Freshman Year as a premed is scary. Am I good enough? Am I
smart enough? Can I keep up with the other premeds?
You feel as if your decision to pursue being a physician is
all reliant on your first year of college.
Breath. The only thing you can prepare yourself for on being
a “newbie” on campus is to choose your classes.
Classes: at this time it is recommended that Biology and
Chemistry be taken together (though everyone is different and there is no
perfect way to have classes to get into medical school… this is under your
discretion, this is only what I did AS A BIOLOGY MAJOR).
TIP 1: GET TO KNOW YOUR PROFESSORS; IMPRESS. IMPRESS.
I believe the best thing you could do in these classes is… DO
THE VERY BEST YOU CAN. IMPRESS YOUR PROFESSORS. GET AN A+ IF YOU CAN ON EVERY
EXAM. HOWEVER, do not kill yourself… make sure there is balance in your life,
but do the very best you can. Why?
This is the time where professors are just getting to know
who you are. If you impress them as a freshmen, ideally they will invest more
time into seeing that you succeed.
I go to a private college in California. SO, getting to know
your professors at my school is much easier than a public university I would
say, HOWEVER, it still can be done.
SIT IN THE FRONT OF THE CLASS. Do not be afraid to stand
out. This is college, this is your career ahead of you.
When the professor asks a question intended for the students
to answer and you know the answer, ANSWER IT. ANSWER AS MANY AS POSSIBLE.
Professors seek premed students to guide that are striving
to succeed and have an unquenchable thirst for learning. STAND OUT. I would
even introduce yourself to the professor one way or another if you have to. YOU
WANT THEM TO KNOW YOU. Why?
After trying my hardest in these classes, my professors
sought me out and are now offering me teaching opportunities in the future, as
well as recommending me to other professors for research. I am researching
right now because of a close relationship I have with one of my professors. I
impressed him with my drive in his class as a new premed and he is now offering
me opportunities I would not have been able to find on my own.
Whatever effort you put it, it will pay off.
TIP 2: TRANSITION
Make sure that the amount of units you are taking are enough
to challenge you, but also enough for you to be able to transition to the new
challenges you will face in college.
Transitioning into college life can be easy and/or difficult for students. This is the time where you learn how disciplined you are. Friends or
Studying? Ect… Give yourself leeway if this may be a problem for you, like
taking 15 units instead of all 18 for at least your first semester of freshman
year. The worst thing you could do to yourself is disappoint yourself with how
you preformed and give up on your dream to be a doctor.
Remember, we are only human.
TIP 3: GET A’S
It is important to medical schools that your GPA is high in
college for a variety of reasons, but they are searching for medical school
candidates that they know will succeed in their vigorous programs. They are
investing in you to succeed.
Thus, get as high of a GPA as you can. Not only this, but
freshman year will be one of your easier years and maybe even your EASIEST YEAR.
Get A’s in your easy classes, so that when you enter upper level classes that
you cannot get A’s in no matter how hard you try, you can feel at ease knowing
that you tried your hardest and have a “safety net.”
Getting A’s also gives you a confidence boost. “YEAH I
AM A PREMED AND I CAN BE A VERY GOOD ONE TOO. BRING IT ON SOPHOMORE YEAR. I
KILLED IT FRESHMEN YEAR.”
TIP 4: LOCATE OTHER PREMEDS
You will find many premeds in beginning biology and
chemistry classes this year. Get to know them? Maybe they have information you
do not know and vice versa. PREMEDS MUST STICK TOGETHER (to the best of their
It is nice to be able to discuss courses and maybe even
study together if you are compatible with them. Either way, it is nice to feel
like you are not the only one struggling at times. Yes, there are other people
that have felt the pressure you are feeling and they have survived. You will
live past this year.
Another way of doing this is joining biology, chemistry,
and/or premed clubs! This way you can also meet juniors and seniors that are
premed and you can ask them about their premed journey/receive quality tips on
courses, which professors are the best, and even ways to study.
I know a senior who was accepted by a medical school in
Wisconsin through premed club and now I can ask him questions to see how he got
accepted or what he felt was most crucial to his application (what made him
stand out the most).
TIP 5: MAKE A FOUR YEAR PLAN WITH YOUR ADVISER.
You can also do this on your own and check with your adviser
(this is what I did). There are plenty of templates online/ you can make your
own via Microsoft word. This will help you in the long run.
Yes, it will change so do not spend endless hours on it like
I did. The availability of courses (EVEN AT A PRIVATE SCHOOL) can be tricky to
fit into one schedule. At the very least, map out what major requirements you
will be taking every year to meet that major (same with minors and
concentrations). Then, you can fill in GE’s but be prepared for THOSE to
Have fun with it. It should be exciting to see all the
courses you could discover and take. It also takes pressure off of making a
brand new schedule in such a short amount of time during the school year, while
still taking classes. It will already be set for you via your four year plan and
you make changes as you go.
TIP 6: TAKE GREAT NOTES IN THE COURSES FOR THE MCAT AT THE VERY
I will be making another post on how to take different types
of notes depending on the class, but for the sake of this post, take great
notes because of the MCAT.
You will most likely need the notes you took in Biology,
Chemistry, etc… when you begin studying for the MCAT so make sure they are
organized and stay organized. I organized mine in binders, since much of my
notes were PowerPoints from my professor and typed notes/handwritten notes I made.
Also, I am keeping my textbooks that have information that
will be on the MCAT, but selling the others if necessary.
TIP 7: STAY BALANCED
This year will go by so fast that you will feel like you
just graduated high school yesterday, but now you are a sophomore in college.
A way to stay balanced is to avoid procrastination. How?
This will be another post, but doing this will avoid stress. Stress can affect
your health negatively if it is constant so make sure you do whatever you need
to in order to avoid unnecessary stress on your assignments.
Lastly, take time for yourself, family, and friends. Seems
simple, but it is not. You can lose yourself in the books for classes, but take
the time (even if you need to schedule it) to be with the people you love.
Medical schools like seeing that you can handle the school
work in college, while finding time to do other things outside of medicine or school.
Whether it is playing a sport, painting, or going to the movies with your
family. Find a way to de-stress.
KNOW THAT COLLEGE IS ONLY ABOUT 8 MONTHS OF THE YEAR. THE
OTHER FOUR ARE SUMMER. Yeah you may have to work… but it is not the same as
studying (unless you take summer courses, DUH).
MY POINT BEING, BUST YOUR BUTT FOR 4 MONTHS AT A TIME
(SEMESTER SCHEDULES). It makes it seem much less intimidating than thinking of
it as a year (helps you not to mentally burn out). You take different classes
each semester, so realistically it is only four months at a time. BUST YOUR
BUTT, SO THAT YOU CAN RELAX IN SUCCESS THAT WINTER BREAK OR SUMMER.
Find your inspiration TO DO YOUR BEST and go with it.
You are a freshman with little to no expectations by others
but much from yourself. Understand this next year will be a learning experience
and pose odd problems, but you can do it. You will survive it and most will
survive it with flying colors. Do not forget to have fun and learn to love your
school (you will be there for the next 3 years of your life, most likely).
These are tips that I would have told myself before my
freshman year, but if you decide to use them, I am not responsible for the
consequences that follow. I can only see positive consequences coming from
them, but life is crazy so I thought I would say this just in case. I hope it
helped/poses a realistic view of your freshman year. Again, use my advice under
PREMEDS UNITE. xoxo