The road to medical school for senior Jon Vore began with a concussion. A multi-sport athlete in high school, Vore took a hard hit on the field. One of the unexpected side-effects: a new fascination with medicine.
“I’d always been interested in science, but now I was curious about why I felt the way I did. I got hit in the head, so I’d ask, ‘Why is that causing me to throw up?’” Vore recalls. A sports medicine doctor in his hometown of Fishers, Indiana, explained the ins and outs of concussions, and Vore was hooked. “That was the spark. I thought that maybe medicine was the path for me.”
Vore will take the next step on that path when he begins his first semester at the Indiana University School of Medicine this fall. It’s a personal milestone that Vore says wouldn’t have been possible without his experience as a student-athlete at Butler.
“Athletics is one of the best teachers, in terms of how to prepare for life in general—not only learning how to work hard and prepare for something, but learning how to deal with failure,” says Vore, a pitcher with Butler Baseball. “If I lose a game on a Thursday night but have to take a Chemistry exam the next morning, I’ve got to stay focused. It’s about switching to the right mindset.”
Vore’s journey to medical school hasn’t been easy. Along with the challenges that come with a rigorous academic program, he has also had to juggle a busy travel schedule with the baseball team and the numerous commitments that come with being a student-athlete. It wasn’t uncommon to find Vore up late and studying while his teammates slept during long bus rides, or see him hurry off to a hotel conference room to take an exam the morning before an important game.
“I watched a lot of lectures online and studied on bus rides and planes,” he says. “My professors have been really understanding about my time commitment outside the classroom. That flexibility really helped me.”
The academic support he’s received as a student-athlete has also been vital. It’s about more than just having coaches proctor exams while on the road, according to Vore, though that’s important. “At every meeting with our coaching staff, they cover what you do on the field, but also how you’re doing in the classroom and in your life. They focus on the whole person,” he says.
Vore points to his work as President of Butler’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) as instrumental in developing leadership skills. It’s a position that enabled him to represent Butler in the BIG EAST and NCAA’s respective student-athlete advisory councils.
He has also worked closely with Sonya Hopkins, Associate Athletics Director for Academics, to develop an academic plan that would get him into medical school, and the baseball team’s coaching staff have also helped keep him focused.
“Jon is exceptional—he does it all,” says Hopkins. “I’m amazed by students who are able to balance writing papers, working hard in practice, and scoring higher than average on an exam they had to take early because they were going to be traveling to compete against a Conference foe. And that’s Jon.”
Vore chose Butler because he knew that the University would enable him to achieve his dream of attending medical school and play baseball at a high level. What’s been most surprising, though, is how many unique opportunities his twin pursuits have opened up. An elbow injury impacted his ability to play baseball—but the surgery to repair it had a surprise silver lining.
“Baseball has given me so much access to different parts of medicine. I was able to shadow the surgeon who performed my surgery, and I watched him perform the same procedure I had on someone else,” he says.
For Vore, success is all about having the right mindset—taking all the challenges in the classroom and on the field in stride and focusing on the big picture. It takes a team effort to make that mindset possible, though, and as Vore looks ahead to a career in medicine, he’s grateful for everyone who has helped him along the way.
“The people are the best part of Butler for me. I’ll always remember fun times with my teammates on the road, or grinding through difficult workouts,” he says. “I think it’s the people who make Butler what it is, who make people so happy to be here.”