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For the longest time, I have been dreaming of a career in the medical field. In high school, I would frequently say I wanted to become a doctor. A doctor working with underserved communities is something I aspire to be. Now in college I can make that dream into a reality. I had high hopes for myself as a freshman, but the reality of college and student life has finally hit me.

Don’t get me wrong. I still want to become a doctor no matter what it takes. However, I feel that my younger, more naïve self underestimated the ugly truth behind it. I created a strict timeline for myself to follow, not realizing  that many things can arise which can shift this timeline.

First, I didn’t expect to take a whole year of online classes. I disliked virtual classes very much and I feel I was robbed of an academic year. Being stuck at home decreased my mental well-being immensely and it reflected in my grades. My younger self would be disappointed, but I think it’s important to recognize that I am human. I am not a STEM robot that can dish out perfect scores and grades. Instead of beating myself up for my freshman year GPA, I can look past it and improve my grades. An upward trend in grades is meaningful and shows how I improved myself and my study habits.

Comparing myself to other pre-med students is an ugly habit that I have. It is difficult to get rid of it, and I feel others can relate. I become discouraged when I see other pre-meds have a higher GPA than me or have “cooler” extracurricular opportunities. It took me a while to account for the fact that every single person has their own pathway to success. There is no formula to become a successful human being. You can’t copy someone else’s path because it is not designed for you. I frequently have to remind myself of this message when I feel I get too caught up overanalyzing how I’m doing as a student.

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Anna Schultz / Her Campus

Rejection is something I have become familiar with. I have been rejected from research labs, clinics, and other opportunities that I wish I could have been a part of. I feel not only pre-meds, but probably every student has faced some form of rejection in their academic career. It is perfectly okay, even though I convinced myself it wasn’t in the beginning. Going back to our pathway of success, I see rejection as something that was not meant for you. Maybe I would’ve hated working in that research lab I applied for, or maybe there is a better opportunity waiting for me soon.

Being pre-med can be difficult and stressful, and I know there are others who feel like me. However, I hope that sharing my personal feelings about my pathway towards a medical career helps others feel less alone. Not just pre-meds, but other students who feel like they’re “behind.” You are never behind and it is important to stay true to healthy habits. You can start by reminding yourself that with dedication, you will achieve your goals.

Alyssa Monroy

UC Riverside '24

A cellular, molecular, and developmental biology major and public policy minor that loves science, beauty, and writing.
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