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.


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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10 Things I Learned When My Best Friend Got Pregnant In High School

In this world where you can be anything: be a friend (and be a good one).

Life: full of amazing, unforeseen circumstances. How you roll with the punches only reveals your strength.
True friends are like diamonds: bright, beautiful, valuable, and always in style." -Nicole Richie

I remember when I first heard the big news. I didn't want to believe it. My heart dropped. I was worried for you. What would happen? How would you get through this? Nothing we knew would ever be the same. Our world was about to change forever. I recalled the verse Isaiah 41:10, "Do not be afraid, for I am with you." I knew God was with you and would always be. I knew God needed me to be here for you, no matter what.

Turns out, you had this all in the bag. You handled everything with grace and dignity. You were strong even on your hardest days. You were overwhelmed with faith and you inspired me with your perseverance through the hardest times. I could not be more proud of who you became because of the cards you were dealt.

To Meaghan: I love you. I'm always here, no matter where. Hudson is so lucky to have you.

Here's what I learned from you and your sweet baby boy:

1. Contrary to popular belief, it is NOT the end of the world

Start making plans for the future. Pick out clothes, decorations, and toys. Help with all the madness and preparation. She would do the same for you. Plus, 9 p.m. runs to Toys-R-Us just to buy the baby some socks (because you do not know the gender yet) is always a good idea. You have to focus on the big picture. Life doesn't stop even when you want to.

2. No matter how much you want to freak out, remain calm

Getting unexpected news is never easy to hear. If needed, cry. Cry until you cannot anymore. Then, get up and be strong, she needs you. Be flexible (You want to come over to hang out? Right now? No, I'm not in the middle of ten thousand things, come on over). Be available (yes, even for her 3 a.m. insomnia calls just to see "what's up?") "Meaghan, why are you even awake right now?"

3. Radiate positivity. Always. 

This is an emotional time. The LAST thing she needs is someone bringing her down. "No, honey, you're glowing!" "You do not look fat in that bikini!!" "You are rocking that baby bump!" "Oh, that's your the third day in a row you're eating a Sonic burger for lunch? You go girl!"

4. Be ready for all the times: happy, confusing, stressful, sad, (but mostly) exciting

Mixed emotions are so hard, but look for the silver lining. With your support, she will be strong.

"Who knew picking out the brand of diapers to buy was so stressful?"

5. This world is a scary place. You never want to be all alone, so don't be. 

Like the song says, we, really do, all need someone to lean on. Just being there for someone goes a long way. "Meaghan what the heck are you doing in MY bed? How long have you been here?"

6. Lean on God. His plan is greater than we could ever imagine. 

When you don't know where to go, or who to turn to, pray! Pray for the burdens you feel. Pray for the future. Pray for patience. Pray for the ability to not grow weary. Pray for a heart of compassion. Pray. Pray. Pray.

7. Something we never knew we needed. 

Some of the best things in life are things we never knew we needed. Who knows where we would be without this sweet face?

"Hudson say Lib. Libby. L-- Come ON!" "CAT!" "Okay, that works too."

8. "Mother knows best"...is accurate, whether you believe it or not

Turns out, seventeen-year-olds don't know how to plan baby showers. Our moms have been there, done that. They want to be involved just as much as we do, so let them! Listen to their guidance. After all, they're professionals.

9. There will *almost always* be a "better way" of doing something...but, be a cheerleader, not a critic 

This is something many people struggle with in general, but it is not your DNA, it is not your place to be a critic. Let her raise her own baby. You are there to be a friend, not a mentor. ****Unless she's about to name the baby something absolutely terrible -- for the love of that baby, don't let her name that kid something everyone hates.

10.  At the end of the day, it's not what you have or what you know; rather, it is all about who you love and those who love you

Life has adapted, but for the better. We grew up, learned, and became stronger. All the while, we stayed friends every step of the way. We still have the same fun and most definitely, the same laughs.

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The Magic Of Studying What You Love

It is never a waste of time.


Going to high school, my classmates and I got thrown into a lot of classes required for graduation that covered specific "core topics"- central courses to the curriculum, but that wasn't necessarily of interest to us. While exposure to all of these topics is good for a well-rounded education in the state education department (it was a public school, after all), it was often harder for my peers and I to focus on all of these subjects- but it definitely makes honing in on one topic you love later that much more exciting.

The beauty of higher education, whether college or trade school or anything else, is that the schematic of your studies centers on whatever you choose. In my experience, yes, there is still a core curriculum of courses not directly related to your area of study. However, at many schools, it is considerably less restrictive. (Disclaimer- I can only claim familiarity with liberal arts colleges and music conservatories. However, I am sure that they are closer to the rule than the exception.) Even the years prior to that, you can often make the effort to shift your schedule more towards a certain subject if you want by adding extra-curricular activities. What does this mean, then?

It means your education is up to you. You get to pick what you become a little more of an expert in. So I say, spend time studying what you love.

Do it because it will foster skills in self-discipline. It's way easier to focus on your work when it isn't boring you half to death. There's so much to learn about any given area of study that, once you open the door, you'll have access to a whole world of knowledge. If it's something you love, interest transforms into curiosity- what better approach to an education than that? It drives motivation to learn and achieve. If you take advantage of your position as a student in an institution with educators who have done what you want to do, who have your best interests at heart, and who can, therefore, share golden advice with you, you can only go farther.

Do it because you already have the passion to go through with it. This is related, but not quite the same. If you love something enough to study it, it shows that you are willing to work for it. When it is going smoothly, the excitement to dive in each day is conducive to progress like nothing else. And when it gets hard and feels like the wrong choice, it will always be worth it once you get to the other side because of how much it means to you.

Do it because it can grow a community. Advice that college students hear all too often is to join clubs because they connect you to those with similar interests. Studying what you love means that you've already joined a group of people who like what you like, just by being a fellow student with a given major or just from sharing classes. That's not to say clubs aren't important- but it definitely gives you a head start.

Do it because there's no better feeling than working towards something you care about and knowing you've made progress. All of the points made above add up into not just growth in that specific area, but growth in your personal journey, and that is something really remarkable.

So whether it's the arts or the sciences, mathematics or communications, or anything else, I encourage you to go out and learn about what you love. There are so many possibilities if you allow yourself to grow nearer to them. Why miss out?

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