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Fall 2020 Freshman Premedical Orientation

HPPLC Director and Pre-med advisor Rachel Tolen welcomes new undergraduate students and shares information to help students prepare for medical school while completing their IU Bloomington undergraduate degrees.

Description of the video:

Welcome thank you so much for tuning in to this presentation tonight my name is Rachel Tollen and I’m the director of the health professions and pre-law center at Indiana university I hope you've had a good experience so far as an Indiana university student so I want to take a moment to take attendance of everyone who has tuned in tonight so we're going to ask you to use your phone or a computer to log your attendance so we're going to show you a slide and here's the slide and you can use the qr code or the tiny URL here and I want to give you a moment to go in to log your attendance all right thank you so tonight we are going to talk about the things you should do to prepare for medical school many of the things I will outline you will do over the next four years not this semester so do not feel that you have to do everything immediately in fact for your first semester your most important focus should be on just doing well in your classes and making the adjustment to college there is no rush to do very much more than that you will want to use this first semester and first year in college to develop your study skills and select or confirm your choice of a major you are beginning college in a unique historical moment with many challenges posed by the covid19 pandemic but there are also opportunities I would guess that some of you may be feeling that things are not quite how you envisioned they would be when you imagined starting college we also have new opportunities more than previous classes at IU you will be asked to think always about the welfare of others for instance when you are asked to wear a face covering and keep socially distanced you have the opportunity to adopt in your daily life the same kind of mindset and actions that physicians put into practice and we will talk more about the professionalism that guides physicians later tonight I want to tell you also that we are here for you the health professions and pre-law center is here for you tonight you will hear from former IU students who are now medical students and residents people who are completing their training that comes after medical school in a specialty area and you will hear also from advisors at the health professions and pre-law center who are here to support you I hope that you'll feel a part of the Indiana university community that surrounds you and is here to support you in your goal of becoming a physician one of the things that you will also want to do is meet with your assigned advisor for many of you that is a university division advisor for some it may be an advisor in business or biology or another academic department if you have specific questions about scheduling classes or your choice of a major you will want to see your assigned advisor our office the health professions and pre-law center provides training to advisors all across campus so they are knowledgeable on pre-medical coursework and many of the other steps you should take your assigned advisor can be a very valuable resource for you and that person can also help you fully explore many of your other interests besides the possibility of medical school tonight we are going to give you an overview of the process of preparing for medical school you are all here today because you have imagined yourself in the role of caring for the health and well-being of others as a physician that's a very admirable role to imagine for yourself tonight we are going to talk about how you can go about planning your college education so that you can meet that goal one day because there are certain things that you need to do now I wondered if anyone who has tuned in tonight is concerned that they already made some mistake or have some problem that will prevent them from ever getting into medical school anyone worried they may not have all the right classes anyone worried they are already so far behind in their homework and reading that they will never recover and never get into medical school because of a bad grade their first semester it would not surprise me if some people felt that way and I’m here to tell you not to worry there's no way that by the second week of classes in your first semester of your freshman year of college you could have done anything that will prevent you from getting into medical school as long as you are willing to work hard it's impossible there is still hope for you there are a number of things you will need to do to be successful it will not be easy and you will have to work very hard and you will need to develop very strong abilities in a number of different areas first and foremost you will need to get a good undergraduate education and build strong skills in a number of different areas to prepare for medical school from the start your focus should be on preparing for a career in medicine not just on preparing to apply to medical school not just on what will look good on your application later on the key is getting a good education one of the first questions freshmen often have when they get to campus is what's the best major for someone who wants to go to medical school actually there's no answer to that question there's no best major for medical school IU does not have a pre-med major and medical schools are not particularly interested in accepting students who've done pre-med majors you will need to select one of the majors offered at Indiana university traditionally specialized study in medicine has been carried out after a broad course of study in college and the completion of an undergraduate degree often a degree in the liberal arts and sciences by a liberal education we mean an education that broadens a student's awareness in the major areas of human knowledge including the physical and biological sciences and academic disciplines exploring the social historical and cultural aspects of human life a liberal education begins with the premise that one's world and oneself are worth knowing and to understand our world we must know something about its physical biological cognitive social and cultural dimensions and you can recognize how medicine involves all those areas the physical the biological the cognitive the social and cultural medical schools have continued to have some preference for students completing a broad liberal education at the undergraduate level before they specialize in medicine now why would that be why do they feel that students need this preparation first well consider the qualities that make someone a good physician what skills and personal qualities does a good physician have well first competency in science of course a strong foundation in the sciences is important and essential whatever else you have you need that it doesn't matter how compassionate and kind you are if you don't have a command of the science behind medicine forget it good physicians also need decision making skills physicians need decision-making skills to help them choose a course of treatment with a patient physicians also need analytical skills they need to be able to analyze complex situations from different points of view they need problem solving skills those are important in diagnosis and treatment and they also need good communication skills good communication skills are essential in working with patients an understanding of language use is essential for physicians now are people just born with all these skills and qualities no they learn and develop them and medical schools have found that future physicians can learn and develop these skills best through a broad undergraduate education in which they develop their intellectual skills and the personal maturity needed to deal with the many pressures and demands they will face in functioning as a physician before they have to specialize in medicine is in some ways unique among fields it is firmly grounded in the sciences but centered on the human condition and our vulnerability to illness and medicine reflects very human concerns for life for health for well-being for social fulfillment this is undoubtedly why we value medicine so much and why so many people are so attracted to a medical career because medicine relates to many of our most fundamental hopes and wishes many students think that they must major in biology if they want to go to medical school but medical schools tell us something different medical school admissions officials tell us that they do not have a preference for a particular major they want to make sure that you have a strong foundation in science but they do not require you to have a major in the sciences now you do not need to take my word on this what do I know why should you believe me I’m not a physician I’m an anthropologist by training why should you believe well you might want to take the word of Dr. Thomas Lentz md chair of the admissions committee at yale he writes regarding your major it is a fallacy that you have to major in the sciences to be accepted to medical school it is true that most entrants have majored in science but that is because most applicants have majored in science remember that all you have to do is complete the basic pre-medical requirements in order to apply to medical school you are then free to select whatever field of study most interests you if you are inclined to study an area in the humanities by all means pursue it if you enjoy the sciences most major in a scientific field he also writes the worst thing you can do is plan your entire undergraduate career with the sole goal of getting into medical school obviously you should be aware of the requirements and make plans to satisfy them but do not become obsessed with or preoccupied with competition or grades or with what particular courses or activities might look best on your application please heed these words focus on getting a good education do not only focus on what will look good on your application later on do not make this mistake for medical schools the major you select does not matter as much as what you learn and the kinds of skills and competencies you build medical schools look at your application for evidence of competencies some of these are competencies in the sciences biology chemistry and physics some of them are competencies outside of the sciences particularly social and cultural competencies you need to develop a wide array of skills and this should be your focus think about your whole education as building skills that will help you later you must develop both your scientific skills and skills in other areas the point is that there is not one particular major that is the best the best major for you is one that interests you and helps you develop a wide range of intellectual skills one of the most important things I’ll say is that your major should be a field in which you excel it should represent an area of strength for you ideally you should be earning strong grades in your major if you find you or not it could be an indication that you are not in the right major for you either because it's not an area of strength for you academically or maybe it turns out to be an area that does not interest you as much as you thought now although your choice of a major is open there are some things that you absolutely must do you will need to take certain courses that will be important for building the competencies required for medical school so now I am going to go to the health professions and pre-law center website because I want to show you where you can find information on preparing for medical school so I’m going to show you a section on the health professions and pre-law center website here is our website and specifically if you go to this the HPPLC guidebook or HPPLC guidebook students often call us HPPLC you will find a section on medicine it provides a lot of guidance on preparing for medical school specifically if you go to the academic preparation section and click on pre-medical coursework here you will find information on the courses that are required for admission to medical school and if you scroll down open up where it says course requirements for the IU school of medicine here you will find information on the courses required for admission to the IU school of medicine and other medical schools will want to see the same set of courses as well here you can see that you will need to complete one year of general or inorganic chemistry one year of organic chemistry one year of physics and one year of biology all with lecture and lab you will also need to complete coursework in biochemistry and coursework in the behavioral and social sciences specifically sociology psychology and statistics you need to take a lot of chemistry so you should start the chemistry early so you can get through all of those courses you do not want to wait until your junior year to start taking chemistry but if you are not in chemistry this semester don't worry you can talk to your academic advisor about that and you can start taking chemistry next semester I would recommend that you do start taking chemistry next semester if you can there isn't only one correct order to complete all your pre-med coursework but generally many people complete the inorganic and organic chemistry requirements by the spring of the sophomore year and complete the biology requirements by the spring of the sophomore or junior year and take physio physics in your junior year taking biochemistry perhaps also in your junior year the year you may wish to take the MCAT whatever you do not view your science courses as just part of a checklist of tasks to get out of the way before you rush on to medical school your you should view these courses as a means to develop critical competencies in the sciences to help you prepare for the MCAT exam and for medical school most students find these courses much more challenging than they anticipated even the students who made straight a's in high school one of the things that is important is that you plan to devote about 30 hours per week to outside of class to class preparation reading studying writing papers and lab reports students who are successful in gaining admission to medical school usually are devoting about 30 hours outside of class to academic preparation on their own also for admission to some med schools you will need extra courses besides those that I mentioned many medical schools require one or two semesters of English you can look at our website for information on how to choose courses to fulfill English requirements a very small number of med schools have a math requirement and sometimes this is for calculus there is really only a small chance that you'll actually need to take calculus you can refer to our website for more information on pre-medical coursework as important as completing these courses in the sciences is how you approach them some students treat these courses as sort of just a checklist you don't want to do that these courses are there to help you build competencies in certain areas and that's how you want to think about them on the MCAT there are four sections two of the sections deal with content in the natural sciences including biology chemistry and physics a third section focuses on behavioral and social science content reflecting a concern for the importance of sociocultural and behavioral determinants of health and health outcomes what does that mean well it's been recognized that an individual's health is not just determined by genes and biology but cultural and social factors such as diet lifestyle access to resources and living environment a fourth section of the MCAT tests your verbal abilities and critical reasoning skills this section asks you to critically analyze information from a wide range of social science and humanities disciplines for this section of the MCAT the best way to prepare may be to be adventuresome and wide-ranging and your choice of courses outside of the natural sciences so coursework in anthropology culture and communication sociology and other disciplines that emphasize cross-cultural analysis may be particularly beneficial there is also an emphasis on research methods and statistical reasoning in many of the questions on the MCAT exam if you plan to go straight into medical school after you complete your senior year of college a good plan would be to take the MCAT early in the summer after your junior year and be ready to apply to medical school early in the summer between your junior and senior year to do that you will need to complete coursework in biology inorganic chemistry organic chemistry biochemistry physics psychology sociology and statistics all before the MCAT those are a lot of courses so you should know that you do not have to apply after your junior year if you don't want to you can take a gap year you if you would like you can wait and apply after your senior year you can have a gap year one year between undergrad and med school to work or do something else gain other types of experiences your pre-med coursework will give you the basic content and the basic principles you need for the MCAT in the science areas but the MCAT is not just a test of knowledge the MCAT is a test of your reasoning abilities in the sciences and your critical reasoning abilities the MCAT requires you to be able to independently apply scientific principles in analysis and problem solving you will need to develop very strong reasoning skills for the MCAT and this should be your focus in your classes not just in your science classes but in your non-science classes too focus on what you are learning later on as you prepare you should take many MCAT practice tests so why is the MCAT not just a test in the sciences why does a lot of it focus on your verbal abilities and skills and critical reasoning well a good physician must have good analytical skills and skills in synthesizing information good physicians also need good communication skills and you typically develop these skills to a greater degree in reading courses in the humanities and social sciences earlier I said that an understanding of language use is essential for a physician just stop and imagine the thousands of interactions a day that take place between doctors and patients in which patients describe their symptoms and doctors must listen skillfully and ask all the right questions and then make sure they communicate about the proper course of treatment to the patient and to other health care providers the process of diagnosis and treatment is highly dependent on language on language use so it is through language that physicians diagnose and prescribe to treatment doctors need to understand how their patients use language to communicate and be able to ask patients the right questions so any courses that focus on language use on how humans communicate on social interaction can be very helpful and I would encourage you to look for these kinds of courses to include in your education doesn't matter if the courses have anything to do with medicine you will find such courses across campus in many departments communication and culture anthropology sociology political science linguistics folklore psychology many other departments it doesn't matter if the courses have to do specifically with medicine if they are teaching you about language communication and social interaction they can be very valuable for you and preparing to become a physician in addition to the competencies you build through coursework there are many other important activities that will help you prepare and build competencies that are important for medical school eventually we would encourage you to shadow physicians and get involved in volunteering perhaps in a hospital setting but this might not be possible right now due to the covid19 pandemic so we encourage you now to think about the realities of what a physician does and consider how you think your own personality and preferences fit that role as I mentioned earlier physicians must be guided by professionalism in their actions and I’m going to introduce you to another pre-med advisor David Owen who will share some thoughts with you about developing professionalism David has over 20 years of experience helping students prepare for medical school and he worked for many years at the university of Chicago in the office of medical school admissions as well so he bases his advice on considerable experience so David thank you Rachel one of the words you'll encounter early and often as you prepare for Korean medicine is professionalism in medicine this word has many facets in the journal of American medical association article Rem Epson and Em Heber describe it I write professional competence is the habitual and judicious use of communication knowledge technical skills clinical reasoning emotions values and reflection and daily practice for the benefit of the individual and the community being served now this might sound a bit daunting and like it's for the future version of you but in reality most of it applies to you now professionalism isn't just something bestowed on you at graduation from med school it's a mindset you adopt as soon as you decide medicine is your career choice let's unpack that quote for a moment there are three components in that sentence that I’ll highlight for you the first is the habitual and judicious use habits don't just happen they're intentional behaviors which when done often enough become a habit so at the start of your development of professionalism you have to think about it you have to intend to develop these skills it's also judicious use you won't stop thinking about your behaviors at some point in the future you continue to assess if your action is appropriate for the situation the second part of this is reflection this is also intentional in this context reflection is thinking about your actions with others and figuring out how your impact on the person and how you accomplished it how did the person what did the person need and how did you meet that need for example if they were anxious how did you help them feel less anxious and perhaps develop perspective on the situation maybe you're volunteering at a long-term rehab facility you take care of your tasks with the clients but you also hang around and talk let them talk tell them your story or talk to them about their day what was the impact in your life maybe their room is cleaner or they have fresh sheets but what did staying to talk to them do for them I encourage you to each month or more often if you wish think about someone's life you positively impacted and write a short anecdote about what they needed and how you impacted them save those stories this writing is like journaling except that you're digging into the experience not just recording it if you have students applying to med school now I suspect most will tell you that they wish they had begun the reflection in writing when they were starting college you'll use these stories in your med school application but more to the point you're developing professionalism the third part is for the benefit of the individual and community you're doing this both for the good you gain from it as well as the good the community gains from your efforts a pragmatic and important example of professionalism is all around you the pandemic is present presenting challenges for you as you enter college but it also provides opportunities for future health professionals you are being asked to take certain actions such as wearing a face mask social distancing and monitoring your own health this gives you the chance to put into practice the kind of ethical principle the principles that guide doctors and their actions physicians must always be thinking about how to act for the well-being of others so every time you take actions to help protect others such as putting on a face mask think about how you're building the mindset you'll need as a health care provider in the future every time you take those actions think about how it could protect a friend's parent or grandparent your fellow students especially those who have medical conditions that make them more vulnerable think about how you are modeling good behavior for your friends and others who see you setting an example of how to act in a conscientious manner behaving in a professional manner isn't always easy or convenient but it is what you've decided to pursue so begin now the intentional and judicious use of your interpersonal skills and reflect on your actions so by the time you get to med school your professionalism will be both habitual and judicious thanks for the opportunity to talk to you and I wish you the best in your journey thank you very much for sharing your insights David medical schools are also interested in students who are committed to serving others so now I would like to introduce you to Amanda Posto a pre-med advisor at HPPLC who has helped many students on their journey to medical school Amanda Rachel thank you for inviting me to speak tonight medical schools do desire students who are committed to helping others volunteering allows you to evidence that commitment and build skills that will help you in your future work with patients many students come and talk to me and ask where should I volunteer what would look best to medical schools medical schools want you to be self-directed they want you to choose where you think it would be most important to volunteer where you could have the greatest impact so right now I’d like you to take a moment and just imagine if you were given the power to change one thing in the world what would you choose if you had the power to change one thing in the world what would it be think about it now that you've thought about that question think about ways you might be able to make at least a small impact a way that you could volunteer in your community that could have a small impact on that problem that matters to you due to the covet 19 pandemic it may be challenging to volunteer in the same ways as in the past and you may need to wait until later to do more volunteering also it's important to start slow and give yourself time to adjust to college life during your first semester at IU here are some ways that you could consider volunteering if you're home now or when you go home be an active helpful member of your community volunteer to cover child care for family members or neighbors or deliver groceries to the elderly if you're part of a religious community see if there are ways that you can provide support through them check with organizations where you volunteered in the past to see if you can step back into previous roles mutual aid you can connect you with community-led responses to the Covid 19 pandemic in your area your local chapter of the united way can help connect you with non-profits and volunteer opportunities in your community you might donate blood and volunteer with a local blood drive food pantries soup kitchens homeless shelters are in need of volunteers you can find your local food pantry at feedingamerica.org and meals on wheels America can help connect you with meal delivery programs you might help in the upcoming election and help register voters on campus or volunteer to be a poll worker you will have your own ideas too give some thought in the coming weeks and make a plan for one or two activities where you could contribute when you're home for virtual learning or during the winter break again start slow and give yourself some time to adjust to college life too we are here to help you think about the impact that you can make in your community whether that's on campus or in your own in your home in your hometown and the impact you can make in the lives of others thank you very much for sharing your advice Amanda so at this point I know that some of you could be feeling a little overwhelmed or not know what you should do and I want to introduce you to someone who has been in your shoes Andre Small just graduated from IU in may 2020 and he's starting at Harvard medical school this fall and he's going to share some advice with all of you Andre hey everybody welcome to IU Bloomington and congratulations on embarking on your pre-medical journey I vividly remember sitting anxiously in the IMU auditorium among a sea of students aspiring to attend medical school one day it was both daunting and exciting I met with Rachel Tollen shortly afterward explaining to her that I was a first generation college student had no physicians in my family and a meager science background medical school seemed like an unattainable goal many of you may feel similarly there are some things I’ve learned along the way that I think will help you rise above any obstacles and succeed in achieving your medical school dreams first commit yourself to this journey this was the key characteristic I found that set the ones who were successful apart from those who were not so what does commitment look like commitment looks like walking across campus on a rainy Friday afternoon after a long week of lectures labs exams research and volunteering to attend your professor's office hours while your friends are back preparing to go out for the night sacrificing summer vacations and spring break trips with friends in order to gain clinical experience or conduct research projects walking straight through a crowd of students headed to the tailgating fields on a Saturday morning so you can go take an eight-hour practice MCAT exam at the library and then spending the next day reviewing every single question remember that as pre-medical students your undergraduate career will look very differently than other students from different majors it will be challenging yet rewarding second have fortitude how will you respond when you get a low exam score will you throw your exam in the trash and hope to perform better next time or will you critically analyze every mistake and address your misunderstandings at IU you will be faced with an endless number of distractions it will take an enormous amount of discipline to avoid them and your friends and family may not understand it may be uncomfortable for some of your peers when you are consistently outperforming them on exams due to your work ethic and they may try to make you feel guilty about the time you are investing in yourself I encourage you to unapologetically strive to be the best student you can be compare yourself only to the student you were yesterday and always keep in mind where you want to be at the end of these four years lastly be in love with the process you all are not merely college students you are future physicians think of and carry yourself as such continually remind yourselves how fortunate you are to wake up every day and have the opportunity to chase your dreams your medical training will be long resist the temptation to believe your life will begin once you get into medical school or once you become a physician your life is now and you want to enjoy every step of the way when you're studying for organic chemistry or physics don't be the student who complains about how seemingly irrelevant a concept is for your future career instead take pride in your ability to learn how to solve complex problems and build strong study habits that will serve you well beyond your time at IU even though it was a grind I reminisce about my IU days with such joy and contentment you want to be able to look back and have no regrets about the decisions you made and be able to truthfully say that you gave it your all you all are at an amazing institution that has all the resources you need to succeed it will be up to you to learn how to use them I’ll leave you with some wise words from the great Kobe Bryant when you retire and the championship trophies are sitting there and dust collects on them you really want to create something that stands the test of time the most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do so even in your own pursuit of excellence remember that you are setting an example every day for those around you recognize the power in that and help others along the way I am excited for you all best of luck on your journeys thank you very much Andre and good luck in medical school this year so I want to take a moment and pause here to talk about something else one thing I’ve often pondered is what does it mean when an incoming freshman student says they are pre-med since pre-med is not a major at IU what does it mean to say you are pre-med in advising I’ve found that students can mean many different things when they say they are pre-med in some cases I found it means I was a really good science student in high school and my teachers told me that I should be a doctor sometimes it can mean I want people to look up to me and respect me sometimes I found it means I’ve never been to a doctor who looks like me or speaks my language and no one from my local community has ever become a doctor I want to show others from my community that they can do it other times I found it means I lost my grandmother and I want so badly to be able to change that situation I’d like to suggest that you think about what it means to you when you say you are pre-med one of the things that you have to do is just decide whether you want to be a doctor to help you think about what this career is like we've invited some former IU students to share their experiences so now I’d like to introduce you to another IU alum who graduated from Harvard medical school Dr. Raymond parish he is now a resident in internal medicine at Massachusetts general hospital in Boston where he has been taking care of covid19 patients in the ICU he has plans to pursue a fellowship in pulmonary and critical care medicine following residency so Dr. Parrish so being a doctor is an amazing profession it is an incredibly unique blend of mastering scientific concepts and technical skills while also being this delicate art of getting to know people and building relationships with people that can last even decades in the process of training to be a doctor from the very beginning as a pre-med at IU through medical school and now near the end of my residency is one that really transforms to everything about you know beyond just making you qualified to do a job becoming a doctor changes you it's certainly a challenging process but every step really expands the limits of your capabilities and ultimately makes you see the world differently it encourages you to always think in terms of okay here's the problem how can I use all of my skills to fix it and that applies to your life very much you know even more so than uh your work day today and as you likely know becoming a doctor is a very challenging journey from the very beginning it challenges you and continuously pushes your limits for the most part though succeeding largely comes down to dedication and putting in the hard work necessary to get there when I was in your shoes I certainly was not the smartest or the most prepared to be pre-med at the beginning of college but I learned the ropes from older students and those that came before me and many of the excellent mentors around IU's campus and just focused on working hard at what I was doing kind of one day at a time and it really comes back to what motivates you to want to be a doctor because that motivation is what will keep you going when the work is hard and the path is challenging the journey is absolutely worth it though the first time you walk into the hospital and meet a patient you're actually able to help them because what you've studied all these years and what you've learned is the best feeling in the world some of these patients that really stick out in my mind or some of the patients I’ve cared for during the cold pandemic especially those patients I’ve cared for in the ICU they were extremely ill some nearly dying and it really took all of my knowledge and all of the skills that I built all of these years even dating back to some of the fundamental concepts I learned in you know the physics classes and organic chemistry classes you all are about to start taking in order to help these coping patients get through this terrible disease watching them get better because of my interventions and talking with them and working with their families through these challenging times you know even now starting to see them come into my clinic fully recovered and back to their lives is what makes this kind of thing all worth it we all have you know different reasons for getting into this but those kind of things are what we all have to look forward to at the end of this and make every single hard night of studying for all of us here is extremely worth it and you know that's the kind of reward that's waiting for all of you at the end of this journey so hang in there guys and best of luck this is only the beginning of an amazing adventure thank you so much Dr. parish for sharing your experiences and thank you for all that you do to take care of patients now I’d also like to introduce you to another IU alum Dr. Kayla Zorn she just completed a general surgery residency at Tulane university and now she has just started a vascular surgery fellowship at Loyola university in Chicago Dr. Zorn hi everyone my name is Kayla Zorn I graduated from Indiana university undergrad in 2011 and went on to study medicine at Indiana university in Indianapolis and graduated in 2015 after that I pursued a career in general surgery at Tulane university in New Orleans and I just finished my residency there and graduated this past June and now I’m starting a two-year fellowship in vascular surgery at Loyola university in Chicago um so I’m here to just give a little bit of advice to you guys who are starting your undergraduate careers and are thinking maybe you want to go into medicine it's definitely a hard path but it's really rewarding and I want to share with you a few pieces of advice I got along the way I think that one of the most important things when you're starting your undergraduate career is to know that your GPA is going to be made in your first three semesters so after that if you've done a great job it's going to be really hard to hurt your GPA but it's also going to be hard to make it better that's just because with the more and more credit hours that you get it's going to be harder to make a bigger impact on your GPA so make sure that when you start off you are working really hard you don't need to be worried if one class is difficult but you don't want an entire semester to be ruined because it's going to be really hard to improve your GPA after that the next thing that's really important not only in undergrad but throughout your entire career is mentorship so I am a very shy person and it was really scary for me to go up to people and ask them for advice especially you know these doctors that have done so much training and just were like idols to me but it's been one of the most important things that have impacted my career along the way luckily with IU um you have great people there that can help you Rachel was my mentor and she reached out to me to talk to you guys today um I also was part of the Hudson and Holland program this Hudson Holland scholarship program and dan woodside was one of my mentors who even when I matched into fellowship I emailed him and I stayed I still stay in close contact with him now do what that does is it will expose you to the career of medicine I really didn't know what it meant to be a doctor other than you know going to my doctor personally and so by finding a different physicians different types of physicians that you can shadow you'll get a little glimpse into the world to help you know if that's something that you're interested in and when you shadow these people make sure you ask them what they like about their specialty or medicine in general what they don't like about it I can almost guarantee that every physician you talk to is gonna say that they don't like paperwork there's a lot of paperwork if you don't like doing paperwork don't go into medicine because god will follow you for the rest of your life if you don't like taking tests don't go into medicine because you're gonna have a test every year for the rest of your life most likely um another thing that's really important for undergrad is extracurricular activity so you don't necessarily have to do something in the world of medicine I volunteered and taught swimming lessons with special needs kids um I was a volleyball coach during college I actually played club volleyball a little bit i.e. too if you're interested in research getting involved with research is really important but regardless of whatever is um extracurricular activities will not only provide you with the opportunity to find mentors but also show that you're a well-rounded person and if you do decide to go into medicine they're going to be looking at that to know that you're you know not just focusing on school you're not just an amazing student that's it but that you have other interests or other parts of your life that you can excel in as far as medicine is concerned I think that one thing I didn't really understand when I first started looking at what it would take to be a doctor is how long the process is so you'll go through four years of undergrad and in your fourth year you'll take the MCAT and applied for medical school then after that medical school is four years so typically the first one and a half to two years is all in the classroom so you're taking lectures on anatomy physiology you're learning a lot of information very quickly the second half of medical school is your clinical years where you will chat or you'll work on teams and you'll go through different specialties so surgery pediatrics neurology etc. and your fourth and final year typically you can kind of tailor to what your interests are and then after that you go on to residency so not only do you have four years of medical school but then you also have to complete a residency to be a physician and those depending on the specialty range from three years to seven years after that so I did my general surgery residency that was five years and I could go out into the world and be a general surgeon right now but I want to specialize a little bit more and do vascular surgery so I’m adding another two years to my training so total amount of time after undergrad training was 11 years it's a long time it's definitely worth it um but you know it all starts right now for you guys and it's really important for you to explore the field get exposure to it and set yourself up for success thank you Dr. Zorn for sharing your advice and thank you for all that you do for patients all right before we close I want to tell you more about the services of the health professions and pre-law center and other steps you should take when it comes time to apply you should make use of the services of our office the process of applying as to professional school is complicated but we are here to help you can schedule one-on-one appointments with advisors through the student appointment scheduler go to the HPPLC website for more information on that you have to submit your application a year in advance at least so for instance if you want to start medical school in fall 2024 you should complete the pre-med courses needed for the MCAT by spring of 2023 take the MCAT in summer of 2023 and apply in the summer of 2023 applications for most schools are done through one centralized online application service a common app you submit this application online and it is sent to the schools where you want to apply and we can help you with this process the application asks for information on your experiences and activities but you will not just list them you will write about each activity and what you learn through the experience the application also requires you to write a personal statement also part of this process will be an interview where you will be invited to interview with faculty of the medical school and we can help you prepare for all of these steps also as part of the application you will have to submit letters of recommendation from your professors so you will want to get to know your professors make use of your professors from the smaller non-science classes where you can get to know your professors better and obtain letters of recommendation as well as of course your science professors and you can refer to our website for more information on recommendation letters our office also offers a low-cost prep course for the MCAT exam we hire experienced IU instructors to teach in each area of the MCAT and you may be interested in taking this course later on if you decide that you don't want to go to medical school you want to go to law school our office also provides support for pre-law students if you decide you want to be a physical therapist or a dentist for instance our office can help you prepare for those fields as well we are here to help you throughout your college career and beyond that is the purpose of the health professions and pre-law center all right we are almost at the end of our time tonight I have just some final thoughts now for you to consider medicine will change by the time you graduate from medical school diseases change treatments change our knowledge of biology and genetics changes and we've seen this dramatically this year due to the covid19 pandemic the way that medicine is organized is always changing according to the changes going on in our society medicine may seem to be based on timeless biological principles but it is not medicine is always practiced in a particular social and historical context which is always changing so you must be prepared to deal with change again we've seen this dramatically this year due to the pandemic the best thing you can do now is get a good education to help you deal with change the best way to prepare for change in your career and profession will be to get the skills you will need to continue to learn throughout your life and throughout a long career as a physician being a better educated person will help you so use your time here at Indiana university well each of you is here because you have imagined yourself in the role of caring for the health and well-being of others and in doing so that you would make a promise to be there for other people at possibly the most difficult times of their lives the practice of medicine touches on many of the most personal and elemental aspects of the human condition our physical vulnerability to illness our fears and our mortality and it takes a special kind of person and a special kind of dedication to imagine yourself taking on that role for you the first question should be do I really want to be a doctor the major questions you have to ask yourself are is medicine for you do you really want to be a physician you have four years to answer that question by the way you do not have to know that tonight I have to tell you also that not everyone who starts out in college as pre-med ends up going to medical school but learn one important thing now do not let your self-worth be defined by being admitted to medical school remember that you are more than that remember also that there are many ways to work in health care and you want to find the best fit for you also many of you are here tonight because you want to help people you have basic human values that lead you to want to serve your communities know that there are many ways to do this and you might be someone who comes up with an entirely new idea to help your community in the next four years you have the opportunity to learn about so many ways to help better humanity that is something that Indiana university does exceedingly well some students get so focused on going to medical school that they actually overlook many of the other ways that they could help people so don't make this mistake I have one more recommendation for each of you tonight after this presentation just take a moment and sit down and write for yourself about why you want to be a doctor it can be a few sentences or a paragraph you may find yourself filling up a whole page have you had a personal experience with illness that has influenced you do you just love science did you really like your doctor growing up and you always admired them and wanted to be like them be honest write it for yourself you don't ever have to show it to anyone but we recommend for everyone that they start a file on their computer start a file on your computer for this for a pre-med journal I recommend this to every student this can be a very valuable tool if you start this file on your computer you can go there at any time to write about any thoughts you have about what excites you about medicine how you got interested in becoming a physician when you are volunteering with community organizations you can write about your experiences in your journal this journal can be very helpful when you write your personal statement later on for your application and when you get ready for interviews it will be a very valuable resource for you when you get ready to apply you can get started on this process tonight if you want three years from now you may go back and read what you wrote your freshman year maybe you will say wow was I naive maybe you will say I still feel that way I know that this is the right decision for me your college education your future as a medical student and a physician can only be enriched by taking some time now for self-reflection and an honest appraisal of your talents interests abilities and desires you will be happy one day if you have taken some time to do that your patients will be happy also you can be a better doctor one day if you take the time to do this now you have the next four years to get a good education and that is the very best thing that you can do for yourself and the patients that you may treat one day so that's the end of this evening's presentation thank you so much for joining us and good luck to you all.

Upcoming Events at HPPLC

  • The Health Programs Fair provides IU students a chance to meet with representatives of medical schools and health professions programs from across the country.

  • Those entering the professional health fields face some of the highest costs of any graduate program. How you choose to finance your years after undergrad is a monumentally important step toward putting yourself on the path to a rewarding career. This session is designed to illustrate your options and provide insight on how your life during and after professional school fits in with your financial decision making.

    GIS 001 (Shreve Auditorium) or Virtual

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    After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

  • This meeting is intended for first-year premed students, or any student at IU Bloomington considering the possibility of preparing for medical school admission. 

HPPLC Guidebook

The HPPLC Guidebook offers detailed guidance and advice for undergraduate students seeking admission to graduate programs in health professions and law. Explore your options and plan your undergraduate pathway to admission and success in graduate school.

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