High School Students, Ask Yourself If You Really Want To Be Pre-Med, And Be Honest With The Answer

High School Students, Ask Yourself If You Really Want To Be Pre-Med, And Be Honest With The Answer

A glance into the mind of a freshman pre-med.

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If you liked your science classes in high school, are smart, and want to help people, you probably have considered being a doctor, just like around 1,400 other students in Baylor's Class of 2022. Blinded by unrealistic portrayals in the media, a noble altruism, and general naivete, few stop to consider the real-life implications of the long journey to become a doctor and if it is right for them. Therefore, the majority of entering pre-med freshmen change career paths within two years, and for a variety of legitimate reasons besides not being able to handle the heavy workload.

So, if you are a high school student considering being pre-med (or another form of pre-health), here is a realistic list of pre-health related commitments of a current freshman premed.

1. General Biology/General Chemistry/Physics/Calculus and Labs

Notorious for being "weed-out classes," entry-level math and science courses are no joke. Although on the surface the material seems to be the same as your high school classes (especially APs), professors demand a much deeper understanding of the material at a much faster pace and often go beyond what is taught in high school. Between reading the chapters, taking notes, solving problem sets, and reviewing, keeping up with the lectures requires consistency, dedication, and many hours outside the classroom. Oh, and don't forget about labs, which are separate time blocks in your schedule, and their coursework: pre-labs and lab reports.

2. PHP 1105: Foundations of Medicine

A mandatory primarily online class for pre-med students at Baylor, PHP 1105 discusses how to become a doctor, all the way from the undergraduate level to the application process to medical school years to residency and fellowships and more. Full of useful information from the textbook and video lectures, PHP 1105 also requires students to attend in-person a variety of workshops, speaker events, and socials over the course of the semester. Another requirement is to join an approved pre-health student organization.

3. Student Organizations

Given that part of PHP 1105 is to join a prehealth-specific student organization, involvement in a pre-med extracurricular is expected. We have several on campus, such as American Medical Students Association (AMSA), American Medical Women's Association (AMWA), the Multicultural Association of Pre-Health Students (MAPS), Medical Service Organization (MSO), the Christian PreHealth Fellowship (CPF), and Baylor University Medical Ethics Discussion Society (BU MEDS) among others. In order to be an active member, students must attend general meetings and social events and usually do community service hours as well. These student organizations are great opportunities to meet other pre-med students (especially upperclassmen) and demonstrate a commitment to the medical field. However, it is another time commitment that needs to be juggled in a busy college life.

4. Volunteering

Heavily emphasized on applications to medical school, getting involved in consistent community service is also another common expectation of freshmen premed students. From tutoring in disadvantaged local schools to spending time with hospice patients to serving soup to the homeless to playing with abandoned cats and dogs, there are volunteer opportunities for every interest. The pre-med organizations often provide these opportunities for their members to get involved in the community, simplifying the process. However, to truly gain experience and demonstrate a genuine commitment to helping people, service should be done on a regular basis (especially weekly) instead of only the bare minimum of hours.

5. Leadership/Research/Shadowing

Leadership experience, research, and shadowing are also essential portions of a pre-med student's undergraduate experience, especially in order to determine if medicine is the right fit. However, this can be difficult to find as a first-semester freshman, but steps in the right direction can definitely be taken. Simply engaging with professors and actively participating in student organizations can go a long way into finding those leadership positions, research and shadowing opportunities later, but this requires intentionality and effort from the beginning.

Even if this seems like a lot, don't forget about non-science classes, sleep, spending time with friends, other extracurricular, possibly a job, and taking care of yourself too! Burnout is really easy, and your college experience should not be solely focused on getting into medical school. Although these commitments are often demanding, they should also be enjoyable, a reflection of a deeper passion for people and medicine, instead of just items on a checklist.

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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Studying the LSAT and Working Full Time

How to make room for advancing your future while maintaining the present.

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Working full time and studying for the LSAT proves a delicate tightrope that many people grapple to tread. If you find yourself in such a situation, then some good news is on the horizon as many have juggled the requirements of both aspects seamlessly in the past. Today we take a look at what these individuals did and how you too can effectively balance the scales without leaning too much to one side or the other.


Starting early

Having a full-time job leaves little morsels of time to work with and often the best approach entails beginning early so that the collective total makes up constructive study hours in the long run. As a general rule of thumb for the working class, start a minimum of 4 but preferably 6 months to the date of the test. Science dictates that there are half a dozen intellectual and quality hours per day and with a demanding job breathing down your neck, you can only set aside about a third of that for productive LSAT test prep. With 3 months being the measure of ideal study time for a full-time student, you'll need double that period to be sufficiently up to par.


Maximizing your mornings

Studying in the evenings after a grueling and intellectually draining day at work is as good as reading blank textbooks. It's highly unlikely you'll be able to grasp complex concepts at this time, so start your mornings early so that you can devote this extra time when you are at your mental pinnacle to unraveling especially challenging topics. Evening study times should only be for refresher LSAT prep or going through light subject matters requiring little intellectual initiative. For those who hit their stride at night, take some time to unwind and complete your chores before getting down to business well before bedtime.

Taking some time off

All work and no play does indeed make Jack a dull boy and going back and forth between work and study is a sure-fire recipe for disaster. So take some time off of work every now and then, preferably during weekdays- you can ask for a day off every fortnight or so- as weekends are a prime study period free of work obligations. Such breaks reduce fatigue, better study performance and increase the capacity for information retention.

Prioritizing study

Given the scarce oasis of free time in your busy schedule, you cannot afford to miss even a single session and this commitment is important in spreading out the burden so that it is not overwhelming as you approach the finish line. Be sure to have a clear schedule in place and even set reminders/alarms to help enforce your timetable. If it's unavoidable to miss a single session, set aside a makeup as soon as possible.


Last but not least, have a strong finish. Once you are approaching the home run i.e. about 2 or 3 weeks to the test, take this time off to shift your focus solely to the test. The last month can make or break your LSAT test prep and it'll be hard to concentrate on working whilst focusing completely on the test.

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