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Wayne State University

Aim Higher

Dec 15 / WSU Pre-Health

Finding Your Passion

Being that I have many family members with careers in the medical field, I wasn’t very eager to shadow different doctors throughout the hospital. My first shadowing experience was during my summer break before senior year of high school (hello, I was missing the best tanning time) but I was enrolled in a program through my school called “Investigations in Medicine” so I thought I might as well give this whole “becoming a doctor” thing a shot.

I showed up on my first day of shadowing in scrubs that were somehow too short yet way too large, and my old Nike’s. The first day, all I seemed to do was run after med students and observe surgeries. I was that girl who asked a LOT of questions. Granted, I didn’t fully understand everything they were explaining to me because I was just a junior in high school, but I actually kind of enjoyed it. I always knew that I wanted to pursue a career that I was passionate about, and as of now, nothing had sparked a serious interest in me. I mean, my entire life was a LONG time to spend doing something I hated, so I just had to make sure that my career was one that I loved.

I came home that night a little defeated and told my friends and family that I wasn’t so sure about what I had seen. Gearing up for day two, I did a little research and tried to somehow learn everything about the human body in one night. The next morning, I walked into the office of a high risk OB-GYN and she immediately said that it was our “lucky day” and that one of her patients had gone into labor. All of the other high school students with me tried to refrain from gagging at the thought of someone giving birth, but secretly, I was really excited to see this surgery. I felt like a cast member on Grey’s Anatomy preparing to do a dramatic emergency operation on a car accident victim who would end up being my future husband. Sigh, better luck next time.

As I looked at the woman and man whose lives were about to change forever, I was fascinated. I will forever remember this moment and how grateful they were to their doctor for their beautiful little bundle of joy. I saw two other births that day, and thought that this would be the most rewarding career I could do. When I came home that day, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I was so excited to pursue something that I was passionate about and have continued to shadow high risk OB-GYN’s and be involved in the care of pregnant women.

While this may sound weird to some people, I think almost everyone who is majoring in pre-health will have this same AHA moment where they know what they are majoring in will satisfy them. Don’t be hard on yourself if you haven’t. Reach our to your doctors, talk to professors, talk to anyone you think can help you, and try to get some experience While it isn’t exactly easy to fit this in your already full schedule, it is so important to do and will give you valuable knowledge you can’t get anywhere else.

Have a great winter break!

Olivia

Dec 8 / WSU Pre-Health

The Art of Studying

Through high school, it wasn’t uncommon for me to take tests in which I dedicated only an hour to study for; which usually gave me the B or C grade I was looking for.

Going off of that, the transition to college is shocking! The work and expectations conflict with our daily lives, and many of us are still young and want to experience the “college life”, which more times than not is the dark shadow that hangs over our academic record later on.

For me, when I first came to Wayne as a Pre-Med freshman, I had no idea what I really got myself into. I realized that I needed to study like it was a full-time job; forty-hours or bust was my motto. Often times, when I would have my exams, sixty-hours was what I would put in. This may sound like a lot, but what I really needed to look at was my efficiency. Yeah, I studied forty-hours this week, but of those forty, how much time was I actually focused into my material and how much time was spent on Facebook, texting, talking, eating, etc.

From this I developed an effective process, a lot of which I learned from a guy by the name of Scott Young. Scott completed a four-year undergraduate degree from MIT within twelve months, without taking a single course. He did this while working a full-time job, keeping up with his blog, and writing a book. What drew me into his methods were mostly due to the fact that they made me question my habits.

The following are a few tips I learned, not only from him, but situations which caused me to become more efficient.

The first important thing to know is that, just because you cannot focus for more than 20 minutes, does not mean you have A.D.D/A.D.H.D. If somebody told you, “I tried to run for 20 minutes and I can’t, I think I need some special enhancements” (while knowing that this person woke up one day, never ran a day in their life, and tried to run consistently for 20 minutes), chances are that their inability to run isn’t some medical condition, it’s probably due to the fact that their body isn’t used to it! With this, understand that doing 10-15 minute bursts of studying is like training. Yes you will start at a low amount, maybe you can only study for 5-minutes at a time, but you gotta start somewhere. I had to keep in mind that if I were persistent, I would progress. You can even practice this with different activities, such as leisurely reading.For example, I would spend 15 minutes fully engrossed in a book or article and then, with a timer, tally the amount of 15-minute increments I would accumulate over a span of time and log it into my planner.

One issue that comes up is that we think we can easily multitask. While you can probably walk and talk at the same time, studying while having your phone around you probably is not the best idea. Even if you aren’t planning on using it, a text message notification or even just seeing your phone can trigger your body to lose focus. When going to the library,  I would often turn my phone off and put it inside of my backpack; any of my friends or family that needed to know my whereabouts, would know that during specific times of the day, I would be studying and could not be reached.

Another method I use often is “self-studying”; ask a person to explain Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and chances are they will reply with a verbatim definition, but what’s the likelihood that they can actually explain the concept? The way you self-study is similar to how we typically find out information about the things that go on in the world, the Internet. Using different sources like YouTube or Google, I often search the topics I am studying to see a different perspective or approach in the explanation. While doing this, try to relate the topics to your everyday experiences; ask yourself questions and then try to find their answers. Going back to our example regarding the Theory of Relativity, the way I would try to understand this is to think about how fast a pitcher throws a baseball. So say it’s recorded at 100mph, now say that the person who records this baseball speed is running next to the ball at 50mph, what will the machine read? Now, what if that person is running in the opposite direction of the ball at 50mph, what will it read? Einstein’s theory talks about the “relative speed”, how fast is the baseball recorded when the guy with the speed gun isn’t moving, how fast is the baseball when he is moving with the ball, and how fast is the baseball when he is moving away from the ball. To answer this, I would see how this situation relates to me, which surprisingly, I know that GPS systems work this way. There is a video on YouTube that explains this, so the next time someone asks a question about how the GPS tells you exactly how many feet until you need to turn even though the signal is coming from a satellite in space, you’ll be able to tell them how it calculates your speed and predicts where you will be in the few seconds it takes for the signal to get to your car.

These are a few methods I came up with; what are some methods you use? Comment below and share will your fellow peers. Also, if you have any questions or want me to speak about  a specific topic, let me know! Until next time, take care!

Nabeel

Dec 5 / WSU Pre-Health

Success Never Comes Easy

Ever since I can remember, I have always wanted to by a physician. Going through grade school and high school, school was usually pretty easy for me, and getting straight A’s was never a problem. However, once I started college, it was a WHOLE different story. I’ll cut to the chase here: classes are difficult and require an extensive time commitment. Take it from me, it is VERY hard to maintain an A in Bio 1500 while simultaneously maintaining your relationship with season 5 of How I Met Your Mother on Netflix. Unfortunately, I found this out the hard way.

Let me be honest with you all, adjusting to college life is hard. For some people, they are experiencing a freedom they have never been given before, and for others, they are missing some of the familiarity that they’ve known for the past eighteen years. While this is difficult enough for some students, add the stress of credit hours and maintaining a decent GPA, and it can seem impossible to manage everything. While I once felt extremely overwhelmed by everything that goes along with pre-health studies, I found a way to manage everything… and maybe still have time to binge Netflix once in awhile. (Don’t tell my professors)

1. Find a great advisor that you LOVE and never let them go.

This is extremely important to your success during undergraduate studies. Before I found an advisor that I could depend on for advice, I didn’t know exactly what path to follow or how to get to my intended destination. Make connections with advisors early on in your pre-health journey. You won’t regret it!

2. Form bonds with an older student

Students who have experienced more than you have are an extremely valuable resource during your pre-health journey. Being able to ask someone every question you have, from when you should start participating in research to when you should start studying for your MCAT, is a luxury not everyone is lucky enough to experience.

3. Show your personality and make connections with adults

While I tend to tell super embarrassing (typically not funny) jokes to people to make them feel comfortable, a lot of people remember this spunk about me and it helps me to form relationships with people. Try to actually get to know your professors, doctors you shadow, and adults in your field. Show them who you really are!

4. Make a to-do list and get it done

It’s easy to forget about an assignment or put it off until the very last minute. Get a planner and a to-do list and make them your best friends. Organization is key to success!

5. Last but not least, make time for yourself every day

Just because you are studying to pursue a career in the health field, doesn’t mean you don’t have a life! Take time to spend time with friends, family, and everyone else who holds an important place in your heart. Do yoga, go on a long run, meditate, or do whatever allows you to center yourself and relieve yourself from the stresses of college life.

While the pre-health journey may be one that requires hard work and dedication, it is WELL worth it in the end. Stay motivated and don’t forget to take some time for you.

Best,

Olivia

Dec 3 / WSU Pre-Health

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Hello to my fellow pre-meds!

It’s hard to believe that I have actually survived three years as a pre-medical student and now face my last lap as an undergraduate. I assure you there were times I didn’t think I would make it here, so if you’re feeling the same, don’t lose hope! As a senior, I am currently in the midst of one of the greatest time periods in the pre-med journey: interview season! I know we’ve had an article or two about interviewing on here before, but now that I’ve actually had the opportunity to experience the interview process, I think I can offer some insight. I have found the interview process to be surprisingly enjoyable and I can genuinely say that it has been my favorite part of the application process.

I guess the most logical place to start would be preparation. The easiest way to prepare for pretty much anything in life is to Google it, and med school interviews are no exception. You will find a plethora of potential questions an interviewer could ask you. Practice answering the questions by yourself first and keep a word document with written answers if you find it helpful. Make sure you are comfortable speaking about the topics, rather than memorizing your responses (which will make you sound like an emotionless robot). The best way to do this is to practice in front of somebody else. Siblings or friends come quite in handy here. You should also familiarize yourself with current happenings and the world of medicine, but they won’t expect you to be an expert. Most of my interviews were very application-based, so you need to feel comfortable talking about yourself and the experiences you wrote about in your primary and secondary apps.

Okay, now for the school-specific prep. You should thoroughly review the website of each medical school at which you will be interviewing. You don’t want to ask a question that could easily be answered from viewing the website because this will make you look lazy and/or disinterested in their school. After reviewing the website, write down questions you still need answered. You should come to your interview with at least three genuine questions prepared. If you’re interested in wilderness medicine, ask about it! Visit the campus before the day or your actual interview to get a feel for the atmosphere and to be sure you know exactly where to go on interview day.

If you need to travel for your interview, stay with a student host! Not only is it cheap, but staying with a current medical student is hands down the best way to prep for your interview. There is simply no better source to turn to than a current student when you are trying to determine if you want to attend a given med school. Student hosts have been in your shoes and they know what interviewers are expecting. My student host at the school where I will likely matriculate was by chance a friend of my student interviewer and told me all about her the day before, unknowing that she would be the one interviewing me. Staying with a student also gives you a glimpse into what life is really like attending that school, and in my experience, they make sure you have fun while you’re visiting too. Ask them as many questions as your little heart desires because they’ve been in your shoes and they want to help you.

After my own interviews, the most important advice I could give it to simply relax and enjoy the experience! Interview season is an exciting time and you get to meet many like-minded people. Get to know the other interviewees because they could be your future classmates and colleagues. I think one of my favorite parts of interview days was getting to know other pre-meds. My interviews were all extremely relaxed, I never felt uncomfortable or pressured. In most cases, your interviewers just want to get to know you, not make your hair fall out. When you interview time comes (yes, I know it seems like it will never arrive), please don’t stress more than you need to because you’ve done enough of that in undergrad! Use the time to figure out if you could really see yourself at that school and enjoy your last step before finally being accepted! Moral of the story: don’t entertain an unnecessary fear of interviews and keep trekking, you’ll make it.

Shannon

Dec 1 / WSU Pre-Health

Survival Tips for Freshman Year

Okay, so I have only been here for a couple of months, but in that time, I’ve learned tips from experience, my friends, and past teachers. So this list will hopefully get you through your first semester of your Pre-Health journey!

1. Only skip class if it’s important. I would say never skip class, but if you really need help with your calculus homework and your teacher’s office hours are during a less important class session, go. You know how to prioritize. However, don’t skip class just to go to lunch with your friends, you will most likely miss something important.

2. Network. If you want people to notice you, you have to put yourself out there. You never know, med school admissions could be on the fence about letting you in; if someone on the inside knows what a hard-working and friendly student you are, this may help your case.

3. Get involved and make friends. Not only does getting involved improve your resume, but you will make the best friends of your life. You can then form study groups.

4. Ask. For. Help. It is okay to be lost or confused; study sessions and office hours exist for a reason. Even asking questions in class or shooting your professor an email is better than nothing.

5. If you can handle it, get a part-time job. There are plenty of opportunities in the hospitals to get patient experience. Royal Oak Beaumont, for example, is always willing to take and train students as Nursing Assistants to get acquainted with patient-specific care. Not only that, but any part-time job will put some money in your pocket and help you gain independence.

6. Stress eating is a thing. Get used to it.

7. Plan on going to the rec every day because, if you’re like me, you ate pasta for lunch and seven Oreo’s after.

8. Maybe don’t schedule classes early in the morning. I started mine at 8:30 am to optimize study time (let’s face it, I would not wake up early just to study). However, that depends on you.

9. Bio 1510 is NOT a blow-off class. You may think within the first two weeks that you have learned all of the material in high school. False. Stick with your notes, pay attention in class, study and review.

10. Start thinking about the MCAT early. Make sure you take classes that cover all of the topics and do not put off studying. Do not tell yourself that you will start next semester or next year. Start now.

11. Do not start drinking caffeine every day. You will feel lousy and the Starbucks barista will being to call you by name.

I think that about covers all I’ve learned so far. It’s only been a couple of months and I’ve already made many of these mistakes and had people tell me one thing or another. Use your best judgement, you have to be smart if you’ve made it this far. Good Luck!

Erica