Thomas Griffin came to The University of Alabama as a chemistry major on the pre-medical track, but he soon discovered a passion for a different side of medicine. With a new major in biological sciences and a minor in sales, Griffin plans to pursue a career in pharmaceutical and medical device sales with the hopes of someday opening his own business.
How did you choose your major? What sparked your interest in the field?
I started off as a chemistry major but changed to biology because I changed my career path from pre-med to focusing more on medical device sales or pharmaceutical sales. I also picked up a minor in sales and felt that biology would allow me to keep a major that has a scientific base but that allows for a little more freedom in the elective classes that I will take.
What do you like about studying biology at UA?
I like the friends and study groups that I’ve formed while at UA. Obviously, that looks quite a bit different right now because of COVID-19, but just having a group to study with and bounce questions off of has proven to be a valuable resource.
What are your career goals? What about your dream job?
My career goals are to go into pharmaceutical or medical device sales and hopefully open up one or two home health care businesses. I’ve always liked science and medicine but the business side of the medical field interests me more, so I hope to pursue a career in that side of medicine.
Talk about any job-related experiences you’ve had. How did you find these opportunities?
This past summer I worked for Vivint Smart Home in Colorado Springs, CO. I knocked door to door and sold smart home and security systems all summer. This job was extremely eye-opening for me as it showed me the first real experience I’ve ever had with sales. I learned about the opportunity through some of my fraternity brothers and was fortunate enough to be able to sign on to work with them again this coming summer. Working for Vivint taught me a great deal about being able to talk to people and go through the sales practice while remaining genuine and sincere.
Tell us about your experience working with the community.
I worked with an organization last year called ENGAGE Tuscaloosa where we would go read books to second-grade students a couple of times a month. The first couple of weeks the kids were pretty shy and didn’t have much to say, but by the end of the year, they were extremely open and friendly and didn’t want us to leave. It just showed me how important it is to give back to the community and spend time helping the youth because it meant so much to them even though they seemed like they didn’t want to talk the first couple of visits.
What surprised you the most about college?
What surprised me most is just how quickly my time at UA has flown by. It felt like freshman year flew by and each year since then has just gone by even faster.
How did you make friends and find community on campus?
I came to school with an interest in joining a fraternity, and luckily, I was able to find a group of young men that cared about academics and the community and was able to join. That’s how I’ve met most people, but I have met quite a few of my best friends just through classes.
What advice do you have for future students?
Come into college with an open mind, I came in pretty set on chemistry and pre-med but decided over halfway through my sophomore year that I wanted to change. Many people feel like they have to know what they want to do before college, and it is good to have an idea of a career that interests you, but I suggest that any prospective student try to come into freshman year with an open mind and allow themselves to try new things before they make too many decisions about a career.