St. Edward graduate dropped out of school and is now heading to medical school
In 2015, after dropping out of college in Colorado, Lorenzo Canseco moved to Austin for a new start in life.
He had heard of St. Edward University, but I didn’t know much about it. As an emergency medic and firefighter in Hays County, Canseco learned more about Austin Liberal Arts University from a mentor.
“He had a story similar to mine,” says Canseco, 26. “He moved here and changed his life. He said St. Ed’s was the best experience he could have asked for. He told me, ‘Quit your job and become a doctor. Go apply today.’ “
Canseco followed his advice. Despite the pandemic, after two years of studying science at St. Ed’s, he joined 618 other graduates who “walked the stage” at various ceremonies between May 10 and May 12.
He wasn’t the only older student on campus, nor the only one working virtually.
St. Ed spokeswoman Sandra Zaragoza confirmed that academics recently noticed a sharp increase in older students returning to school at the undergraduate level. They would have “rethought” their life goals and, because of the pandemic, they wanted to go back to school and finish their studies.
Austin Community College also saw an increase in enrollment among mature students from fall 2019 to fall 2020. The fastest growing age group, 25 to 30 – around Canseco’s age – has fallen from 14.4 percent of the total of students at 15 percent.
For its part, Canseco, enlisted just before the start of the pandemic. From the start he took difficult courses such as physics, genetics and ethics.
“I said to myself: I’m going to graduate in two years,” he says. “It meant taking 16 to 18 credit hours per semester, plus the summer semester. I said, ‘I’m here to work, I’m ready to do it.’
Even Canseco was surprised by his newfound discipline and energy.
“I never had a 4.0,” he says. “But I said, ‘I’m going to have all the A’s.’ I was terrified. But I did. ‘
A promising student in Colorado
Canseco was born in Friendswood, a suburb of Houston. His father, Carlos Canseco, born in Laredo (whose family is from Monterrey, Nuevo León), retired from his careers in engineering, real estate and parts manufacturing. His mother, Jane Kullerd Canseco, a descendant of Norwegian immigrants in Louisiana, retired from interior design.
At one point in her career, Jane wrote projects for engineers at Union Carbide, where Carlos worked. Their son revel in the story of his parents’ devious romance.
“They dated for a few years and then broke up,” he says. “The two got married. Mom had a child, my brother. Both divorced. Mom calls dad out of the blue one day, ‘Hey, I miss you. I want to reconnect. “They hit it off, got married and I was born. So star-crossed lovers.”
Canseco, who speaks with crisp courtesy, says he was an overweight and introverted child.
“I loved reading, playing the piano and the trumpet, playing video games,” he says. “No sports and I’m not involved in school groups. But I had the best home life a child could dream of. At school I struggled to make friends. It’s weird to look back and think it was me. In high school things were sort of started to change. ”
Lorenzo attended Steamboat Springs High School in Colorado. His favorite subjects were social studies, history and sociology. He graduated in 2012.
“I honestly only started to appreciate science at university,” he says. “Science and math was none of my business. At the University of Colorado, I thought I wanted to be a nurse, because I had worked in a home for the aged. I discovered that not only was I good at science, but that I was thriving. I was eager to read material. I was immediately hooked. Wow, this is where I want to be. “
So why did Canseco quit in 2015?
“I enjoyed university life,” he says with a smile. “I started to do wrong. I failed at one point and went on probation. I thought, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing here.’ I had neither direction nor conduct. “
Moving to Austin for a New Beginning
A change of location seemed necessary. Canseco chose Austin in part because he had friends here and because of the city’s promise of opportunity. Austin’s culture seemed close to that of Colorado. His parents moved to Round Top, halfway between Canseco and his brother, who had a new child in Houston.
He landed a job at Snooze, the hot breakfast.
“I loved this place,” Canseco says. “I said, ‘I’m going to take this position. I will act like an adult. “”
He wanted to land in the medical field. The fastest way was to become an EMT, then an EMT volunteer firefighter with the South Hays Fire Department.
It was not enough.
“I needed to become a doctor,” he says. “I have been volunteering with the South Hays Fire Department since 2017. But I’m here to be a doctor.
Once on duty, paramedics instructed him to go to hospital with a victim of a heart attack.
“The surgeons grabbed me and asked, ‘Do you want to come and watch the surgery? “” Says Canseco. “I went to the cath lab with a team of nurses, technicians and surgeons. I thought, ‘I have arrived. I am where I want to be for the rest of my life. “I was addicted to the high-pitched, intense rhythm. So for me the future had to be in the areas of emergency, anesthesia or surgery.”
Keeping an eye on the medical ball
The long stages caused by the pandemic alone have helped Canseco focus on that future. Using downtime, he applied to every Texas public medical school, while spending 500 hours studying for the medical school entrance exam.
“I got a score of 520, so in the 98th percentile,” he says. “I was invited to interview at six schools and I was accepted at three. I chose UT Health-San Antonio.”
The medical school is named after Austin philanthropists Joe Long and the Teresa Lozano Long, recently deceased, who grew up in poverty in rural Texas, but has donated more than $ 150 million, much of it to health sciences, education and the arts. Their names also adorn the Long Center for the Performing Arts and the Teresa Lozano Long Institute for Latin American Studies.
“I only recently realized how many places I’ve seen with the name ‘Long’ in central Texas,” says Canseco, who begins at Long School in the last week of July.
“From there it’s the accelerator pedal,” he says with a big smile. “They start immediately. You have two weeks for Christmas, then you’re back, and it’s the gas pedal again.”
Reflecting on the chance of landing on his feet like this after a few stumbles, Canseco is fully aware that a career in emergency medicine can do a lot of good.
“The impact is huge,” he says. “It’s no secret that health care in this country is a little broken, or a lot broken. I want to work alongside EMS to reach vulnerable people even before they get to the emergency room. They come to the emergency room and just need health care. awful position to put people in. “
Obviously, Canseco has grown a lot since leaving college six years ago.
“When you look at your own life, sometimes you see the whole picture,” he says. “I have been blessed so many times along the way. I am a spiritual person. I believe that some things have fallen on my knees. Not everyone has these opportunities. I hope in my career I could give these opportunities to other people. “
Michael Barnes writes about the people, places, culture and history of Austin and Texas. he can be reached at [email protected]