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The Scarlet & Black

Jackson Breshears


For Jackson Breshears ’21, the core of the Grinnell experience comes down to one thing: community.

“I think it’s a super special thing here in Grinnell, having so many different, eclectic, fun, cool people coming in to the same small town … being able to get to know one another and interact,” he said.

A basketball player who’s been on the College team since his first year at Grinnell, Breshears said he made an effort to branch out into other activities as well. He joined other extracurricular and athletic groups throughout his time at Grinnell, saying that his favorite part of the experience was “meeting people from a greater community” in each new activity he tried.

And the ability to find new communities wasn’t limited to non-academic activities for Breshears: when he decided before the start of his third year that he wanted to go to medical school after graduation, the resulting new classes he began to take became a strong new source of community.

“I completely flipped my schedule around a few days before classes started in the fall,” he said, of the year he decided to prepare to go to medical school. “My first class was this gen chem class with a bunch of first years, and from there they’ve pretty much become some of my best friends. … It’s fostered a really cool community that I’m super thankful to be a part of.”

Breshears continued to work on his pre-med requirements for the following semesters, and eventually completed all but two required courses. Although he’d taken full advantage of the open curriculum in his first two years at the College and tried out courses in many different subjects (he initially thought he might be a political science major), he said that his decision to go into medicine was one he’d been considering for a long time.

The medical field has many draws for Breshears; to list a few, he said, “I love spending time with people, I love being there for people, because I appreciate it when people are there for me and I’d want to do the same for them and I just think the scientific aspect is super interesting.”

This summer, Breshears will be living in Grinnell and training as an EMT in Des Moines, with the intention of working as an EMT later on while he finishes his pre-med requirements. It’s a little extra time he’ll get to spend in the College and town community – although, as Breshears learned this year, you can make a community anywhere

Breshears’s brother also attends Grinnell, and he says that although they’d previously lived more independently of each other, things changed once the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“We decided that we wanted to stick together for the year, and so we ended up going to a small, really rural town in Virginia and staying at one of our friends’ farmhouses there,” he said.

Breshears says the group of friends they were staying with were second years at Grinnell, so he previously didn’t know all of them especially well. But through the unexpected circumstances that resulted in the group living together, he said, “I got to know a lot of these other guys that I wouldn’t have necessarily been as close to before. … It really turned into an amazing situation.”

Back in Grinnell now, Breshears reflected that he and the rest of the class of 2021 never really got a normal end to their third or fourth year, and as a result, he said, he’s glad to have the summer ahead in the local area instead of immediately moving somewhere else. “I’ll be more ready to say goodbye at the end of the summer,” he said.

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