Name: Pooja Polamarasetti
Major(s) and minor(s): Biomolecular Science major, Gender and Health minor
Favorite class you took at Michigan: WS 400: Women’s Reproductive Health. I took this class because it aligns with some of my career goals and because the syllabus looked very interesting; instead of one professor all semester, the class is run by two physicians and each lecture is given by a different guest speaker, including people in fields like law, informatics, global health, sex therapy, and nursing. I started out this class getting the lowest essay grade I had ever gotten and seriously considered dropping it for a W. Before taking this upper-level writing course, I was lacking in writing experience compared to most of my peers (especially as a sophomore in a senior level class). However, I went to the professor to discuss dropping the class and she gave me some great advice: she told me that it would be more beneficial to use the course to bolster my writing skills and learn more about the topics I was so interested in, rather than dropping it to avoid a poor grade. I actually ended up regularly attending office hours, going to Sweetland, and doing essay rewrites to get an A, even after having a failing grade for the first half of the semester. I learned so much more in this class besides the obvious syllabus material in women’s health, and this experience truly shaped my GPA-driven thinking as a college student and pre-med.
When/How did you study for the MCAT: I self-studied the summer after sophomore year using textbooks from The Berkeley Review and online resources (Khan Academy, UWorld, Jack Westin, Reddit). I studied from May – Aug and took it right before my junior year of school started.
When did you take the MCAT: Sept 1, 2018
What was your pre-med experience: I had a pretty good pre-med experience, which I can fully attribute to all my peers and mentors. I had older students sit down with me even before freshman year orientation to help me figure out what extracurriculars I needed to do as a pre-med and what classes I should think about backpacking during orientation. Once freshman year started, I got a peer mentor assigned to me through an organization called MPAC, who I kept in touch with to ask questions and meet with all year. Part of the reason I was so involved in leadership here at Pre-Med Hub was because I knew how inaccessible general advising could be to students, but also how helpful peer advising and mentorship could be. I wanted to pay it forward and served in various mentorship roles, including through PMH, WISE, SLC-ELI, and MPAC, once I felt like I gained enough pre-med experience to be useful to other students.
Recommendations/advice for current students: If I had to do it all over again, I think I would take more risks as a pre-med. I definitely played it safe, from the classes I took to my major to my extracurricular choices. I knew that what I did would ultimately help me make it into medical school, but there are certain regrets that I have. For one, I wish I majored in a subject completely different from what I’d be learning in medical school; I have interests in subjects like Computer Science, Economics, Political Science, and Environment. As a Biomolecular Science major, I definitely learned everything I needed to as a pre-med, but I’m not coming out of college feeling fulfilled as a liberal arts student. Every pre-med is “interested in biology,” but I would encourage you all to explore your other interests as well, because you’ll be learning more biology/biochem than you ever wanted to know in medical school. This post puts it very nicely. I wish I got more involved in research, possibly in a field that is completely unrelated to STEM. I wish I joined dance or acapella groups, instead of sticking to my traditional pre-med clubs. I wish I had more of a life outside of pre-med because I think that would have prevented me from burning out around the time of MCAT and the application cycle.
DANCE 100 (hip-hop)
DANCE 100 (pilates)
DANCE 100 (intro to popping)
***I took one upper-level chemistry elective as part of a study abroad in SJTU, China in July between junior and senior year