Study Break

Junior year of college has been all about future planning. It’s been pretty hard for me to live junior year in the present.

 

Freshman year, you have the total right and responsibility to be a wide-eyed, deer-in-headlights type of student who explores classes, student organizations, perhaps even jobs and (dorm) entryways, and maybe even persuade some initially unwilling strangers to be your new best friend.

Sophomore year, you have a better handle on campus life as you really begin leaving your mark – you’ve narrowed your potential concentrations (majors), acclimated to the hectic schedule, reached an ideal (burping) comfort level among your friends, and not only have grown accustom to but also miss your school routine and campus duties while you’re away. You’re no longer lost around campus – or at least have the online and peer resources to reach out to when in need. You have your head on a little straighter and the whole small fish in a big pond feeling is (hopefully!) fading away.

I don’t really have a generic (cheesy? overly expected?) summary of junior year (yet!), but I do feel like I’ve definitely spent a larger amount of my time thinking about senior year and beyond. Maybe it’s because half of my (older) friends have graduated, entering graduate school or the real (scary) world of jobs, and by keeping in touch with them and listening to their current priorities, there’s a strong influence for me to put myself in their shoes and project what my concerns will be like in a few years. Or maybe my futuristic mindset stems from how the summer of 2012 (shadowing at a clinic in Peru through DRCLAS – David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies) has catalyzed both my desire and certainty to pursue medical school.

Thinking about medical school, for me, is super intimidating. As I follow the steps to try and set myself up for a bright future in medical school and beyond, I feel like I’m walking through the darkest haunted hallway where I’m scared of everything whether I should be or not.

I was pretty hesitant to prance along and identify myself as a premed student. And if I were being completely honest, I’d have to admit that I sometimes revert back to that annoying hesitation. Especially right now during winter break (J-term, January term) as I study for the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test). I sit here staring at the mitosis chapter wondering what other careers that could possibly interest me even the slightest. Brainstorming to no avail, I continue on with my cell division review.

Thankfully, tons of my worries and questions regarding medical school and its application process has been addressed by multiple premed tutors (advisers) – some of them even live like 21 stair steps from me! After freshman year, students are assigned to an upperclassman house for their remaining time as an undergraduate. Each upperclassman house has both resident and non-resident tutors specializing in popular career areas (i.e. medicine, business, law, etc.). The best part is that these tutors advise from not books and movies, but rather from their personal experiences. For example, pretty much all the premed tutors are students at Harvard Medical School so I often feel like I’m in the best hands. Yet this doesn’t mean that it completely prevents my hands from trembling when I think about the future!

Perhaps my world has a little blast-to-the-future flavor because I fast-forwarded my life a year or two. Initially, I planned on taking at least one gap year between undergrad and med school so I could live out the whole young-adult-seeks-identity chapter of my life. However, as any great outline thrives on a little flexibility, I found myself editing that chapter out after this past summer. Thus, I began my junior year moving forward with plans to apply to medical school straight through which means thinking about serious things like the MCAT! Eeeek! T minus 11 days. Oh man, I definitely should not have just counted the days. The looming of this test has been such a heavy weight on my shoulders, but with my studying and practice, I hope to train so that it’ll soon dissolve!!! Just think in 11 and a half days, I can breathe effortlessly again, that is if I’m not crying from the cruelties of the test.

So as I sit at home with my nose in a review book, my friends are traveling the world, tanning, and catching up on some quality television. Just kidding…well kind of kidding; I’ve made some time to live a little too:

Today, the Harvard Club on San Diego is hosting a celebratory dim sum brunch for the early admits in the area. I’m crazy excited…and not just for the free food. Ever since the spring of 2010, I swear the Club has only held events when I’m out of town!! So this will be my first time meeting some locals. More about this brunch soon! I’ll check back in once the spring semester starts :)

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2 comments

  1. Karen’s avatar

    Hi Jeanie! I’ll be a freshman at Harvard next year, and although I can totally imagine the dark and scary hallway you talk about here, your posts have proven to me that it is possible to experience college fully, be present and still prepare for med school (Though I know many people come into college thinking this, and change their minds). How did you integrate studying for the MCAT into your semester? Or are you studying mostly through winter break?
    Thank you so much for your time and in general for your posts!

  2. Koen Withagen’s avatar

    I found few interesting word here. I’m looking forward your next post jeanie!

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