To The High School Student Considering Pre-Med In College

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.


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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Stop Discourging Future Teachers

One day, you'll be thankful for us.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?" It seems like this is the question we heard from the time we were able to talk. Our answers started out as whatever movie or action figure was popular that year. I personally was going to be Cinderella and shoot spider webs out of my wrists at the same time. The next phase was spent choosing something that we read about in a book or saw in movies. We were aspiring to be actors, skydivers, and astronauts.

After we realized NASA may not necessarily be interested in every eager 10-year-old, we went through the unknown stage. This chapter of life can last a year or for some, forever. I personally did not have a long “unknown" stage. I knew I was going to be a teacher, more specifically I knew I wanted to do elementary or special education. I come from a family of educators, so it was no surprise that at all the Thanksgiving and Christmas functions I had actually figured it out. The excitement of knowing what to do with the rest of my life quickly grew and then began to dwindle just as fast.


"Well, looks like you'll be broke all your life."

“That's a lot of paperwork."

“If I could go back and do it again, I wouldn't choose this."

These are just a few replies I have received. The unfortunate part is that many of those responses were from teachers themselves. I get it, you want to warn and prepare us for the road we are about to go down. I understand the stress it can take because I have been around it. The countless hours of grading, preparing, shopping for the classroom, etc. all takes time. I can understand how it would get tiresome and seem redundant. The feeling a teacher has when the principal schedules yet another faculty meeting to talk an hour on what could've been stated in an email… the frustration they experience when a few students seem uncontrollable… the days they feel inadequate and unseen… the sadness they feel when they realize the student with no supplies comes from a broken home… I think it is safe to say that most teachers are some of the toughest, most compassionate and hardworking people in this world.

Someone has to be brave enough to sacrifice their time with their families to spend time with yours. They have to be willing to provide for the kids that go without and have a passion to spread knowledge to those who will one day be leading this country. This is the reason I encourage others to stop telling us not to go for it.

Stop saying we won't make money because we know. Stop saying we will regret it, because if we are making a difference, then we won't. Stop telling us we are wasting our time, when one day we will be touching hearts.

Tell us to be great, and then wish us good luck. Tell us that our passion to help and guide kids will not go unnoticed. Tell us that we are bold for trying, but do not tell us to change our minds.

Teachers light the path for doctors, police officers, firefighters, politicians, nurses, etc. Teachers are pillars of society. I think I speak for most of us when I say that we seek to change a life or two, so encourage us or sit back and watch us go for it anyways.

Cover Image Credit: Kathryn Huffman

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14 Honest College Things The Class Of 2023 Needs To Know ~Before~ Fall Semester

Sit down, be humble.


To The Class of 2023,

Before you start your college career, please know:

1. Nobody...and I mean nobody gives a shit about your AP Calculus scores.


" I got a 5 in Calc AB AND BC, a 5 in AP Literature, awh but I only got a 4 in AP Chem"

2. THE SAME GOES FOR YOUR SAT/ACT SCORES + nobody will know what you're talking about because they changed the test like 10 times since.


3. College 8 AMs are not the same as your 0 period orchestra class in 12th grade.


4. You're going to get rejected from a lot of clubs and that does not make you a failure.


5. If you do get into your clubs, make sure not to overwhelm or overcommit yourself.

visual representation of what it looks like when you join too many clubs


6. It's OK to realize that you don't want to be pre-med or you want to change majors.


7. There will ALWAYS ALWAYS be someone who's doing better than you at something but that doesn't mean you're behind.


8. "I'm a freshman but sophomore standin-" No, you don't have to clarify that, you'll sound like an asshole.


9. You may get your first ever B-, C+ or even D OR EVEN A W in your life. College is meant to teach you how to cope with failure.


10. Go beyond your comfort zone. Join a theatre club if you're afraid of public speaking. Join an animal rescue club if you're afraid of animals. College is learning more about yourself.


11. Scholarships do exist. APPLY APPLY APPLY.


12. Don't try to brag about all the stuff you did in high school, you'll just sound like a weenie hut jr. scout


13. Understand and be sensitive to the fact that everybody around you has a different experience and story of getting to university.


14. You're going to be exposed to people with different opinions and views, don't fight them. Instead, try to explain your perspective and listen to their reasoning as well.


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