Pre-med

HPREP 2017

Hi everyone!

Last week I participated in the 2017 Ransdell Family Health Professions Readiness & Enrichment Program at Campbell University. It was one of the most amazing weeks of my life! It’s not only good for pre-med students, they also host pre-pharmacy, pre-nursing, pre-PT, and pre-PA students! Basically, if you’re interested in healthcare, this is for you!

It lasted about 5 days and the great thing about it is that I only had to pay for airfare and snacks, everything else was covered by the program. There were a lot of students from the east coast, and a few of us from the more western states, so you get to meet a lot of new people; if you think about it, you just met the future of healthcare! 🙂

So let’s talk a little bit about what we did; I will try my best to describe it but it’s really one of those things you have to experience to fully grasp what the program was about. We got split up into groups, which were always changing but we had our main mentoring group. Ours was called Gaylord’s Minions, but it turned into Where’s Abraham? He was one of the group members and it seems that we were always asking about where he was. It was a pretty funny week! And for those of you wondering, Gaylord is the name of the school’s mascot. I guess he was named after a baseball player that went to Campbell. You can find out more about that here. Anyway, back to the mentoring group. I was lucky enough to be paired up with a DO student at the school; she was so helpful and answered all my questions about their DO program. I feel like I understand the difference between DOs and MDs a lot better now thanks to her. I’m probably biased, but she was the best mentor and we had the best group!

We had a few guest speakers, which were amazing. They talked about things like diversity and becoming more inclusive, serving others more and making our life be about that, etc. It was a lot of information, and I wish I had taken notes; I was so amazed by being a part of the program that I forgot my notebook! So if you participate in the program in the next few years, definitely take some notes!

We also had workshops where we learned about things like networking, goal setting, and the different programs Campbell had to offer. We got to talk to a lot of the faculty and staff from the school and had a chance to ask them questions. We also toured the main campus, getting to see their Pharmacy buildings and compounding lab. This was mostly the format for the first two days.

The third and fourth days were by far my favorite! We got to tour the medical school and learn about the technology they used to teach their students. We had a “lecture” about OMM, osteopathic manipulative medicine, and we got to try a few things with a partner. Not gonna lie, I’ve been using what I learned on everyone on my family. My husband is pretty tired of it by now! I just fell in love with OMM though; I think I would want to do a residency on it if I get accepted into a DO program. We had the two DO students practicing OMM on some of the faculty the first two nights, and I stayed up until midnight watching them. I absolutely love what they do, and when they’re done and the patient gets up feeling better? Priceless.

We also got to touch a plastinated cadaver and we participated in an emergency and birthing simulation lab; these were very cool because the robots they used could blink, breathe, have someone talk through them, have vitals… It was just a very cool experience. The emergency sim could vomit and you could draw blood from him, but we didn’t get a chance to see. It could get messy, so I don’t blame them for not doing it! Another thing we got to do was test prep! We split up into different groups based on the test we would need, MCAT, GRE, or PCAT, and we had a Kaplan instructor give us an interactive lesson. It was a bit intense, but I’m happy to say that my O-Chem and Psych/Soc knowledge is still pretty fresh. I need to practice/study the other subjects, but I feel a little better about it. We also had, amid a tornado watch, a scavenger hunt in the PT/PA/nursing building. It was four flights of stairs and the most fun I’ve had in a while. It was called Camelpalooza; their mascot is a camel so that’s probably where the name came from. We had clues, run up and down the stairs to get to the correct place, do an activity as a group, and get the next clue before we continued our run.

Finally, our last day was a half day. We got to participate in a service project where we filled paper bags full of food for children in the community. It was the fastest project I’ve ever done; the teamwork from all the groups was truly astounding. It was supposed to last two hours and we got done a little before the hour mark.

Honestly, it’s difficult to describe what an amazing week I had. The feel of the school was that of a big family, the Campbell Family as they like to call it. It felt like home and everyone was incredibly nice. Not to turn it into a sad post, but I found out my grandmother passed away while at the program. Everyone was so sweet offered comforting words and hugs. I’m so thankful to have these new, amazing people in my life. I even had one of the mentors, who was in the pharmacy program, give me some incredible advice, which I will share with you.

She told me that although this was a difficult thing to go through, we have to look at the positive. Not to take away from the experience, but to sort of add to it. She said that I could use this to empathize with my future patients who will go through this. I was very upset and tired at the time, so I don’t remember her exact words, but what I got from it was all that matters. How could I use this experience to make my future patients have an easier time? I can’t take their pain away, and I can empathize, but what else can I do?

My grandmother had dementia. It has been a long time since I had talked to her, and a longer time since she had known who I was. She lived in Peru, so I was never able to go visit her, but I saw pictures of her throughout the years. Although she was well taken care of, I KNOW that not everyone is. As a CNA, I have seen how people treat their patients sometimes. It can get downright inhumane, and there ARE cases of abuse. So, what can I do to make my patients lives better?

In honor of my grandmother, I’m going to find ways to make the quality of life of patients with dementia better. I’m not sure how, but I will figure it out. I want my career to be about bettering the lives of my patients, so what better way than to start here? I will keep you updated with what I’ll be doing with this, and if you have any tips or advice please let me know!

All in all, this experience has taught me that we should always be looking for ways to help others. One of the things a guest speaker talked about was asking, “How can I help you?” This has resonated with me, and now I get up every day and try to find ways to help those around me. I’m by no means perfect, but at least I’m trying. Next week I’ll give you some more insight as to how it has specifically changed the way I do things at the hospital I volunteer at. Stay tuned. 🙂

Overall, I highly recommend this program! Look it over and if it interests you, sign up next year. If you’re like me and live far away, don’t be scared! I know I was terrified to go to the other side of the country, but it worth it! Take a leap, you won’t regret it! You will be EXHAUSTED by the end of the week, but you will have gained so much knowledge about healthcare and about yourself. You won’t regret it! And who knows, maybe they’ll accept me into their MSBS program and I’ll get to be your mentor! If you want more info about this program, click here.

Cheers!

Andrea.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here are a few pictures of my experience. 🙂 First- HPREP 2017 participants and mentors. Second- Yours truly super excited to be at the medical school. Third- Gaylord’s Minions/Where’s Abraham group with Gaylord himself.

Pre-med

Latest Semester

Hi everyone,

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything. I keep thinking about what to write but never have enough motivation. I’ve been feeling kinda down this semester; it’s been a very difficult one. Finals are coming up and I’m getting nervous.

My Cell Biology course is going horribly. I haven’t done this poorly in a class in years. I feel like I know the subject, but I hesitate at the last minute and change my answer. Since my professor has the multiple choice section be worth three points per question, missing a few really messes up your grade. The lab isn’t any easier; we have a different instructor for it. She’s notorious for being a harsh grader. We do these literature labs where we read a scientific paper she chooses and then we have to summarize it based on one of the figures. She expects us to write at a PhD level to get full points and makes the average for the class be a B-. Needless to say, I don’t do very well in these. It makes me incredibly mad at me. I know I can do better, but I don’t understand what she wants. I dunno if maybe it’s a language thing; I’ve lived in this country for almost 12 years and although I hardly ever have trouble with it, scientific papers take me a while to comprehend. She’s also extremely intelligent so the way she words her questions during quizzes confuses me sometimes. This is no excuse for me doing so poorly, I should be able to study more and do better. If I can get a C in the class, it’ll be a miracle.

Anatomy is going okay. I should end with a B in the class if everything continues to go the way it is. It makes me a little sad because I really wanted an A, but since I can’t live in the cadaver lab due to needing to be home and care for my boys, I think it’s an okay grade. I didn’t do so well on my last exam so my class grade dropped to a C+, but we still have the lab grade to consider and two more exams for lecture. I plan on talking to my professor about the questions I missed so I can do better on the cumulitative final. I really love the class though, and the cadaver lab is extremely cool. I have loves everything we have learned about and I will be forever grateful for those who donate their body to science so we may learn it and help others. My instructor for lecture used to be a surgeon, so he always has interesting stories to tell. He also cracks jokes all the time which makes the class even more enjoyable.

My Research Methods class is okay too. I have a B currently and my research project is under way. Unfortunately I had to change it at the last minute, so I’m not doing anything related to sign language like I wanted to. I also realized there may be a mistake in the data collection so I may not have any valid data to analyze. This really bums me out because I have to do a final paper and presentation on it before the end of the semester… which is about 3 weeks away. I have to talk to my professor about it and see what we can do.

Oh and I dropped Biochem because I couldn’t give it the attention it deserved.

Lastly, I signed up for the MCAT for May 14th. I’m taking the rest of my pre-med classes next semester; Biochem I, O-Chem II, and Physics II. However, I’m unsure about the professors. I’ve taken a class from one of them before and her teaching style and my learning style didn’t match. The other professor is known for not being a great one… most students just skip the class until they can take it from the only other professor that teaches it. Since I’m graduating soon, I don’t have that option unless I drop a class, which is the one with the other professor I’m unsure about.

I was planning on graduating, taking the MCAT, and applying to a post-bac program that focuses on academic enhancement. However, because of how difficult it is to study and take care of my little ones, and because of the professors I’ll have to take classes from, I think I may put off the MCAT another year. I may drop those classes, take maybe one with a few “easier” ones to help keep up my GPA, and apply to a post-bac that focuses on career-changers since I have a major in Psychology instead of a “science” one. I can take the rest of my classes then, take an extra two years, take the MCAT somewhere along the line, and make sure my husband has his degree so he can support us/work from home so I don’t have to worry about my twins being home without one of us. I have to run it by my advisor before I make my final decision, but it seems at this point in time it’s the right one.

I think this will calm me down, give my time to boost my GPA, spent time with my twins, study for the MCAT, finish my pre-med classes, and give me a bit of my sanity. School will always be there. Who cares if I’m 40 before I can practice, right?

Right?

Wish me luck.

Andrea.