Thriving as a pre-med in your freshman year

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Students listen intently during a Global Health Tutorial in IringaStarting your pre-med freshman year is an exciting time. College is not the same as high school, and you will likely have new challenges. New challenges can be a little scary, but also a positive experience. There are several things you can do to make the most of your pre-med freshman year. 

If you had good study habits in high school, you are ahead of the game. If you did not, it’s not too late to change. Consider trying new study methods. For instance, join a study group or get a tutor if needed. Be open to other methods besides what you did in high school.

Keep you GPA up right from the start. Don’t wait until your sophomore or junior year to start doing well. You would hate to find yourself in your senior year with a low grade point average and trying to figure out what to do about it.

Try to avoid taking all of your general education classes all at once. That would leave you with several science classes, which would need to be taken during your next two years of college. It is a good idea to spread out your science and math classes over several semesters. This means mixing in general education classes and science classes your freshman year.

Don’t overload your schedule your freshman year. Avoid taking too many classes, working too many hours and getting involved in too many extracurricular activities. While it’s a great idea to get involved in some things, doing too much your first year of college can be overwhelming. Give yourself a little time to adjust to college life before cramming lots of activities into your schedule.

It might be a little early to worry about the MCATS or shadowing just yet. Don’t rule out all opportunities to gain shadowing experience, but if something does not come along, don’t worry about it. Get your bearings and get used to college.

Consider which professors teach what classes. A good professor can make or break how well you do in class. There are various review sites online that rate professors. Read reviews and talk to other students. Keep in mind that you are not looking for the easiest professor. You are looking for a professor who has a reputation for being a good teacher, fair and helpful.

Starting your freshman pre-med year off right sets the stage for your undergrad career. That being said, it’s not the end of the world if you don’t do well. The good news is that if you get poor grades or mess up your freshman year, you still have three more years of undergraduate studies to get it right.

Freshman year, regardless of your career goals, is a time to challenge yourself and grow academically and personally. It is also a time to enjoy yourself a little. Join new clubs, meet new people and have some fun, but not so much you get into trouble. Remember, if you are a pre-med major, you still have a long way to go.  

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