Wow! It’s already past the first month of the semester and I haven’t written a single post since the summer, and it’s getting colder! As I attempt to regain the creative mindset that had at one point controlled my thinking, I am now taking the time to look through my schedule to see where I am in terms of my classes. I tell myself I am not simply trying to kill off requirements for my major, and I’m not just aiming to take the easiest classes to get the best grades in order to get that perfect GPA for medical school. Yup, I’m still pre-med, still loving clinical experience, and still hoping that that feeling never goes away.
The classes I’m taking this semester consist of two labs, organic chemistry (the honors option, probably not the best choice), statistics, and an intro to teaching course on chemistry. The reason for fewer classes is because I am working, and I’ll elaborate on my decision to take fewer classes shortly.
What do all these classes have in common? They’re all geared towards getting the requirements for my major and making a stand on my position as a good candidate for med school. Where are the fun classes, the ones where I don’t necessarily have to shut myself off from the rest of the world over 80% of the time? Why am I burying myself in only math and hard science courses?
The answer to that question is because I thought I would be done with my major classes all this year. Boy was I wrong!
After orgo, the possible reason to explain why I didn’t take more credits in addition to my work is that I thought the stress would be over. I kept listening to the opinions of those around me that it will get easier in terms of what classes I take later on. I was planning to push off the “fun and easy” classes until my junior or senior year. However, I realize that where I am now only partially reflects the intensity of stress I will feel later on, especially because of MCATs and med school admissions. If there is any good time to take those non-major related courses that open your eyes to other parts of the world, it would be earlier rather than later.
I look at my schedule for Spring 2016, and Theater Appreciation was one of the classes I had taken. Honestly, that class, while it had a lot to teach, wasn’t one where I had to put in as much effort as the science courses to do well in. I consider it the most “fun” class of freshmen year, as I got to explore acting and a part of myself I wouldn’t have found in my major courses. I decided to take the explorer approach that year and not just stick with General Bio and General Chem, which surprisingly are not considered some of the hardest science courses!
While Theater Appreciation did fulfill one of the core requirements, it wasn’t the main reason I took the course. I took it because acting has been a hobby and passion of mine, and this class made me explore the various facets of theatrical acting and the overall image that a play has to evoke in its audience through its scenery, its storylines, and most importantly, its characters. Also, I wouldn’t have found freshman year so exciting had I not allowed myself to enjoy great performances, including one right on Broadway in New York City about a sinking cruise ship and the musical journey of the characters trying to escape with their loved ones.
This was one of the scenes from the musical, and yes, that is Kevin Chamberlain, for those of you who recognize him. I didn’t even know he did theater, or that he went to Rutgers!
Overall, taking this course really helped me navigate the stresses of my freshman year science courses. Looking back now I feel like that is the balance I should be consistently following going forward, instead of only focusing on difficult courses in one semester and taking all fun classes in another. Instead of hoping that the stresses of hard science classes will be reduced next year, I will personally take the time to look through available courses and see which ones can relate to my other interests, and I will even try to take one of them next semester, maybe one on dinosaurs. Even one non-major related course per semester would probably be enough for me to stay connected to other areas of study, and would allow me to get a more complete picture of what I like to do and ultimately, where I would like to go in my career path, even if it doesn’t turn out to be medicine.
Just because I am a pre-med doesn’t mean I have to surround myself with only science-related topics. After all, doctors don’t deal with the same types of patients all the time. If anything, I should also be focused on trying to see what characteristics make the people around me different, and to do that, I have to involve myself in various settings, classes, and activities that make me who I am and that make college so diverse and exciting.