This month, I thought it would be helpful to continue discussing what students should aim to do starting off their freshman year as a pre-med student.
As mentioned last month, there is a lot that pre-med students are tasked with completing in four years, so having a plan is crucial. However, there are a couple of other general things that students should think about as well.
Because first-year science courses will likely be the easiest, I encourage students who are confident in their work ethic and study skills to take the maximum allowable credits. If the required first-year science courses do not max-out a student’s credits, they should fill the rest of their course load with non-science classes required for either general education or pre-med. Otherwise, students may need to take those classes later on in their undergraduate career when their science courses are significantly more challenging.
Even with a full course load, students should have enough time for extracurricular activities, building relationships with professors and fellow students, as well as enjoying being a college student. Even with all of this on their plate, it is critical that students understand that the #1 rule is “do not burn out”. There is an incredibly long road ahead, and burning out is the number one issue for everyone from freshman in college to resident doctors. I constantly reiterate that #1 rule to my mentees in medical school—it’s just that important and prevalent.
To give an example, if a student gets straight As, does research, extracurriculars, volunteering, and works as a scribe, but burns out after three years and stops being pre-med, what good is that CV? Or how about this real example more relevant to my current peers: a student who worked hard to create a stellar medical school application, complete with a near-4.0 GPA, 90th+ percentile MCAT score, etc. who gets to medical school and burns out before ever stepping foot in the hospital and is miserable?
There is a lot of fear and negativity surrounding the path to becoming a doctor, and much of it is likely perpetuated by people who are overworked and burned out.
The goal isn’t just to become a doctor, it’s to be a doctor and love what you do. So for those of you who are just starting out, make sure to take care of yourself first and foremost.
5 Tips for Transfer Application Essays
ESM Prep’s resident College Transfer Coach Courtney Couch and UK College Coach Rachel Edgell share five tips for applicants as they write their transfer application essays.