Incoming Freshmen Tips

I cannot believe that June is almost coming to an end. This month was so busy that I lost track of time.

If you’re an incoming freshman, nervous about your college experience, I got some tips that will lighten the weight off your shoulders. If you have already completed your freshman year, some of these tips may also be helpful for you.

Check out Clubs

Universities often have a day where students can look at what clubs are offered during orientation week, but it doesn’t hurt to check some clubs out online. Clubs tend to have Facebook groups/pages that you can check out. Look at pictures and events and see which clubs fits you. Attend the involvement fair anyhow. Maybe representatives may change your mind!

Enrolling in Classes

I’m not sure about all of the universities/colleges out there, but I enrolled in my freshman classes in early June. I believe some students had the opportunity to enroll in May. I apologize if this post came too late. Most students at my university had to enroll on-campus. I was unable to enroll on-campus so I enrolled over the phone, which I was very nervous about since I could not visually see what my schedule look like while planning.

Before my enrollment day, I looked up classes offered by my university ahead of time. I simply googled “University Class Catalog” and got pretty accurate classes and their times. I recommend looking up classes at least a week in advance. Each student at my university had only about 30 minutes to plan with their adviser. By looking up classes ahead of time, you will speed up the enrollment process and make it easier.  You will also have time to ask any further questions.

If you have decided on a major, go on your university’s site and look at your degree spreadsheet. If you are undecided, look up some of the general education classes that you are required to take.  It is important that you should take all the classes your degree requires, but remember that you can take fun and interesting classes as your electives!

Check out ratemyprofessor.com or other sites where upperclassmen have shared their experiences with their professors. TAKE EVERY OPINION WITH A GRAIN OF SALT.

Decide what times you are most comfortable learning. I suggest trying not to take super early morning and night classes. I learned that in college, it is harder to wake up early. I took night classes my first semester and it conflicted with so many clubs that I wanted to join. My campus was pretty safe. However, I still feel uncomfortable walking alone at night with only a few people walking with me. Walk along with your lab partners back to your dorm if the streets are empty! Continue reading

Update: Freshman Experience

Did my experience in high school prepare me for my first year of college?
My answer is most definitely.

My high school experience involved taking many rigorous classes. I took many Advanced Placement classes with the mindset of receiving credit for college, which would allow me to speed the process of achieving my bachelor’s degree or make room for other classes I would be interested in taking. Although I did not receive credit for all of my exams, I did gain experience of dealing with challenging classes that pushed my brain power, challenged my time management skills, and pressured me to cope with stress.

I was also involved in many clubs.  I was involved in community service clubs such as Key Club and the National Honors Society. I was also involved in cultural clubs, academic clubs, and career specific clubs. Becoming a secretary in Key Club and Art Club left a major impact my senior year. I was able to develop communication and leadership skills as well as interact with my peers, teachers, and community. I became more open minded to different types of backgrounds people came from and the ideas that they carried. On top of these clubs, I played the violin and took part in the School Orchestra and Symphony for about 9 years since 4th grade.

I highly suggest that students should take some challenging courses and be involved in clubs during high school.

Freshman Year, was a year filled with many new experiences. 

Decision:

All the colleges I applied to were in-state universities. I only applied to in-state schools since I knew that a great majority of my tuition, books, and housing fees would be paid by scholarships and grants. I am currently attending a large, four-year in-state public university. It is not a prestigious university, but it still has a good Pre-Med program to prepare me for Med School while meeting my financial window. Looking back now, I regret not applying to out-of-state universities. If you’re a high school student, you should definitely apply to a variety of universities: in-state and out-of-state and high ranking/prestigious schools and safe schools. You never know what opportunities you may find!
Continue reading

Summer Gains

Summer is approaching, which means you have all the time in the world to sleep! Just kidding. Summer is a long period of time that you should continue to maintain your growth and productivity!

Finals are around the corner, but there are some things you should keep in mind for a productive summer! Depending on the activity, you may want to schedule ahead of time or after your last final.

Volunteer

Pre-Med students! I encourage you to spend some time in the hospital. Gain experience by working with doctors, nurses, and other health professionals. Also, it is always nice to help others and give back to your community!

Don’t stop at the hospital. There are many volunteer opportunities out there! Volunteer at a local food bank or animal shelter. Take part in any events that you are passionate about!

Shadow

Three months is a long time that you could learn a physician’s work. You could probably shadow multiple physicians during this time!

Maybe medical school may not be your thing. Reach out to other occupations to have shadowing sessions! Find which career interests you and gain experience from it! Continue reading

The Medical Tag

Hi there! Things have been busy recently with exams and paper deadlines, but now I’m back! I have been tagged by Mavis from @doctorinspe to do a Medical Tag. I hope that through this tag, the medical community on WordPress will grow. If you are tagged, I wish that you will join this tag and build this community! If you are interested in the medical profession and have encountered this post, I hope that you will too join!

Who are you and where do you study?
I am a first generation Vietnamese American college student. I am an eighteen year old freshman studying biochemistry/pre-med. I am currently studying in a large four-year public state university in the U.S.

When did you start studying medicine or premed courses?
I entered college with a declared major in biochemistry/pre-med, but I have already started my pre-med courses in high school. At my high school, I was able to take Advanced Placement courses, such as AP Chemistry and AP Biology, that gave me college credit. This has helped me stay ahead with my plan on graduating on time and making room for other exciting classes (Genetics, Anatomy, Physiology, etc!)

What made you choose the medical field?
I first decided to pursue pharmacy in 9th grade under the influence of my older sister. However, I did not seriously considered medical school until 11th grade. I was involved in a medical club in high school that exposed me to a great variety of medical professionals. One speaker stuck out to me. She was a procedural dermatologist that owned her own clinic. Her speech inspired me to become diligent and persistent in pursuing a career that I would love to wake up to each day. Through her speech I also realized my love for skincare. Continue reading

Match Day

Match Day is the third Friday of every March where fourth year medical students learn where they will continue their study (residency, internship, or fellowship) for the next three to seven years. According to the National Resident Matching Program, 2017 marks the highest number of applicants and positions offered. Over 31,000 positions were offered; that’s 31,000 new young physicians!!

Match Day may be one of the most nerve-wracking moments of a medical student. Medical school is a strict time period where students are forced to isolate themselves from the outside world. Who knows how many gatherings, reunions, birthdays, weddings, funerals, etc. have been missed during these years. After eight years of continuous study (4 years undergraduate, 4 years medical school), these hard working students are finally able to start settling down. Daughters and sons are finally able to return back to their hometowns and reunite with their family and friends. Others may finally start new lives in new states. Wherever they go, these doctors are now able to practice with their own hands, a goal that so many years and efforts have finally conquered.  Continue reading

Choosing My Major: Biochemistry/Pre-Med

Technically speaking, a bachelor degree is not always necessary to enter medical school. The main requirements are to complete the pre-requisites and achieve the minimum score on the MCAT. However, students with a bachelor degree are more competitive students. There is no ONE amazing degree that medical schools look for. History and art majors are no lesser than science majors. What matters is that you should major in something that interest you. A non-science may even benefit you by making you stand out. Continue reading

My First Shadowing Experience + Tips

My first shadowing experience was during the summer of my junior year in high school. Looking back, this experience definitely encouraged me to study medicine.

My first shadowing experience was with a pediatrician that my younger cousins go to. He is known to be the best pediatrician in the city where I lived. In his clinic, there was two pediatricians (including him), a resident, a third-year med student, a nurse practitioner, and about 5 nurses. For a day or two, I shadowed a pediatrician. For the rest of the time I shadowed, I followed a third year med student. I was able to see how pediatricians do their job and how they taught a med student (and getting pimped). Also, I had the chance to ask what responsibilities med students were required to keep up with (classes, tests/exams, rotations, experiences, etc). The med student I followed gave the patients a basic checkup first; later, the pediatrician would come in and complete the visit. The resident and nurse practitioner checked on the patients just like how the pediatricians were able to. Occasionally, I would be able to see what the nurses did before a pediatrician or med student walks in.

I love my first shadowing experience since I was able to see different levels of medical professions. Continue reading