Raised Down South, Educated Up North

Spencer Twigg
Spencer Twigg

Spencer Twigg is a full-time MS in Health Care Management Candidate at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. He has a Bachelor of Science in Commerce & Business Administration from the University of Alabama. Following graduation in August 2016, Spencer will begin his administrative residency with Community Health Systems training to become CEO of a rural community-based hospital.

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If you told me a year ago that I would be living in Baltimore today, I would’ve laughed in disbelief. I grew up in a small town in rural Alabama. When I say small town, I mean “up-until-my-sophomore-year-of-high-school-we-only-had-one-traffic-light” small. My educational journey began at the University of Alabama where I received my Bachelor of Science in Commerce & Business Administration with a concentration in Healthcare Management.

When I began looking into graduate schools for healthcare administration, I decided to broaden my horizons and look into schools outside of the Deep South. I wanted a different experience from that of my undergrad, which is exactly what I got.

Coming straight from undergrad in the South to grad school in the North was about as dissimilar of an experience as you could ask for. Pretty much every part of my life flipped upside-down:

Large: Small
Public: Private
Conservative: Liberal
Crimson: Blue
Athletics: Academics
College town: Urban campus

… and this is just to name a few. This type of transition is one that forces growth and pushes you beyond your comfort zone to become well rounded.

What I like the most about my path is that, through my education, I have managed to achieve the perfect balance between work and play. I wouldn’t trade the fun and memories I made the past four years in Tuscaloosa for anything. I now have the opportunity to build new friendships that will last a lifetime with students from all over the world.

I’ll admit, it hasn’t been the easiest transition; however, beyond the culture shock, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here in Baltimore. I have grown more as a person during my time here than I previously thought possible. Adaptability is an important life skill that can only be acquired through learning experiences such as mine. This has been an extraordinary opportunity that many people I grew up with will never have, and for that I am extremely grateful. I plan to give back to rural communities like the one I was raised in by improving patient care in hospitals.

Do I miss SEC football, ESPN Gameday tailgates, and cheering on the Crimson Tide in stadiums with 108,000 of my closest friends?

Every day.

Will I miss walking to and from class along the harbor side promenade every day?

Most certainly.

I know that I made the right choice by attending Hopkins. I’ve had opportunities to research with the National Institutes of Health and work on quality improvement projects at one of the world’s leading hospitals. Carey garners healthcare resources found only at Johns Hopkins to provide me with an excellent education in the business of healthcare.

I have made the most of this accelerated year by graduating with my Master’s degree 1 to 2 years ahead of many of my peers in traditional programs. During my fellowship interviews, my age was often a topic of interest my experience. The rigorous curriculum of this program fast-tracked me to start my residency at 23, and helped me realize my goal of becoming a hospital CEO by 30.

Following graduation in August, I will begin my professional career as the youngest administrative fellow at the largest for-profit hospital system in the nation. I feel fully prepared for this next step as a result of the personal development I’ve gained during my time at Carey. I attribute a great deal of my success to the faculty at JHU and UA. I am excited for the milestones ahead as my journey continues and thankful that the Charm City has been a part of my growth.

Roll Tide.

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