Jewish university, I was surprised by all of the additional holidays that were celebrated. This was especially true during the fall semester, with the celebrations of Rosh Hashanah and Hanukah.
I became very interested in learning more about the specific religious practices and customs of the students with whom I was studying. However, their orthodox lifestyles did not necessarily lend themselves to such open scrutiny from outsiders.
I will always value my experiences at Yeshiva University. It truly gave me a profound appreciation for what it feels like to be a minority.