SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – The SUNY Upstate Medical University celebrated the class of 2022 Sunday, May 1.

Graduating in the midst of a pandemic is a challenge for all students, but this class of medical students understands that on a whole other level.

Myranda Steingraeber says when the pandemic first began, it gave her an opportunity to get hands-on experience in a real-life crisis.

“Halfway through my training the pandemic started and it kind of coincided with my class getting into the hospital floors so it has been really different for us I think.”>

She says that although the circumstances were unique, students were grateful for that opportunity. Sh says Upstate university gave them a chance to gain experience on the floor in ways they would not have been able to before, and help the hospitals along the way.

“They opened it up to us to become runners for the hospital when the staff shortages really became a problem,” she said,”Letting us go to Covid floors and help there but on an optional basis you know some of us have kids at home some of my friends were pregnant during this time so it was a really good balance to protect us but also get the opportunity to really feel like you are active and helping in the midst of something like the pandemic.”

The most difficult part, she said, was doing that all while balancing the workload of a medical student.

“Taking it all in from the books and the learning taking it in from the on the floor experience and the patients kind of at the same time you’re taking it in from a global perspective, watching the news and knowing everything that is going on in the world and how the pandemic is spreading and changing its exciting but its an awful lot to take in.”

Steingraeber graduated with her Medical Doctorate and will go to Albany Family medicine Residence for the next three years.