I hope all of you are well! Our latest blog is aimed to help you through a key part of the medical school application process: your personal statement. We have tips for each step of the writing process from brainstorming to writing to editing. The blue text is personal advice from Brooke Mccollum, our finance manager.

BRAINSTORMING

  • Start the process by just writing: write anything you feel is relevant to your journey to being interested in medicine, the experiences you sought throughout college to cement your interests and your goals as a physician. 
  • This could take anywhere from months to a couple of hours. Every day when I thought about something that could be included in my statement I went to my google doc and wrote another bullet point.
  • This list included personal experiences I had had with medicine myself, memorable moments I had during my volunteering, qualities I had that I thought would make me a good doctor, and what my experiences in college have taught me about medicine and myself.
  • I had 10-15 pages written of completely unedited material and had to cut it down and draw from there for different paragraphs of my actual personal statement. 
  • Don’t ever delete any of these drafts, though, because they will come in handy later for writing secondaries (adversity, diversity, goals) and scholarship essays. You might also be able to use it as inspiration for things you’ll be talking about in the interviews (why us, why medicine, tell me about yourself).
  • A hard thing to do is to then narrow down this list of random thoughts and ideas. To do this, I tried to focus on things that involved a certain theme or story I wanted to tell in my statement. The best advice I was given while writing my personal statement was to make it a story that intertwines your experiences in one narrative.

WRITING

  • Stay away from cliches: sick relative, ignited your passion, “I’ve always wanted to be a doctor,” “I love helping people,” “I was always a precocious child,” etc
  • Make sure you always tie back to WHY MEDICINE, not why altruism, why science, etc…
  • Make sure that your statement is a good mix of introspection, retrospection, and forward projection. You can even organize the whole paper using past, present, and future as three paragraphs or sections in which to tell separate stories that ultimately tie together
  • Show, don’t tell! Paint a picture for your reader by using the 5 senses while you storytell: write about what you heard/saw/smelled during the memory
  • ALWAYS reflect on what you learned each step of the way (this is also advice you could use in your activities section). Admissions don’t just want to see what you did, but how you’ll use that in the future.
  • Instead of just regurgitating your experiences, be sure to reflect and show how your experiences have shaped you into wanting to go to medical school.
  • Beyond your own experiences, also consider talking about how people have changed you and given you perspective.
  • Step away once you’re done writing, and come back a few days later to really see how you feel about what you’ve written.
  • Be okay with re-writing your essay and doing a total overhaul a few times. Sometimes a few complete re-writes will be necessary for you to reach a clear story on paper.
  • The most important piece of your PS will be the hook — make these POP! You want the reader to immediately label you as unique and interesting before they even start reading the meat of your essay

EDITING

  • Don’t use contractions -> DO NOT use contractions
  • Perfect grammar and spelling is a must!! Edit using grammarly or a grammar nazi friend between each edit and before you send it off
  • I also had a younger sibling read mine to make sure I wasn’t using any jargon or complicated sentence structure, because you want your reader to focus on only the content and not get bogged down by confusing details — my little sister was able to tell me when I had to shorten my clauses or find synonyms for certain words
  • Frame your sentences actively instead of passively, and positively instead of negatively
    • Ex) “I published my research” instead of “the research was published”
  • When you feel comfortable enough with your essay, send it to professors, advisors, or recommendation letter writers for final edits

Redditor u/  gyubari recommends 4-5 people to edit your PS (a suggestion from one of my favorite professors). Try to find people that fit into the following categories…

  • A loved one. Somebody who is close to you that you have a great relationship with. Ideally this person understands you well and can see if your PS is a good reflection of you. Will also possibly boost your ego. This person can be your best friend, mom/dad, SO, etc.
  • A harsh critic. Career advisor/pre-med advisor/some kind of college writing center/college faculty. Pre-med advisors seem to not always know what they’re talking about, but they can dole out some harsh criticism. Mine told me not to bother writing my PS because I wouldn’t get in this cycle. You may need and benefit from some of this criticism and getting critiques from somebody in academia can be helpful. Don’t let it crush your spirit, just internalize the feedback that makes the most sense to you.
  • A stranger. Somebody you don’t know that well. This can be the random guy on the bus or an acquaintance like the girl that sits behind you in history class. How well does your PS paint a word picture of who you are and your goal of med school?
  • A grammar nazi. Somebody who can edit your grammar. This person MUST be different from the aforementioned 3 other categories of people. This can be your old high school English teacher, your study buddy who happens to write screenplays for fun, or maybe even a hired service.
  • For the fifth person, I would repeat one of the 4 previous types of editors. If grammar is your weak spot, pick another person to edit for grammar. If you need a self esteem boost, have one of your buddies read it.
  • Don’t incorporate edits that you inherently disagree with, because you still want to make it your own work!
  • You should aim to have it ready by about June 1 for primary submission.

With all the cancellations in classes, volunteer programs, research labs, and social events, all of you are bound to have a lot more time on your hands. To help you guys out, we decided to make the ultimate pre-med reading list! Bonus: if you’re not much of a reader, we also linked relevant tedtalks by some of these amazing authors.

Gawande is a surgeon, author, and public health researcher. His books explore a wide variety of health topics: from learning to provide good care and accurate patient diagnoses to larger scale economics and policy of healthcare in America. You can read his shorter pieces here and watch his tedtalk here.

“We’ve been wrong about what our job is in medicine. We think our job is to ensure health and survival. But really it is larger than that. It is to enable well-being.”

This is a memoir about a young neurosurgeon who is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Kalanithi discusses his experiences going from physician to patient and shares his ideas about death in his posthumously published book — this one will make you cry!

One of the earliest meanings of the word “patient” is “one who endures hardship without complaint.”

The story of two doctors, a father and son, who practiced in very different times and the evolution of the ethics that profoundly influence health care. Lerner’s is an important book for those who treat illness—and those who struggle to overcome it.

“My dad suspected that his medical expertise had prolonged her life but was even surer that he had helped her mental suffering by letting her know that he was always available, even for the most trivial of problems or questions.”

A “medical mystery:” twenty-four-year-old Cahalan wakes up alone in a hospital room and tells the story of her descent into madness and the lifesaving diagnosis that almost didn’t happen.

“The brain is a monstrous, beautiful mess.”

Groopman writes about how doctors make decisions for their patients and how to avoid erroneous medical thinking.

On average, a physician will interrupt a patient describing her symptoms within eighteen seconds. In that short time, many doctors decide on the likely diagnosis and best treatment. Often, decisions made this way are correct, but at crucial moments they can also be wrong — with catastrophic consequences.

Mukherjee examines the complete history of cancer—from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles in the twentieth century to cure, control, and conquer it to a radical new understanding of its essence.

“Cancer’s life is a recapitulation of the body’s life, its existence a pathological mirror of our own.”

Noah tells the stories of his childhood—the hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting moments that created his path from a secret child in apartheid South Africa to the famous American night show host. This book made me cry and laugh out loud!

“Whilst my mother couldn’t give me access to the world, she at least made sure to let me know it existed. A kid cannot dream of being an astronaut if he does not know about space.”

Verghese writes a memoir about his relocation for work and new expanding relationship with his medical intern and tennis partner while they both go through difficult personal experiences. You can watch a tedtalk by African-born Indian author here.

Every year, it takes two full classes of medical schools to replace all the physicians who commit suicide. He described a doctor who filled her car’s wiper fluid receptacle with alcohol so she could drink between errands, and another who injected his bladder with a third person’s urine so he could pass a drug test.

A collection of short stories that demolish the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.

“I have heard all of the stories about girls like me, and I am unafraid to make more of them.”

A collection of perspectives on a wide array of issues, from food allergies, cancer, and neurology to mental health, autoimmune disorders, and therapeutic music. These experiences are recounted by patients, nurses, doctors, parents, children, caregivers, and others who attempt to articulate the intangible human and emotional factors that surround life when it intersects with the medical field.

“Medicine still contains an oral tradition, passed down in stories: the stories patients tell us, the ones we tell them, and the ones we tell ourselves.”

Written by historian Fitzharris to reveal the shocking world of nineteenth-century surgery and shows how it was transformed by advances made in germ theory and antiseptics between 1860 and 1875. Warning: she spares no detail!

“When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is almost certainly wrong.”

In this memoir, Norman describes her sudden and serious decline in health and her experience seeking healthcare, having her pain dismissed, to be told it was all in her head, only to be taken seriously when she was accompanied by a boyfriend who confirmed that her sexual performance was, indeed, compromised.

Women’s bodies have long been the battleground of a never-ending war for power, control, medical knowledge, and truth. It’s time to refute the belief that being a woman is a preexisting condition.

Pioneering psychologist Duckworth shows anyone striving to succeed—be it parents, students, educators, athletes, or business people—that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.” You can watch her tedtalk here.

“Nobody wants to show you the hours and hours of becoming. They’d rather show the highlight of what they’ve become.”

A bestseller at the moment! In this memoir, a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University. She was seventeen years old when she first stepped foot in a classroom. The story, based on a true story, is a coming-of-age story full of self-intervention and family ties. 

“The skill I was learning was a crucial one, the patience to read things I could not yet understand.”

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first “immortal” human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years.

“What do you know about African-Americans and science?”

A self-help book is always a good type of read. This one is about atomic habits which teaches us how to change our habits and get 1% better every day. Getting 1% better everyday will show tremendous results a lot faster than you think. 

“You should be far more concerned with your current trajectory than your current results.”

A book recommended by Bill Gates! This book explains why we sleep in an interesting way and explains to us how sleep can make us healthier, safer, smarter, and more productive. There are several theories presented in this book. 

“The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep.”

This Russian novel focuses on the mental anguish and moral dilemmas of Rodion Raskolnikov, an impoverished ex-student in Saint Petersburg who formulates a plan to kill a pawnbroker for her money. With many psychological themes, it deeply explores alienation, consequences for our actions, and guilt. 

“Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on earth.”

This novel explores moral philosophy from a contractualist perspective as Scanlon analyzes how we define whether something is right or wrong. According to his view, thinking about right and wrong is thinking about what we do in terms that could be justified to others and that they could not reasonably reject. He shows how the special authority of conclusions about right and wrong arises from the value of how we relate to other people. A bit of a dense read, ideal for people interested in morality and how these principles can be applied.

“The reasons we have to treat others only in ways that could be justified to them underlie the central core of morality, and are presupposed by all the most important forms of human relationship.”

Adapted as a film by the same name, this book follows the lives of three female African American mathematicians working for NASA in the 1960s. The novel explores themes of discrimination and racial segregation as the three protagonists are overlooked on account of their gender and race but are later shown to be pioneers in math and engineering. One of these women, Katherine Johnson, just recently passed at age 101.

“Their path to advancement might look less like a straight line and more like some of the pressure distributions and orbits they plotted, but they were determined to take a seat at the table.”

Pre-Med Hub has teamed up with representatives from four different Greek Life organizations for this blog post! Keep reading for more information.

Phi Chi

Writer: Pragathi Pathanjeli

Phi Chi is one of the oldest professional fraternities in the world. At the University of Michigan, Phi Chi is one of a few co-ed fraternities on campus, and the only one with a chapter for medical students at the University of Michigan Medical School. The diverse brotherhood works to ensure that all of its members are well-rounded applicants by providing access to academic resources, talks from medical school students and doctors, volunteering opportunities, and a large network of Phi Chi alumni for informative and career-related purposes 

 Not only have I been able to meet some incredible people as a part of Phi Chi, I have also been able to take-on leadership roles and be a part of rewarding experiences such as planning a 5K, getting trained in Basic Life Support, and getting involved in the community via many different volunteer opportunities. By-far, the most useful resource that Phi Chi has provided me with are med-school talks, where I’ve been able to learn more about the application process from medical students in Phi Chi, and The University of Michigan’s philosophy from members of the Office of Medical School Admissions. 

Our Rush process officially begins the week of MLK day with the following events (see image below). For more information, visit our website under the Rush Page and come to our info sessions!

phichiumich

MED

Writer: Sydney Edwards

MED is the newest pre-medical fraternity on campus. It is a pre-health, co-ed fraternity that consists of mostly pre-medical students with a few pre-dental or pre-pharmacy students. We work to host social events, volunteering events, and professional development events to help our members develop themselves personally and professionally. We have many E-Board and committee chair positions, and each brother gets to choose a committee in which to participate.

This fraternity is very new, so there have been abundant opportunities for leadership within the brotherhood. We recently appointed two mental health chairs for the fraternity, and I feel that this position is one of the most important within the brotherhood. Mu Epsilon Delta provides resources for its members, ranging from professional development days featuring talks from doctors and medical students to biweekly support groups for brothers to talk about their lives in a nonjudgmental setting. I have found people to study with who have helped me learn much better than going at it alone. We help facilitate study groups for members to get to know their peers and excel in their classes. The mental health and academic help are two highlights of this fraternity for me. Additionally, I love the distinct personality of this fraternity. Each pre-medical frat has its own personality, and I feel that my own personality and aspirations fit very well with other individuals as well as the group as a whole. I also find that the time commitment is manageable, and the requirements are very fair.

Rush schedule 

  • Information Session 01/23 7:30-8:30 in Room D at the Michigan League
  • Meet & Greet 01/24 7:30-9:30 in Psych Atrium at East Hall
  • Speed Dating 01/28 8-10 in Hussey Room at the Michigan League
  • Application due 01/31 by midnight
  • Interviews 02/03 and 02/04 by invite

MeD WEBSITE

 

DEM

Writer: Judy Huynh

DEM is the nation’s premier professional pre-health co-ed fraternity dedicated to serving the community and uniting students of diverse backgrounds with an interest in varying health fields through leadership, professional development, and brotherhood. Our fraternity consists of members interested in medicine, dentistry, physical therapy, and public health to name a few. The Alpha Iota Chapter of Delta Epsilon Mu at U of M started in 2016, so we are fairly new but established enough to have lots of professional, leadership, and volunteer opportunities. Our national philanthropy is Camp Dragonfly Forest which is  a summer camp for kids with autism and other special medical needs. 

I knew I wanted to join a pre-health professional fraternity because I think learning about different health professions is beneficial to understanding and appreciating the health field. I made a lot of great friends through my fraternity, and I love knowing I can rely on any of them to help me with questions about the MCAT to which classes I should take. Besides e-board, we have many opportunities for leadership such as education chair, fundraising chair, DMUM committee, and others. We regularly volunteer with Ronald McDonald House and World Medical Relief. We cater our professional development events to what the fraternity wants so we have had doctors come in to talk and med school application panels. From my experience, the best thing about DEM is that I honestly feel that I can talk to any of the members and not feel judged at all.

We only hold rush in the fall because rush season takes up a big chunk of time so we want to use the winter season to get to know our new members. If you’re interested, I highly recommend you reach out to me or keep an eye out for our fall rush!

Keith Manning

Product Management

Edna White

Support Staff

PhiDE

Writer: Catherine Marudo

Phi Delta Epsilon is  one of the oldest co-ed professional pre-med fraternity on campus. This has created a vast and diverse alumni network with past-members now as current med students and residents all over the country. PhiDE is great in that is able to act both as a professional and social fraternity. Members are given the skills and knowledge needed to be successful pre-med and med school applicants through diverse workshops like: MCAT, application, backpacking, interview, and many more! Equally as important as professional development is Phamily. We are all phamily in PhiDE. Sure the resources and connections we have are great, but what truly sets us apart are the bonds of friendship and mentorship we form with each other. What better people to have in your corner than the kind and amazing people who have and are still going through this pre-med journey with you. Our members also follow the mantra “facta non verba – deeds not words.” One of the key values of PhiDE is service. PhiDE’s partner charity is the Children’ Miracle Network and fundraising events happen throughout the year for CMN. 

PhiDE has given me friends that I will carry with me for a lifetime and has made my college experience so incredibly amazing. I would not have confidence in my ability to succeed and kick butt in medicine without the mentorship, love, and support of every single person I have gotten to meet in this fraternity. I am excited to see what the future holds for PhiDE and encourage all pre-meds looking for a phamily on campus to come check mine out…we’re pretty amazing.

PHIDE WEBSITE

 

Keith Manning

Product Management

Edna White

Support Staff

 

One of the most common questions we get from new students is regarding choosing a major. The University of Michigan has a huge selection, and while we couldn’t possibly cover each one, we reached out to peer advisors and guest bloggers to help review some of the most popular majors for pre-meds here. Some of the questions we tried to answer include: when and why students choose each major, favorite classes in the majors, and a few possible disadvantages to choosing each major. Similarly, we have also covered some of the minors that students may choose to elect.

 

For more information on all of our university’s majors, visit this link. Above all, we would like to emphasize that there is no “best” or “correct” major for every pre-med or pre-health student. You should study any subject that you are passionate about! Additionally, there is no rush to choose a major as soon as you start college—most of us waited until our sophomore or junior year until we declared majors or minors. As always, for help making an individualized decision or four-year course plan, drop into our peer advising hours.

 

  • Chemistry

    • Biomolecular Science (BMS)

      • Pooja: I declared fall of my sophomore year. I chose this major because it provided a lot of flexibility with courses and allowed us to add minors and majors without overloading on courses and credits. My favorite class in the major has actually been a foreign course. I was able to travel with the UM Chemistry department to China for one month and take courses in the Zhiyuan College of Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU): “Biology for Chemists and Biophysical Measurements” taught by Professor James Penner-Hahn and “Bio-Organic and Chem-Biology” taught by Professors Brian Coppola and Jean-Paul Desaulniers. This was a great experience because I only had to pay for my room and flight, not tuition, and received 4 credits, equivalent to one full elective course, for my one month of coursework. Drop into my advising hours for more information on applying! Additionally, I was able to take an ARC (authentic research connection) version of CHEM 125/126 so I got to learn a lot about Arctic and Snow Chemistry in a small course setting with a ton of instruction instead of taking the regular lab with 1000+ students.
      • Brooke: I declared BMS fall of my sophomore year. I chose this major because I really enjoyed Orgo 1 and Orgo 2, which I took my Freshman year, and I realized I wanted to take more chemistry based classes. I am also majoring in BCN as well, and I did not want to just take psychology courses the rest of my college career. Additionally, I realized that the major covers most of the required pre-med courses  that you need to take, so I basically thought if i have to take these classes anyway, I should just major in BMS too. My favorite class in this major thus far has been CHEM 420, which is considered ORGO 3. The class was really laid back, and I really appreciated how the professor emphasized learning the material as opposed to the grades in the class. Also, a lot of the material was an add-on to what was learned in ORGO 2, which was probably my favorite required pre-med course. A drawback to this major is that a lot of people major in BMS. This results in the upper level classes, which are usually smaller in other majors, still being around 100 people. With the classes still being so big, it is hard to get to know the professor. For example, I am in an upper level MCDB course now, which is about 150 students. I went to office hours, and the office was crowded with students asking questions.  
      • Pragathi: I declared BMS during the winter semester of my sophomore year. I ended up choosing this major because while I originally wanted to major in CMB (now called MCDB), the electives for BMS sounded a little more appealing to me. Additionally, I happened to have already taken classes that fulfilled the BMS major so by the time I declared, I was almost two-thirds of the way done with the major. My favorite class in this major was CHEM 352, a biochemistry lab that was actually pretty interesting and easy. This class also had an upper-level writing option (that I didn’t end up taking since I already did my ULWR). One downside of majoring in BMS is that you aren’t able to use your chemistry credit (if you came in with IB/AP credit) to fulfill prerequisites. If you didn’t take Gen Chem, you’ll have to take the CHEM 245/246/247 sequence. This wasn’t my favorite class mostly because it was focused on the more technical or mechanical side of chemistry which wasn’t really of interest to me.
      • Liam: I declared for BMS at the end of the second semester of my sophomore year. I chose this major because while I originally wanted to major in Biochemistry, I had no intention of taking any additional math courses in college (besides statistics), so I settled for BMS. From my understanding its essentially the same major as biochemistry, but does not require CALC 2. My favorite class in this course was intro to biochem because, as I said before, my primary interest is in biochemistry. A lot of what I learned in the course helped my understanding of my current research and gave me a great foundation to build off of in upper level electives. I didn’t really experience any cons to this major because it was pretty much everything I was looking for (biochem minus calculus).
  • Biology

    • Biology 

      • Haniyeh: I declared biology the winter semester of my junior year. I always knew that I was interested in biological sciences, but since UM has so many majors in this field, I had to search deeper to find out which one would better suit my needs. After I transferred to UM from a community college, I compared different majors’ requirements and talked to the advisors in the department of chemistry and biology. I realized that biology is a great major for me since there were fewer restrictions on the number of credits you can take outside the department and this gave me more opportunities to take classes from a wide variety of topics that I was curious about. My favorite class was BIO 207: Microbiology. I really enjoyed the class because I learned about microbial and viral genetics, medical microbiology, and basic epidemiology. Also, the course had a lab component and I learned new techniques that are applicable in many biological labs. Since there is a wide variety of courses that you will take and the class sizes are usually large, the chance of taking classes with the same classmates are low. This can make it hard to develop a good connection with your professors and build a sense of community among your classmates. 
    • Biology, Health, and Society (BHS)

      • Judy; I declared BHS during the fall semester of my junior year. I chose this major because I knew I wanted a science major that covered most of my pre-med requirements while still having classes that I would find interesting to take. I really like BHS because it am interested in the public health/sociology side of the medical field which I feel that the Health and Society section covers well. My favorite classes so far for this major have been BIO 225 and WOMENSTD 220. BIO 225 is human and animal physiology which was interesting because there was a lot of applications to the basic biology that we’ve learned for so long. Women’s Studies 220 was also really interesting because I learned a lot about the social construction of women’s sexuality and health care. There aren’t really any cons I can think of unless you think you would dread the classes in the health and society category of this major (since a lot of you pre-meds are huge natural science people). These HU and SS classes tend to have more essays and be a tad bit more reading based. 
    • Neuroscience

      • Ruchira: I declared my major the winter semester of my sophomore year. I was initially interested in majoring in Neuroscience because it overlapped with the research lab that I’ve been involved in for the past two years. My favorite major relevant class so far has been PSYCH 230 because in the Neuroscience major, the classes BIO 222 and PSYCH 230 cover a lot of the same material. When I took PSYCH 230 after taking BIO 222, I found that I had a better understanding of the core topics of the major and was able to truly enjoy learning the new material that was covered covered. 
      • Owen: I declared my neuroscience major the fall semester of my sophomore year. As a freshman, I knew I wanted to major in MCDB. I took PSYCH 111 with Schreier the winter semester of my freshman year and really enjoyed the neuroscience unit. After I took some time to reflect on my interests, I ultimately decided to go with Neuroscience as my major. My favorite class so far in this major has been PSYCH 230, Intro to Behavioral Neuroscience. This class explored in depth the topics that sparked my interest during PSYCH 111. We got to dissect sheep brains too which was pretty cool! Neuroscience is a pretty common major, so there aren’t too many opportunities to enroll in smaller sized classes. Reaching out to professors individually is a must if you want to develop a relationship with them.
      • Anni: I declared neuroscience during the winter semester of my freshman year. Although I enjoyed biology, I always saw myself as a pretty poor science student. The program was really eye-opening for me because it exposed me to the interdisciplinary nature of neuroscience and showed me that there was a way to choose how much of one classical science subject you want to study and research (the spectrum of behavioral neuroscience to computational, plus everything in between). During this program I also became really interested in movement disorders, which, in conjunction with the interdisciplinary aspect, convinced me that neuroscience was what I wanted to study in college. My favorite class has been Neurology 455: Neuroscience of Parkinson’s Disease. This class isn’t through LSA and is taught by Dr. Levanthal, who is a neurologist at the VA hospital. This class is capped at 20 students and Dr. Levanthal makes an effort to learn everyone’s names and facilitate lively discussion among students. He starts the course with a “clinic visit” with one of his actual patients. During this time, he interviewed his patient as if they were in a hospital exam room and then occasionally provided commentary as to his methodology and observations. The core classes and prerequisites can take a while to get through, so for me at least, I found that neuroscience was a major where there’s a delayed gratification aspect—it was only going into my senior year when I felt that saying I was a neuroscience major actually held weight in terms of my knowledge of the subject. Participating in neuroscience-based outreach programs, research, and/or tutoring can help reinforce that sense of “belonging,” per se. 
      • Karan: While I haven’t yet declared my major (I will this semester), I chose neuroscience because I liked the blend between psychology and biology. I am very interested in understanding the processes behind our behavior. Additionally, the brain has many relevant analogies to circuits which is another field of study I am interested in. My favorite class has been PSYCH 230. This class really bridged the gap between brain and behavior and taught me a lot of important concepts. It was really interesting to see behavior on the level of the organism and how this could be simplified to brain processes. As others have mentioned, the major is fairly large, so it’s hard to find smaller classes where you can build a relationship with the professors. While not the most difficult major here, there are a few difficult core classes that must be completed and this can do some damage to your GPA if you don’t have proper study skills. 
      • Sydney: I declared my neuroscience major during the winter semester of my freshman year. I chose the neuroscience major because I really like the interdisciplinary nature of the program. The classes offered for the neuroscience major are relevant to psychology, biology, chemistry, physics, etc. I really enjoy psychology and have had the opportunity to take psych-related courses that fulfill my major requirements while also allowing my pre-medical and hard science interests to intersect and harmonize with the social science material. The major requirements also overlap almost perfectly with pre-med requirements. My favorite class in this major has been PSYCH 345: Introduction to Human Neuropsychology. This class explored brain injury and neural dysfunction, and I am very interested in neuropathology. Neuroscience is a common major, and classes are generally large. This major also has tough core classes which should be taken relatively early in your college career in order to do well in the elective courses. Although I struggled in the core classes, these classes do enable you to do well in upper level courses.
  • Physics

    • Biophysics

      • Lindsay: I declared Biophysics in the fall of my sophomore year. The biophysics department is very small, and the small class sizes were a major reason why I decided on biophysics. Other than that, I knew I wanted to study physics and needed to fulfill all my pre-medical courses, so I chose Biophysics since it made both possible. I really enjoyed BIOPHYS 420 (MCDB 420) because the class was all about reading scientific papers, synthesizing them, and discussing them. Because biophysics is such a small major, students are sometimes limited to the order in which they take classes. What I mean is that some required courses are only offered in the fall, and others in the winter. Several of these courses have prerequisites within our major, so you have to do a bit of planning ahead of time to make sure you can fit all your classes into to a schedule you like. The process of ordering my classes was infinitely easier because I regularly met with our biophysics advisor (Sara Grosky).
  • Psych

    • Biopsychology, cognition, and neuroscience (BCN)

      • Brooke: I declared BCN the summer going into my sophomore year. Ever since taking a psychology class in high school, I have been super interested in the field. However, when I came to college, I realized I was more interested in the biological aspect of psychology, and that is why I chose BCN over a regular psych major. Also, with BCN, there was some cross over with classes I needed to take for BMS, so I could knock out two requirements with one class. My favorite class I have taken for BCN has been either PSYCH 270 or PSYCH 355. PSYCH 270 is intro to psychopathology, and PSYCH 355 is cognitive development. Each class teaches a lot of interesting information that I have, surprisingly, not forgotten. This major is also one that a lot of people choose to major in. Therefore, a lot of the core courses have a ton of people in them. However, as you get to the upper level courses, there are a lot of options, and the classes are much smaller.
      • Johnson: I declared my sophomore year. I chose this major as it combined both the natural sciences as well as the interesting social science classes (psych). I’m also interested in how the mind can affect our behavior. PSYCH 280 was probably the best class I’ve taken in this major because I love the professor and the class was super interesting. 
  • Music

    • Music (LSA)

      • Owen: I declared my music major winter semester of my sophomore year. I initially planned to pursue a music minor through LSA, but ultimately decided to add it as a second major so it could hold a larger presence in my college career. I chose to add my music major because I always knew I wanted music to play a role in my life and during my time spent as an undergrad. I actually almost dual enrolled in LSA/SMTD, but decided against that given the heavy workload and time requirements. Majoring in music through LSA still encourages me to participate in groups and play my instrument (trombone), but leaves much more time for me to focus on other aspects of my college life. The best class I’ve taken was Musicology 307: Music and Community. The course was offered for the first time in the winter of 2019, and it required students to partner with local arts groups in Ann Arbor. I worked with the Michigan Taiwanese American Organization to help them organize events and promote their music and art. It was a really valuable experience, unlike anything I had ever experienced in college. The only things to watch out for with this major concerns thinking ahead to your future. The LSA Music advisor often tells his students to add this major as a second major to an already established primary major, which is neuroscience for me. Make sure you can handle the course load before deciding to add it as a double major.
  • MINORS

    • Gender and Health

      • Pooja: I really love my gender and health minor because it was super interdisciplinary: I was able to take courses in nursing, anthropology, sociology, psychology, and literature. I also feel like I was able to learn material that I could directly apply to my career in medicine—topics in reproductive anatomy/physiology, disparities in healthcare, and issues specific to LGBTQ populations. My favorite class was actually called WOMENSTD 400. The course was taught by two OB-GYNs at the hospital, but most of our lectures were actually given by guest lecturers. We got to hear from people in law, public policy, nursing, psychology, sex therapy, etc. We also wrote a 20 page paper on any gender and health topic for our final project and this fulfilled the ULWR LSA requirement, which honestly wasn’t as bad as it sounds and a pretty cool way to get that requirement out of the way.
    • Asian Studies

      • Johnson: I chose this minor at the end of my sophomore year, because it allows me to get away from the science courses with my major. For me, it serves as a balance each semester when choosing my classes. But more importantly, it is also super interesting if you are into learning about the different cultures throughout Asia.The people running the department are super friendly and accommodating so that’s a plus. My favorite class so far definitely has to be ASIAN 377. It mostly a Korean entertainment and KPop class where you learn the history but also the music and the artist in general. Highly recommend if you are a Kpop stan XD. The only disadvantage of the minor I can think of is that certain classes are only offered once a year, so it can be challenging when planning your classes out for each semester.
    • African Studies

      • Anni: I declared my African Studies minor in the winter semester of junior year. I’ve been interested in African affairs since high school when I did a research project on Post-Apartheid South Africa. I took three AAS classes before I declared (260, 290, 662), which helped me identify my main interest, health structures and institutions in sub-saharan Africa, and confirm that this was something I was passionate enough to minor in. I was actually a big humanities kid in high school, so I was able to rekindle my love of history, english, and political science through this minor, in addition to expanding my knowledge and understanding of public health. AAS 662- “Health and Socioeconomic Development” is a graduate level class taught through the school of public health. It’s cross-listed as an epidemiology course, and a majority of the students are MPH-global health epidemiology students (you need a professor override to enroll in the class). The workload for this class is pretty intense (~300 pages a week and two presentations: 1 hour and 3 hours) but it’s so worth it. This course covers public health in multiple countries and teaches you the basics of colonialism, development, and political economy. I had 8 people in my class and we all became very close. I love this minor. The professors are insightful, wickedly funny, and tell the best stories. The classes are always small (about 15-20 people) which makes for great discussions and class energy.
  • NON LSA MAJORS

     

    • Engineering

       

      • Biomedical Engineering (BME)

        • Nick: I always knew that BME was something I would be interested. Therefore, I spent the first couple of years confirming that I wanted to do it. It also really helped that I took ENGR 110, a course that helped to describe all of the engineering majors and what it means to be an engineer. I chose this major because not only did I really love robotics, but I also wanted to go into medicine. BME was the perfect combo and 4 years later, I still feel it is! One thing I would say is that my love for robotics eventually transformed more into an interest in engineering/research skills. I have a several classes that I really enjoyed in this major, specifically BME 458 and Physiol 404. Both courses are really awesome ways to combine engineering design with medically relevant topics. I can say that I am very happy in this major. It gives me a very good education in a broad span of topics. The con is that it is a lot of work. Any engineering major will lead to long hours of homework. To be pre-med and BME also means a lot of semesters spent taking about 16-18 credits in order to be able to fit all of the necessary courses before graduation. 
    • Kinesiology 

      • Movement Science

        • Michael: I decided to study movement science the fall of my sophomore year. I chose this major because the School of Kinesiology offers smaller class sizes that coincide well with the field of medicine that I hope to pursue. Since I hope to pursue a career in sports medicine, Movement Science offers me a vast range of courses that will only contribute to my growing passion for helping athletes prevent, treat, and diagnose sports injuries. My favorite class is Movesci 330, the Biomechanics of Human Movement. In the class, I get to analyze how the body moves, calculate to what extent the body moves, and describe the motion of the human body through qualitative and quantitative measures. The class is very hands-on and offers many opportunities to actively engage with the material, fellow classmates, and the professor. One con about this major is that typically, students in the School of Kinesiology are not often pre-med. There might not be much overlap with the students you see in your Movesci classes and your pre-med classes.
  • Guest posts

    • Spanish

      • Cindy: I decided on my double major sophomore year (Spanish and BMS). I enjoyed Spanish in high school because language learning challenges you to think differently — it’s not rote-memorization like a lot of the pre-med classes I would be taking in my other major — so I enrolled in a few Spanish classes in college. I mainly chose the Spanish major because the minor requires upper-level literature classes, which I knew I didn’t want to do. I enjoyed the more linguistics-focused classes I was in at the time and wanted to shift away from literature. My favorite class was SPANISH 333; I took it abroad in Salamanca, Spain with Nick Henriksen. It was my first sampling of the linguistics course. I also enjoyed it because it was immediately applicable since I was in a heavy spanish speaking setting. A con of pursuing a language study is that it does require constant practice to keep up the skills. Especially as someone who didn’t grow up learning or using this language and only having limited time with it in class, you really have to make the most of it to get out of it what you want (most people say conversational fluency is the goal). For that reason, a study abroad program is probably the best way to get at least a couple of language classes done because immersion is the best way to learn it, and UM is a lot more flexible with finances and scholarships for abroad trips than many students realize.
    • Public Health Sciences

      • Ravi: I applied to the school of public health winter semester of sophomore year, got accepted that spring break, then committed before the end of the semester. I took PUBHLTH 200 and realized that there’s a lot of correlation between public health and medicine. Since medicine needs more public health initiatives to create a more personalized treatment for patients, public health is a hugely relevant and important field of study. PUBHLTH 370, Biology and Pathophysiology were my favorite classes. In these classes, you get to learn about the biology behind viruses, chronic diseases, and these topics are very applicable to medicine. One downside to this major is that you only get two years to complete all your requirements and almost all your classes have to be in the department for your junior and senior years, which doesn’t create a lot of space for a minor in any other school. Within the degree, though, there’s a wide variety of classes. If you’re a B.S. student, you can still take classes that the B.A. students are taking.

We’re back with more tips and foresight for all of you incoming undergrads and interested pre-meds! If you haven’t already, check out our first installment of this series:

What I Wish I Knew Pt 1

This time, Pre-Med Hub has teamed up with all of our newest advisors in the team to bring you some more things we’ve learned during our diverse pre-med paths.

 

It is never too early to start planning out what you want to do and the things you are interested in.

Start briefly planning your future courses and give yourself deadlines for things you want to complete in the future. By setting goals for yourself, it will encourage you to stay on top of things as time goes on. By planning out your time as an undergrad, it will make each step closer to med school less stressful and hectic when the time comes.

Take the time to look into the opportunities and resources on campus as early as possible. Being at a big public university, it can be daunting to know the amount of opportunities on campus. Because of this, students could then be too overwhelmed where they might not know how to start. Therefore, start by talking with people such as pre-health advisors. After that, talk to other students and friends who are interested in the same field as well. Using the umich websites to look for organizations, resources, and opportunities will also be beneficial as well. If you really put in effort and dedicate time into looking for these opportunities, it will pay off in the end when you need them. 

Schedule meetings with your pre-health advisor earlier than you think you need to! They see a lot of students so their schedules fill up quickly – I personally recommend one meeting per semester to discuss course scheduling, summer plans, when to take the MCAT, etc.

The pre-med community is only cutthroat if you let it be cutthroat.

If you find an inclusive community and believe that people are on your side, you’ll feel much better. It’s an entire mindset change. Be wary of being taken advantage of by other students for knowledge/ resources without any reimbursement (e.g. sharing notes versus working on a “group study guide” but only you contribute), but in general, more people are on your side than you think. While you might sometimes want to dissociate completely from the pre-med community, it can be beneficial to have a few friends who are also thinking about becoming doctors. There are so many different opinions and suggestions out there, so having some peers who you appreciate and whose opinions you value can be very helpful in your pre-med journey.

If you know you’re susceptible to adopting or buying into group attitudes, consider fulfilling your pre-med requirements with classes less popular amongst pre-meds. When you’re in class with 200+ other students, most of whom are pre-med, two or three times a week, it can be difficult not to compare yourself to everyone else and feel judged in return. Of course, make sure you’re interested in the material in the class and willing to commit the time required to do well, but the  specific classes you end up taking are not that big of a deal. As long as you fulfill your requirements, any class works. People may say that some classes are harder than others, but really you will have you own experience and it could be vastly different. 

Take the time to explore things that are interesting to you. Med schools want to see that you are passionate about something, whatever that may be. Don’t exclusively look for student orgs and classes that will look good on a resume, instead do things that you enjoy. Undergrad is the time to explore and learn as much as possible. Every student is unique, and med schools aren’t looking for applicants to be carbon copies of each other. They are looking for a multidimensional applicant with a diverse array of experiences and interests.

Choose the classes you want to take, major in whatever you want, and join the clubs that genuinely interest you. While the pre-med track should still provide the overarching framework to your undergrad experience, make sure you’re still being you in the process.If you like to do research, take your time to find a research opportunity that you are truly passionate about. Don’t do research as a way to check the list of common pre-med activities, do it if you enjoy the process of research and the purpose behind it. 

Being involved in what you are passionate for is enough to set you apart. Even if the things you like or want to do may not fall into the medical category, doing things your way can make you stand out and be seen as unique by the admissions department at medical schools. Therefore, try to find a balance of doing things that will help your path to med school as well as participating in things you personally enjoy. Also, having a hobby or a skill outside of your academic career can be a great  source of stress relief!!

Staying organized is the key to reducing stress.

Make sure you have a calendar and to-do list (either electronic or paper) where you can schedule your meetings, assignments, exams, classes, and office hours. This will help you keep track of the countless things you are responsible for and help you prioritize what needs to be done at that hour.

Try to make a weekly schedule and have a plan for your week from the first week of classes. Many classes are demanding and you need to allocate enough time to perform well in them. Having a weekly schedule helps you to manage your time better. However, if you missed something, know that this could happen to anyone and there are things that are out of our control. Try to adjust your plans instead of panicking and quitting.  

Re-evaluate your feelings towards medicine at every step of your pre-med journey.

It can be very easy to register and take pre-med classes without a second thought because your 4-year plan says so. You change a lot in college and medicine is a big, big commitment. Compile your class, shadowing, and volunteering experiences from the semester and think about if pre-med is right for you. Remember, there are tons of other health-related fields! Doing these quick checks at the end of semesters will both help you find what you’re truly passionate about, save you from unnecessary stress, and maximize your time in college.

Don’t get discouraged if you fail a class or don’t get an A. A big part of starting college is learning how to study and time manage. I know plenty of people who had to retake a class or two and still got into grad school.

Taking gap years is completely acceptable. In fact, many med schools prefer older applicants due to maturity (they’ve lived life outside pre-med track and have had time to find their “why” in medicine). It doesn’t mean you’re a “bad pre-med,” or backing down from the challenges medicine poses. If you’ve been dreaming of becoming a doctor since you can remember, that’s great! It doesn’t mean, however, that going directly into med school is the best thing for you. At minimum, you’re looking at 8 years of your life with very little time to yourself. Take advantage of a year or two (or more) to take care of and prepare yourself for what’s ahead. That being said, do something you find meaningful, whether it’s medicine-related or not, during your gap year(s). There are organized gap year programs and positions to help you structure your time better if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Don’t be afraid to ask for guidance!!

There are plenty of others who have gone before you and can offer advice in your perspective career or major. People will be more than willing to help as long as you ask!  

Invest time into getting to know the people around you. Odds are you might have other classes with these students. Building the foundation of your relationship now will allow you to build a friendship that could span across your entire undergraduate career. Also, don’t be afraid to ask people to study with you. It’s a good way to have someone hold you accountable and be able to bounce ideas off of each other. 

Make time for yourself.

It is easy to get caught up in academics and other responsibilities, but remember that college is one of the best times of your life. Don’t forsake personal relationships and self care for the never-ending grind of being a pre-med. Mental health is extremely important, and spreading yourself too thin will almost definitely lead to burnout. Take time for yourself whether that is working out or taking a nap. We all need time away from studying in order to rejuvenate ourselves and rest our brains.

Take your first semester at college to relax and enjoy the college experience. Branch out and make as many friends as you want, and explore college life. School and life will only get more hectic as you get further into your pre-med journey so make sure to enjoy as much as possible. Don’t put too much on your plate. Try to get used to the rigor of college classes and potentially get involved in one or two extracurriculars.

Spring Term after freshman year is a very good time to catch up on coursework if you feel behind, or it can be a good time to get ahead on coursework. Being able to focus on one tough class is very helpful and is a good way to really learn the material well for the MCAT.  It’s also a great way to enjoy Ann Arbor in the summer! 

 

 Just breathe. Everything will be okay.

 

 

 

Being pre-med can be difficult. Besides the ever-growing competition both in number and strength of applications, it is a long road with payoff much further ahead than many other jobs. As we delve into this topic, bear one thing in mind: you will never know everything, and that’s okay. We at Pre-Med Hub are still continuing to navigate pre-med life, just like you. But over the years, here are a few things we have learned along the way:

 

  1. Stop comparing yourself to other pre-med students. This is something that everyone struggles with at some point, but it is so important to remember. Everyone has different experiences. Some people have 1000 hours of volunteering, others have published 3 papers by their sophomore year, and yet others simply have a 4.0 GPA and 525 MCAT score. It’s fine, and maybe even effective, to motivate yourself with your peers. However, just because you don’t have those particular experiences or statistics, it DOES NOT mean you will not get into medical school and become a doctor. Find volunteering and research that YOU are passionate about, and can therefore talk extensively about, and that’s what will shine through in your application in the end.
  2. Don’t stretch yourself too thin your first few semesters. This is advice that all premeds (ALL OF US) have gotten and yet, we still chose to ignore it. Take that fun freshman seminar! Take a semester abroad! We don’t say this just because college should be enjoyable, but because it is really hard to counter the effect high credit-low grade classes will have on your GPA. Taking all your orgos and physics courses freshman year might seem like a good idea, but your GPA and MCAT score will thank you if you wait on taking them until you are ready. So many of us try to take as many classes as we can early on in undergrad and we only realize senior year that we could have taken things at a much slower pace. It is common for us to develop more efficient and self-catered study tactics as we progress through college, so it can be very valuable to wait to take classes that you anticipate will be difficult to you until you become more seasoned. Taking all your essential premed classes like biochem and psych early won’t help if you if you forget all the material by the time it comes to take your MCAT. If it becomes necessary, retake a course you struggled in significantly so that you can show improvement in that subject area.
  3. Take biochem as close to your MCAT as possible – semester or summer before preferably so you don’t forget the material. Remember that two different sections of the MCAT (Chem/Phys and Bio/Biochem) will test material from your undergraduate biochem course.
  4. Do your research on every class you register for. Although a class syllabus or intro information may seem interesting, an unfair professor or a ridiculous grading scale may make you regret your choice for the semester and lose interest in the topic. A good source to check out is https://art.ai.umich.edu/, where you can see official grade distributions of previous classes, some over several terms.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask for letters of recommendation during freshman or sophomore year when your professor still knows you and remembers you. HOWEVER, be sure to keep in contact with them until you apply, whether that’s through email or stopping by their office about once a semester. Time will be on your side and they’ll get to know you even better.
  6. Attending a big university like Michigan has a lot of benefits. We have so many opportunities at our disposal. Use the Career Center for interview tips, go to Newnan to see a pre-health advisor, or go to Sweetland to get your personal statement edited. Find a student organization where you can make a significant impact, or create your own. This is your opportunity to create your own path and discover where your passions lie.
  7. Join a mix of big and small student organizations so you see what suits you more. It’s a lot easier to get more involved in small orgs and you can really shape the way it is run, but large orgs can give you access to people and opportunities you wouldn’t be exposed to otherwise.
  8. On a similar note, our campus has so many cool organizations that aren’t health related at all. It’s important to have a personality and interests outside of premed. In fact, there’s a portion of the AMCAS that asks for hobbies and other interests to see that you are well rounded and aren’t spending alllll your time on Netflix. If you’re interested in dance, music, religion, arts/photography, activism, cooking, fashion, sports, or even squirrels, THERE’S AN ORG FOR YOU! It is important you invest time in activities you are truly interested in and are passionate about, not just for the sake of your sanity, but also for when you are interviewing as medical schools.
  9. Speaking of activities outside the medical field, seek out non-clinical volunteering. It will strengthen your application, show that you care about your local communities, and you can actually learn a lot of lessons that can later be applied to your work in healthcare. The key here is to volunteer with a population that is “unlike your own or the community you come from”. For example, that could mean volunteering in the underserved, elderly, or veteran communities. We highly suggest that you do not volunteer among your peers on campus. While this can still be meaningful and worthwhile, it doesn’t allow you to expand your horizons and learn what it is like to help people outside of the college bubble. Some local places to volunteer in Ann Arbor include Ozone House and Safe House.
  10. Don’t close off any career paths or specialties or fields for yourself before you get to experience them. I’ve met people who go through their entire undergrad as premeds, only to realize that their true passion lies in nursing or teaching or research. They never gave themselves time off to think about their end goal because they go through undergrad with a myopic fixation on medical school because of preconceived notions and family expectations.
  11. If you are considering applying to DO schools, try to shadow a DO doctor to get a feel for what it consists of, and try to get a letter of recommendation from them if possible. It’ll show that you know how this part of the medical field operates, and it will help demonstrate that you chose to apply DO because you genuinely like and understand the philosophy.
  12. Go to speaker events and panels: as many as you can! I know you’re busy with classes and a million other things, but doing all these ~optional~ things can help you validate your own choices about the trajectory of your future. Don’t be like the typical pre-med that is obsessed with charting their every hour or only puts in effort into projects that give them a direct academic or career benefit. A lot of the mentors and speakers you will meet are really passionate about working with students, especially undergrads, and can help you in ways beyond finding that alumni/shadowing/research connection.
  13. There are a lot of cool ways to get involved in the healthcare field as an undergrad. Of course, you can volunteer in hospitals. But you could also train to be a medical scribe, EMT, or CNA. There are classes here in Ann Arbor as well as in a number of community colleges across the country.
  14. Just because you are pre-med does not mean that you have to be perfect. Please take time for self-care. You are not alone. Pre-Med burnout is real. Physician burnout is real and prevalent more than ever. Please you the resources you have available to you in order to get any support you feel like you might need. Whether that be petting dogs on the diag or in the library during finals or venturing to CAPS, do what you need to do to stay mentally healthy on campus. The last thing you, and the people who care about you, want is for you to crash and burn. Prevent this by taking steps to prioritize mental health throughout your entire time on campus. Learning how to take care of yourself now will be extremely useful during your future as a physician, especially in order to deter compassion fatigue. Overall, finding a self-care strategy that works for your lifestyle will help you on your pre-med path, during medical school, and as a physician.

And finally: enjoy the process. The pre-med process can be really rough, but hopefully you’re taking science classes and participating in all these activities because you find them interesting and want to learn. When the going gets rough, try to keep that in mind.

Originally Posted Sept 7, 2017

Hi folks!

I’m sure many of you are nervous as the new school year approaches, however, there is no need to panic yet! The Pre-Med Hub Team has come up with some “back-to-pre-med” tips to help you successfully start the new school year. Below are some great tips we thought of:

 

1. Classes first and find the perfect balance!

Many students get so caught up in the idea of having to prioritize volunteering, gain leadership in university orgs, and generally focus on creating the perfect profile for medical schools in terms of extracurriculars. However, students could potentially jeopardize their GPA in doing so. Just a gentle reminder, medical schools will look at your GPA before they look at your extracurriculars. If you don’t have the target GPA they are looking for, they might not bother to even look at what you have been doing outside of the classroom. Keep this in mind as you go into the semester and make sure you are focusing on your classes. Then, once you get the hang of the rigor of your courses, you can fit in extra-curriculars in your schedule when you have the time.

2. Speaking of classes…get to know your professor!

This doesn’t necessarily mean become your professor’s best friend and try to get a recommendation out of them. Rather, get to know their teaching style, listen in lecture in terms of what is going to be on the test. Figure out what they want you to know for the exam and how you can get the best grade possible in their class. If you find that you are having trouble adjusting to the rigor of the course or you don’t know how to succeed in the class, visit your professor in office hours! Tell your professor you name and how you can personally succeed and stay on top of the course material (please, oh please, do not ask how you can get an A in the class!). Maybe if you go to office hours enough, you might feel comfortable asking for a recommendation! Just remember that you should be asking the professor if they really know you, not necessarily because you aced the class.

3. Think about the MCAT… but only if you feel ready!

WARNING: only do this if you feel comfortable in taking this examination! If you feel that you aren’t ready, do not force yourself to take the exam. However, if you feel that your pre-med classes have adequately prepared you and that you have some extra time to study this semester, maybe you can think about taking the MCAT in the near future.

4. Talk to an advisor!

This could be one of the Pre-Med Hub board members or a pre-health advisor. Just make sure that you’re doing everything that you need to do. You don’t want to have to delay applying to medical school because you don’t have experience in a certain area which is important to medical schools (clinical exposure, volunteering, etc.)

5. HAVE FUN!!

Seriously. Whether it be not doing any work on Friday’s or taking 5 minutes out of your day to do some yoga, please find sometime for yourself. You want to avoid burning out as much as possible. Having some time to unwind your brain from a long day of rigorous science classes, it will be very much worth it in the end. And if you’re one of those people who feels guilty for not studying, know missing those 5 extra minutes to study to meditate will not cause your grade to change. Who knows it might even improve it!

From all of us at Pre-Med Hub, we hope you have a wonderful start to the semester! If you have any questions, feel free to post on our website. 🙂

 

Best,

The Pre-Med Hub Board

 

“Many students get so caught up in the idea of having to prioritize volunteering, gain leadership in university orgs, and generally focus on creating the perfect profile for medical schools in terms of extracurriculars. However, students could potentially jeopardize their GPA in doing so”

Margarete Wallner

 

 

 

Originally Posted Apr 3, 2018

 

Over the past few years the social climate at our university has become much more sensitive to the topic of mental health and although as a community we are slowly breaking down the stigma of mental health it is still prevalent in the pre-med community. In this increasingly competitive community it can be difficult to take care of and be aware of your mental health. We all know a lot of habits in college are not conducive to mental health which is why we need to talk about it, and specifically how it applies pre-med students.

Managing stress and mental illness is like balancing on a tightrope; it takes practice and trial and error. Sleep deprivation and chronic stress make people more susceptible to spells of depression or anxiety. Constant stress and lack of sleep is pretty common among college student which is why it is so important we try to limit the unhealthy habits we find so normal. Managing your time better will help you get more sleep and cut down on stress. Getting the hang of time management can be difficult for pre-med students because so much is expected of us, so here are some tips that can help dealing with stress:

1. Try to take at least one non STEM course a semester to cut down on your workload.

2. Only join clubs/groups on campus that you’re passionate about.

3. Give yourself some personal time each week (Actually schedule in time for yourself that is not just free time).

     If you feel like you’re experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety you might feel less motivated, feel like you’re falling behind in class, or not meeting your goals. You can try making list of all the things you need to do and cross them off as you go. These don’t need to be big goals or academic assignments but can be everyday things like “go to the gym,” “shower,” or “pay credit card bill.” This can make you feel more accomplished and organized, reducing stress and symptoms of mental illness. Meditating has proven to reduce anxiety and exercise is known to release endorphins and if done regularly can reduce feelings of depression.  

     Remember that there isn’t really a cure for anxiety and depression. There are treatments and lifestyle choices that will reduce the role that mental illness plays in your life but this means you need to constantly be taking care of your mental health and not just after a bad spell.   

Also, try not to close yourself off from friends or family and if you feel yourself withdrawing from social situations try reaching out to someone you trust. If you’re not sure who to turn to, CAPS is an amazing resource on campus.      

CAPS:

3100 Michigan Union

(734) 764-8312 – (24hrs)

“Managing stress and mental illness is like balancing on a tightrope; it takes practice and trial and error.”

Corey Flynn