The Freshmen Ten – 10 Essential Tips for Premedical Studentsby: Jonathan Ryan Batson, National Vice-Chairperson of the SNMA Publications Committee / Junior Editor of the JSNMA
The freshmen “10”, in the traditional sense is about the extra 10 pounds that students get during their busy time acclimating to the rigors of their first year as an undergraduate student. In the figurative sense, the freshmen ten are ten ideas that incoming college premedical students should have a good sense of to tackle the rigors of their undergraduate curriculum and beyond. Though the daunting tasks of the daily demands of academia while trying to balance a healthy social life is tough, it is not impossible once you take the time to assess and implement the ideologies listed below to practice in your daily routine. As a premedical student, you have come to the realization that you are embarking on a journey that will be very difficult. Also, knowing that most of your peers may decide to change their path after the first year is a strong reality and it can give you a sense of doubt believing that the road is too tough to travel. However, with using the following tips and making sure that you adapt them to your life, you better the chance of getting to the end of the road (thought the path that you take may be different than most – and at times seem worse than it really is). Having the thought that your path may be different from your peers should not deter you from the end goal of being a physician, but make you stronger for you will realize that life is what you make it. If you don’t make it, nobody can make it for you. You have to be one to lead your life and take control of all areas that are in control for you have to realize that though you have advisors and mentors, they cannot do the work necessary for you to succeed. Their advice as well as the information you gain from your own research is great, but without application of that knowledge, your road would be more difficult than it needs to be. As Bill Cosby once said, “in order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” Don’t be afraid to take the path less traveled because your life experience is not suppose to mimic another person’s, but should embody your struggles, successes, and possibilities.
The following are the 10 tips that I thought were essential during my premedical tenure and I am sure that they can be applicable to you as well.
1. Do your own research
2. Network with upper division students
3. Study for the MCAT during your core classes
4. Do not believe that 1 size fits all
5. Shadow a physician early to make sure this is the right career for you
6. Schedule your time wisely
7. Study smart, not hard
8. You are your first patient - exercise, eat right, and find a balance.
9. Diversify your education – don’t just be a science major, possibly minor in social sciences, business, law, philosophy, psychology, etc.
10. Make sure you know your professors, and your professors know you
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