Brian Greathouse, '12, is considering a career as an emergency room doctor or a trauma surgeon, and he can make connections between that line of work and the minutes he's currently logging as the starting goalkeeper for the Albion College men's soccer team.
"I'm addicted to the adrenaline rush," Greathouse said. "One of the biggest parallels is that in the emergency room you can be having a slow night and all of the sudden a patient comes in and you instantly have to snap back in gear. In goalkeeping, you see a situation coming at you and have to make a decision. It's instinctual. I get into [the decision-making process] after going through the repetition of practice so many times.
"Anybody that succeeds at any task has to be confident," he added. "I believe I'm going to do the best job [at any task] and no one is going to do it better. It also provides motivation to improve if you don't achieve the desired result. The biggest key to my success is believing I can do it."
Greathouse is weighing his medical school options after scoring in the 99th percentile on the Medical College Admission Test, but the journey wasn't entirely smooth. The Dearborn native admits to getting off to a slow start academically. Lulled into a false sense of security based on his high school background, Greathouse pursued social outlets.
His academic career blossomed, however, when he took the 200-level organic chemistry classes and joined teammate Josh Deuel, '12, in Professor Cliff Harris' lab in the quest to develop a more environmentally friendly method to oxidize amino alcohols. Amino alcohols are the set of active atoms found in beta blockers , which serve as common heart medicines.
"I took two semesters of inorganic my first year and I said I'm never going to be a chemistry major because I hated it," Greathouse said. "The ability to relate organic to real-life processes is what influenced me the most. Organic chemistry explains the universal processes of life, such as why plants grow and why bodies act the way they do.
"[The work in Harris' lab] started as required class work and carried over into an independent study during the spring semester of my sophomore year," he added. "I understood the chemical reactions so it was easier for me to conceptualize the synthesis process. I wanted medical schools to see that I could take initiative to do the work and put the project on my own shoulders."
In addition to his work on campus, Greathouse also spent a summer in the Detroit Receiving Hospital's ER researching quicker and more accurate ways to assess traumatic brain injuries.
Since his first year at Albion, Greathouse has worked to find the appropriate balance between his academic, athletic, and social pursuits. With significant chunks of time set aside for soccer in the fall months, he has utilized every available minute – studying on bus rides to road matches, hustling to the lab after practice or competition, and planning events for the Sigma Chi fraternity.
"I don't want to miss out on anything," Greathouse said. "It is important for me to have school and sports while maintaining relationships with other people.
"You have to be able to interact with people, and I've found the search to find well-rounded individuals to be a point of emphasis in applying for medical school," he added. "There are tons of people who can study all day and score in the high 30s on the MCAT, but can they have an exchange of dialogue with the patient? If you don't possess that social set, the job is a lot harder. I think people get too caught up in the rush to get things done."
Harris is proud to hold up Greathouse as an example of what Albion students can become if they are open to exploring the possibilities.
"Many people think of fraternity members and jocks as not good students, but that's just not true at Albion," Harris said. "Brian is a great example of the kid who was able to grow into an Albion student. He grew into a capable, organized, successful young man in several aspects."