Accomplished University College Student Prepares for Medical School

by ABBY TOMLINSON

March 09, 2011

At just 20 years old, Pavan Attaluri already accomplished a lot. After earning his undergraduate degree in only two-and-a-half years, a Bachelor of General Studies from Texas Tech University's University College, Attaluri immediately began work on a Master of Business Administration (MBA), also from Texas Tech. He will graduate in May 2012 with a concentration in Health Organization Management - just in time to begin medical school at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Fall 2012. Attaluri said he is both excited and nervous about the upcoming challenge of medical school.

"I don't know what to expect, but I definitely want to practice medicine. I definitely want to specialize, even if it takes three more years of school. Many people decide it's worth it, and they're getting specialized," Attaluri explained.

Because he aspired to practice medicine, Attaluri enrolled in a program after high school, Undergraduate to Medical School Initiative (USMI), that would allow him automatic admission to medical school, assuming he could meet a number of requirements. Even though he earned his bachelor's degree in less than three years, the UMSI program requires a four-year time span between high school and medical school. To fulfill this regulation and the time he had on his hands, he decided to earn his MBA through Texas Tech after he completed his undergraduate work.

"If I want to, at some point in the future, I'll also be able to go into hospital administration," Attaluri said of the benefits of earning his MBA.

Attaluri is humble about his achievements; he is the product of a highly accomplished Ft. Worth, Texas, family that clearly emphasized the importance of education, travel, and appreciation of culture. As a child and throughout his teenage years, Attaluri and his family traveled abroad extensively; he visited England, France, Spain, Italy, China and India, among others during his youth. Because his uncle practices medicine in Manchester, England, Attaluri has had the opportunity to visit the region often and, subsequently, he developed an affection for the country.

His family, comprised largely of physicians and business owners, also influenced his decision to enter the medical field, and the benefits of the USMI program motivated him to enroll at Texas Tech. He said he chose the Bachelor of General Studies program because it allowed him to pursue three areas of concentration; he had interests in biology, chemistry and Spanish, and he wanted the opportunity to study abroad in Spain. He also said he liked the way University College staff dealt with students.

"I just thought that everyone at UC was so cool, really nice. You know, the advisors know my name here," Attaluri said. "I really liked it here. I walked into the dean's office and he was willing to meet with me - you just couldn't do that at other colleges." The BGS gave him the freedom that a traditional undergraduate degree could not, and ultimately allowed him to study abroad in Spain without jeopardizing his degree program.

"I really wanted to take Spanish and study abroad, and see a whole different culture, so that's why I really chose this," Attaluri said of the BGS. "Tech has a place in Seville, instead of Barcelona or Madrid or those huge cities. I think it's better that way because when you're there, you just get lost. We were able to really get into the culture and hang out with people who actually live there, rather than just study abroad people."

Attaluri said that another one of the benefits of the study abroad program was the host family system. Texas Tech students are placed in the homes of Spanish families, which gives them the opportunity to absorb the language and customs of the country.

"You realize you know much more when you have to speak it. I think it's a good way to learn; just immerse yourself and you have to speak it," Attaluri said of his experiences using his Spanish skills abroad.

Although he has a passion for travel, Attaluri said he plans to start his career in Texas and spend his life in either Ft. Worth or Austin. Luckily, that will put him near his family, with whom he is very close.

"I'm really close with my dad because when I was younger, we drove so much for all of my tennis tournaments," Attaluri said. "My mom still calls me every other day." Attaluri also said he is close with his younger brother, a high school senior who is currently making the decision between attending Texas Tech University for undergrad and medical school or Harvard, where he will be able to play tennis at the collegiate level. Both brothers have an affinity for sports; in his free time, Attaluri is active in intramurals.

"Growing up I played a lot of tennis. National tournaments, state tournaments - but we had kind of a bad breakup my junior year in high school. But, I've always played every sport I can," Attaluri said. "So now I have a football team, basketball team, volleyball, soccer. We're practicing basketball right now, it starts in a week."

Because of their closeness, the family will continue to travel together, Attaluri said, and since he is the unofficial planner, he has several big trips in mind. The upcoming vacation will be a celebration of his 21st birthday in Las Vegas. After his graduation in May 2012, he wants to travel through Asia with a friend and meet his parents and brother in India to visit family members that still live there.

Even though he has many years of school ahead, Attaluri said he is excited about his future and, at least for the next few years, his home will be in Lubbock.

"I really don't feel like I've graduated, to be honest. Nothing really changed at all," Attaluri said. "I like Lubbock, it's one of those towns you just grow to love."

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