Student Spotlight: Amanda Bernardi – History Grad, Future Optometrist
Amanda Bernardi was named the 2022-223 Outstanding Senior History Major, an award voted on and bestowed by the History faculty at Baylor. A History major on the pre-Health track, Amanda combined her interests with a dedication to her studies, shaping her future plans to attend optometry school in Boston after graduation. Since Amanda graduated in May 2023, we asked about her experience at Baylor and some advice for current and upcoming history majors.
Why did you decide to major in history? You want to be a doctor, right?
"There are many reasons I decided to be a history major. I believe that humility is a skill that needs to be cultivated, rather than a characteristic that people naturally possess. When reading primary sources in history, you have to learn to set aside any pre-existing notions you have about a person/place/time/event (whether they may be true or false) in order to truly see the author's message. That, to me, is humility."
How would you describe the history faculty?
"While most professors at Baylor are kind, I truly believe the history professors are next level. The bounty of love, humor, and compassion that they bring in the classroom makes all feedback constructive and thus fosters a safe, fun, and honest community."
What advice do you have for history students at Baylor?
"My advice to students in the History department is to do everything intentionally and with an open mind. Every reading, assignment, essay, etc. is an opportunity for you to learn about individuals who lived real lives, ideologies that impacted these lives, and events the individuals engaged in to change their lives. I advise you to take these opportunities seriously and fully engage in your studies. Coincidentally, this will lead to a better understanding of the subject matter and thus higher grades, but don't make final grades your only goal. There is so much more you can get out of your education here at Baylor."
Any other words of wisdom?
"Another piece of advice I have is to learn how your brain works. While it's important to know how long it takes you to read a dense secondary source, whether you write best in the morning or at night, and what note-taking system keeps you most engaged during class, it also means so much more. Learn what you need for your brain to be in a healthy state... For me, that means making friends in my classes and taking walks around campus in my study breaks. Personally, it also meant talking to mental health professionals and learning that I have OCD. After these diagnoses, I've learned so much about how my brain processes information, why I engage in certain habits, and what certain emotions actually mean for me. I encourage anyone and everyone to take advantage of the free mental health screening at the SLC because that's where my mental health journey started."
As Amanda looks forward to pursuing her dreams in optometry school, her passion for history will continue to inform her approach to patient care. By embracing humility, understanding the complexities of individual lives, and appreciating the impact of historical events, she aims to provide compassionate and holistic care to her future patients. Amanda Bernardi reminds us of the transformative power of interdisciplinary pursuits and the importance of self-discovery within our educational journey.