Advice from a Medical Student - Part II  [ENDORSED]

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Chem_Mod » Mon Oct 07, 2019 12:14 pm

KatherineValdez_4B wrote:wow that's so cool. Do you have advice for first years who want to potentially go to grad school and become physicians?


I'd probably say focus on your academics; medical schools want to make sure that if accepted you will be able to pass and so they will pick applicants who they think have a strong academic background. I'd probably then say focus on enjoying your classes and don't have tunnel vision for medical school. Don't force yourself into liking it because it is a very very long journey and it's incredibly tough. So you want to make sure it falls into place and that you actually enjoy it before you decide to commit. So keep an open mind and see if there are other graduate departments that maybe peak your interest along the way.

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Chem_Mod » Mon Oct 07, 2019 12:17 pm

Maya Serota 3G wrote:Thank you so much for sharing. I am also thinking about Medical school -- as someone who has already gone through it, do you recommend doing anything specific as an undergraduate to make a Medical School application especially stand out? I know it is extremely competitive. Thank you again for your time!


The best thing you can do is keep up with your hobbies. Medical schools want well-rounded individuals. They don't care what extracurriculars you do as long as you show that you are committed and passionate about something. They want to see if you have a life outside of medicine (which is extremely important). So don't give up what you used to do for fun. Keep at it and then you can use that as something that has defined your growth about who you are today. Because once you get to the interview stage, they want to know about you and what you like to do in your free time. They want to know if you will be a good match for their medical school.

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Sreyes_1C » Mon Oct 07, 2019 11:44 pm

It was so great to hear your story. Often times it feels like we should know exactly what we want to do with our careers but it is nice to see an example of success while not knowing exactly each step going forward.

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Nare Nazaryan 1F » Tue Oct 08, 2019 1:14 am

HI! Thank you so much for taking time out of your already busy schedule to answer our questions. I'm not sure if someone asked this already, but in terms of medical school, I've always wondered how I'd be able to balance that with family, especially because my ultimate career goal is to become a neurosurgeon. I know that by the time I finish medical school and do my residency, I'm going to be in my 30s, but at the same time, I want to start a family before that. I've always wanted to have both a good career that I love, as well as a family. I know it's a strange question, but if you have any advice on the matter, I'd really appreciate it!

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Chem_Mod » Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:52 am

Nare Nazaryan 3E wrote:HI! Thank you so much for taking time out of your already busy schedule to answer our questions. I'm not sure if someone asked this already, but in terms of medical school, I've always wondered how I'd be able to balance that with family, especially because my ultimate career goal is to become a neurosurgeon. I know that by the time I finish medical school and do my residency, I'm going to be in my 30s, but at the same time, I want to start a family before that. I've always wanted to have both a good career that I love, as well as a family. I know it's a strange question, but if you have any advice on the matter, I'd really appreciate it!


That's a really tough question to answer because it depends on the person. I don't want to give too much of my opinion because each person values family time differently but keep in mind residency for neurosurgery is a minimum of 7 years after the 4 years of medical school. I have worked with a couple of neurosurgeons and while they love what they practice, the amount of time they get to spend with their family isn't as great as other professions. It does get better with time (once they're an attending) but remember during your residency, you don't get to choose your schedule so you end up with pretty bad hours. So my one piece of advice is whatever career you choose, just remember that it will also affect your significant other and your children. I put a huge emphasis on family so for me, I want a career that has nice hours that allows me to spend time with my family. It's completely up to you what career you choose and when you plan to start a family, but just remember that anyone who picks any career in medicine needs to have an understanding family and support system who will understand why they can't be there for certain events or holidays (for example, I'll be in the hospital on Thanksgiving this year).

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby 105289321 » Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:25 pm

Thanks so much for sharing I am very interested in the medical field so hearing your story was helpful!

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby curry 1E » Sat Oct 12, 2019 10:04 am

Does anyone have any advice about taking a gap year after graduating and before applying for medical school?

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Chem_Mod » Sat Oct 12, 2019 12:27 pm

curry 1E wrote:Does anyone have any advice about taking a gap year after graduating and before applying for medical school?


It's up to you to decide if you want to take one. I took a gap year mostly because I found it difficult to study for the MCAT and prepare my medical school application while still taking a full courseload at UCLA. Also, if you choose to go straight into medical school, then you will have many interviews during your last year at UCLA and interview days take about 2-3 days based on travel time so you need to take into account all the class days that you will be missing. Medical schools do not give you the option to choose your interview date; they assign it to you so if it lands on a day you have a midterm or final, you're kind of stuck. Furthermore, I will say that the demographics of my class is that the majority of incoming students are older than 25-26 years. It's not necessarily due to gap years but many students pursued Master's Degrees prior to applying to medical school. Based on observing some of my older classmates, I do think that the older you are, the better their skills are in the clinical setting when it comes to your 3rd and 4th years of medical school. Many people are concerned that if you take a gap year, it will be hard to get back to studying once you're accepted but I didn't think it was the case (for me at least). Also, many students use the gap year to bolster their CV so their medical school application is stronger. It's honestly up to you, but I can say that I am happy with my decision to take a gap year and even looking back I wouldn't have changed anything.

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Madeline Phan 1E » Sun Oct 13, 2019 8:59 am

As a premed student, I found your story refreshing and inspiring. Sometimes it's hard to remember why I chose the path that I did, but hearing your story made me want to push on and work as hard as I can to reach my goals. Thank you for taking your time to share your experiences and be open about your path. Best of luck to you in medical school!

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Keerthana Sivathasan 2E » Sun Oct 13, 2019 3:40 pm

Hearing your story makes me so happy! Congratulations on everything you have achieved so far and everything you are going to in the future. Pediatrics is my desired specialty, so I'm so happy you find it so enjoyable. I think it's interesting to go through rotations in several different specialties so you can get a feel of each, and see if you actually like doing what you plan to do.

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby MBouwman_4A » Sun Oct 13, 2019 4:22 pm

Thank you for sharing your story! It was so helpful and provided wonderful insight. Your feedback and advice is appreciated!

Rich Zodda 4B
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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Rich Zodda 4B » Sun Oct 13, 2019 9:10 pm

Chem_Mod wrote:
Rich Zodda 4B wrote:Thank you so much. This was probably the most helpful post I've read so far


Thank you so much for that feedback. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I'm happy to guide you :)


Thanks! I really appreciate it! I might be emailing you in the the near future

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Rebekah Alfred 1J » Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:14 pm

Chem_Mod wrote:
Rebekah Alfred 1L wrote:Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience with us and answer our questions! Your advice is extremely helpful and motivating. Is there anything you didn't expect to experience as a medical student that you wish you knew before starting medical school?


It wasn't really an experience, but the one thing I wish I had done differently was learn anatomy prior to medical school. It's difficult because UCLA doesn't offer an anatomy course to take and it's not a prerequisite for medical school. However, that class was extremely fast paced and it was so overwhelming learning each innervation and vascular supply to each muscle in the body that I wish I had seen it earlier (not so that I knew it all but just so I would have some familiarity with the terminology). It honestly felt like I was learning a new language with all the new vocabulary terms for identification that I had to know for that class.


I'll keep this in mind before I apply to medical school!

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Naren_Ramesh_4F » Mon Oct 21, 2019 12:20 am

Awesome advice! What major were you as an undergraduate if you don't mind me asking?

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Chem_Mod » Mon Oct 21, 2019 12:13 pm

Naren_Ramesh_4D wrote:Awesome advice! What major were you as an undergraduate if you don't mind me asking?


I was an MCDB major. The classes I found were really interesting. However, no matter what major you are, you get a lot of extra upper division electives you can take in any major which allowed me to explore classes outside of the MCDB requirements.

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Brynne Burrows 3K » Wed Oct 23, 2019 8:32 pm

I love your perspective on being able to take these classes at UCLA and how big of an opportunity this is for us and maybe our last opportunity to learn about this subject material! Thank you so much for sharing and good luck with the rest of your journey!!

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Jaklin Astvatsatryan » Sun Oct 27, 2019 10:26 pm

Thank you for sharing your story. It's inspiring to hear that you made it that far and your love for science continues to grow. I am still debating on what route to follow but your story reassured me that I will be exposed to so many fields in medical school.

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Alexis 3F » Sun Oct 27, 2019 10:34 pm

Thank you so much this was so helpful

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Debora Fernandez Clemente_ 4H » Fri Nov 22, 2019 11:38 am

I find your story very interesting and inspiring but as I think more of my future I have become interested in Forensic pathology so I was wondering if you knew about any resources I look into so that I can get more involved and become more knowledgeable of the field?I would appreciate it if you did share.

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Chem_Mod » Fri Nov 22, 2019 5:32 pm

Debora Fernandez Clemente_ 4H wrote:I find your story very interesting and inspiring but as I think more of my future I have become interested in Forensic pathology so I was wondering if you knew about any resources I look into so that I can get more involved and become more knowledgeable of the field?I would appreciate it if you did share.


I'm not too familiar with this but I know a pathologist resident who wants to specialize in forensics. She told me a little bit about finding a job at a County Coroner's office, so I would start there. Maybe seeing if they have any shadowing opportunities or at least seeing if they can provide you with more information. She said the difficulty of having that career is that you are limited to which areas you can have a job in because not every county has a coroner's office so you would have to find a city where there is one nearby. Hope this helps.

Julieta Serobyan4D
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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Julieta Serobyan4D » Sun Nov 24, 2019 10:16 pm

Do you think if being fluent in 3 languages will help me to stand out?

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Julieta Serobyan4D » Sun Nov 24, 2019 10:19 pm

Also, do you think if it matters to which med school you for residency?

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Chem_Mod » Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:13 am

Julieta Serobyan4D wrote:Do you think if being fluent in 3 languages will help me to stand out?


Wow, that's super impressive! I definitely think that is something that can bolster your application to medical school. It can't hurt you. So definitely include it when applying.

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Chem_Mod » Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:16 am

Julieta Serobyan4D wrote:Also, do you think if it matters to which med school you for residency?


If it does factor in, it has a very minimal role. They are looking mostly at your clerkship grades (grades from your 3rd and 4th year rotations) along with your STEP 1 and STEP 2 board scores. They can't really look too much at the school you went to because each school has their own curriculum. For example, I get letter grades for each of my classes while other medical schools have a Pass/Fail grading system. So it's hard to compare schools when you have different grading scales. That's why they focus more on the national board scores since those are standardized and comments received during your clinical clerkships. Hope this helps!

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Leslie Almaraz 4G » Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:36 pm

Thank you for sharing your experience! Is there any time where you felt like you were behind others in your class or felt discouraged? I believe this is very common in big school settings.

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Brandon Tao 1K » Sun Dec 01, 2019 11:27 pm

I'm worried that I won't do good in one of my classes this quarter, to the point where I might have to retake it. Will that severely hurt my chances of applying to medical school?

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Chem_Mod » Tue Dec 03, 2019 1:08 pm

LeslieAlmaraz3B wrote:Thank you for sharing your experience! Is there any time where you felt like you were behind others in your class or felt discouraged? I believe this is very common in big school settings.


I can say this has happened plenty of times. The best thing that I've learned is to not compare yourself to others. Everyone has their own study techniques. Some use flashcards; others use textbooks; some use only classroom material. If you compare yourself to what other people are studying, you will never feel like you are doing enough because someone out there will always be using a resource different from you. The important thing is to learn what study strategy works for you and stick with it. Don't compare yourself to others or worry about how they are studying. But don't stress if you don't figure out your unique study technique right away. It takes time and you'll get there. It took me months before I found a method that works for me.

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Chem_Mod » Tue Dec 03, 2019 1:11 pm

Brandon Tao 1J wrote:I'm worried that I won't do good in one of my classes this quarter, to the point where I might have to retake it. Will that severely hurt my chances of applying to medical school?


There are plenty of applicants who had to retake a course or two. It is quite common. We understand that life happens and also that no student is perfect. As long as you retake it and do well, you can prove that you're capable of success. You might have to explain what happened during an interview because they will want to know what and why it happened. But it's not something that automatically knocks you out of the application process. Remember, you are going to take tons of classes during your time at UCLA. One class does not define you. If you do well the rest of your quarters, one class will barely have any effect on your GPA.

Alexis 3F
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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Alexis 3F » Sun Dec 08, 2019 9:59 am

Thank you so much for sharing!!

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Ryan_K_1K » Fri Jan 17, 2020 11:08 am

Thank you for sharing! As someone who is on the fence about medicine, this was very inspiring!

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Chem_Mod » Mon Jan 20, 2020 12:05 pm

rgk2300 wrote:Thank you for sharing! As someone who is on the fence about medicine, this was very inspiring!


I'm happy this helped. If you have any other specific questions or concerns/worries regarding the medical school process or Chem 14A and 14B, I'm happy to answer them.

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby ashwathinair » Sun Feb 02, 2020 8:19 pm

Thanks so much for sharing your story with us and being open to questions! It sounds like being able to learn about disease and do some work in the hospital is a blast. I have heard a lot about medical school - namely, that it requires a lot of rote memorization - but I believe I learn better by understanding concepts than just memorizing. How would you say medical school has been for you in this respect, and are conceptual learners able to do as well in school as everyone else? Thanks so much!

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Yailin Romo 4G » Sun Feb 02, 2020 8:22 pm

Thank you for the advice its always nice to know someone that's been through what we are going through and how they were able to navigate through it!

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Chem_Mod » Mon Feb 03, 2020 2:39 pm

ashwathinair wrote:Thanks so much for sharing your story with us and being open to questions! It sounds like being able to learn about disease and do some work in the hospital is a blast. I have heard a lot about medical school - namely, that it requires a lot of rote memorization - but I believe I learn better by understanding concepts than just memorizing. How would you say medical school has been for you in this respect, and are conceptual learners able to do as well in school as everyone else? Thanks so much!


So I am a conceptual learning. I need to write out entire physiologic processes in order to help me understand. I can't just say this causes hypertension because if I do, I'll forget it in a month. I need to understand the step by step in order for me to ingrain it long-term. I believe that this study strategy is a lot more time consuming and difficult but I think the payoff is good. There are a lot of medical school flashcard apps that at least half of the students are using and it helps them and they do great on tests. I've just never been a flash card person. Each person studies differently and has their own technique that works for them. I wouldn't advise changing your study strategy specifically for medical school if it has been working for you for the past 16 years of your life. But again, you're thrown a lot more material in a shorter amount of time so if you don't have the time to go through concepts as thoroughly, it's okay to change your study methods to adapt to the changing environment. It all depends on the person and the situation. Hope this helps!

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby 005162902 » Mon Feb 03, 2020 4:46 pm

Thank you for opening up to us! Do you use chemistry in your medical training at all? I am curious how much chemistry a medical student will use after Lavelle's classes are over. Please let me know how much you use it, if at all! Same with calculus or statistics. Do you see those subjects in your daily or weekly practices?

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby AArmellini_1I » Mon Feb 03, 2020 5:07 pm

Thank you so much for posting a part 2! I was so excited to see it. I was wondering how you found opportunities (work, internships, volunteering, really any experience). As you probably are well aware pre-med programs at UCLA are tough to get into especially as a first year. Do you have any tips or recommendations?

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Chem_Mod » Mon Feb 03, 2020 7:26 pm

005162902 wrote:Thank you for opening up to us! Do you use chemistry in your medical training at all? I am curious how much chemistry a medical student will use after Lavelle's classes are over. Please let me know how much you use it, if at all! Same with calculus or statistics. Do you see those subjects in your daily or weekly practices?


With regards to chemistry, I used quite a bit of it my first semester of medical school. It's not strictly chemistry but how it relates to the physiology of the body. For example, Dr. Lavelle will discuss the bicarbonate buffer in blood, and that comes up time and time again in multiple courses. He also talks about various transition metal chelators. That will show up when you learn about treatments for various diseases.

With regards to calculus, that doesn't show up much but statistics shows up all the time. There's a ton of biostats on all the board exams and you'll likely have a biostats course or short module in medical school. You get questions all the time on positive predictive value and negative predictive value... Biostats is something that you can't get away from. So if you learn it well in UCLA, then hopefully it should help you in the future.

Hope this helps!

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Chem_Mod » Mon Feb 03, 2020 7:29 pm

AArmellini_1I wrote:Thank you so much for posting a part 2! I was so excited to see it. I was wondering how you found opportunities (work, internships, volunteering, really any experience). As you probably are well aware pre-med programs at UCLA are tough to get into especially as a first year. Do you have any tips or recommendations?


I think it's really difficult to get these experiences especially during your first year when you are getting settled in to the pacing of the quarter system. I would suggest doing some volunteering over the summer when you have time. I took a gap year and that's where I got most of my clinical experience because I focused mostly on academics while I was at UCLA. It's important you have a balance. You don't want to have all this great volunteer/internship experience at the expense of your grades. So whatever you decide to do, make sure you keep your grades as your top priority.

Don't worry about doing things that you think will make you look good. Do something you enjoy, especially if you find something unique you could find a niche that sets you apart from the other applicants and make you a really strong candidate.

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Chem_Mod » Mon Feb 03, 2020 7:31 pm

Yailin Romo 4G wrote:Thank you for the advice its always nice to know someone that's been through what we are going through and how they were able to navigate through it!


Thanks for the feedback. I'm so glad you found it helpful. Feel free to ask any and all questions. It's hard being a pre-med and trying to navigate through it all. I'm happy to help in any way that I can :)

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby vibha gurunathan 1h » Sat Feb 08, 2020 11:00 am

Does anyone know when the best time to start preparing for the MCAT is?

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Chem_Mod » Sun Feb 09, 2020 1:59 pm

vibha gurunathan 1h wrote:Does anyone know when the best time to start preparing for the MCAT is?


This is something that depends on each individual. Some people try to study while still taking classes. I took a gap year where I studied for the MCAT and did more clinical work. It's completely up to you. What's important to know is that the application process takes an entire year. So you apply in June/July and will start the following year in August. So if you don't want to take a gap year, you will need to take the MCAT in your third year of college. If you want to take a gap year, then you can take your MCAT at a later date. It all depends on when you hope to start medical school. Hope this helps!

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby nicole-2B » Tue Feb 11, 2020 3:38 pm

Thanks for sharing your experience !!

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby CNourian2H » Wed Feb 19, 2020 9:53 pm

Thank you, this was so interesting and uplifting.

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Matthew ILG 1L » Tue Mar 03, 2020 10:06 pm

I was just wondering how applicable the things you learned in 14A and 14B were to you when you were doing your medical internship.

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Chem_Mod » Wed Mar 04, 2020 6:28 pm

Matthew ILG 1L wrote:I was just wondering how applicable the things you learned in 14A and 14B were to you when you were doing your medical internship.


Chemistry 14A and 14B were extremely helpful for the MCAT. When studying for the chemistry portion of the MCAT, I only used my notes from Dr. Lavelle's courses and I scored in the 5% for that section. I can't emphasize enough how great his class is at getting into medical school. Once in medical school, there is still some overlap with Chemistry 14A and 14B. It's not an everyday thing, but a couple lectures each course in my first year of medical school included topics covered in this course. There's a huge emphasis placed on the bicarbonate buffer of blood and chelating ligands. All I can speak about is my first 2.5 years and with the first two years being didactic courses, I have seen his chemistry content show up again and again (a lot more often than material covered in 14C and 14D). Hope this helps!

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby 605136321 » Sun Mar 08, 2020 9:20 pm

This is great hearing what med school is actually like!!

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby vibha gurunathan 1h » Tue Mar 10, 2020 2:56 pm

Chem_Mod wrote:
vibha gurunathan 1h wrote:Does anyone know when the best time to start preparing for the MCAT is?


This is something that depends on each individual. Some people try to study while still taking classes. I took a gap year where I studied for the MCAT and did more clinical work. It's completely up to you. What's important to know is that the application process takes an entire year. So you apply in June/July and will start the following year in August. So if you don't want to take a gap year, you will need to take the MCAT in your third year of college. If you want to take a gap year, then you can take your MCAT at a later date. It all depends on when you hope to start medical school. Hope this helps!


Thanks so much! This helps a lot, I really appreciate it.

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Reina Robles 2B » Fri Mar 13, 2020 10:18 pm

Thank you so much, and best wishes to you!

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Chem_Mod » Sat Mar 14, 2020 5:20 am

Reina Robles 2B wrote:Thank you so much, and best wishes to you!


So glad you found this helpful. If there's any advice you need either regarding anything UCLA, chemistry 14A/B, or grad school questions, please feel free to reach out!

Hussain Chharawalla 1G
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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Hussain Chharawalla 1G » Sat Mar 14, 2020 7:59 pm

Thank you for all your words and wisdom! As a current medical student, what similarities do you find between yourself and other medical students admitted in the program? It seems like as premeds, a lot of people follow the same path (volunteering, research, etc). Do you have any advice on how to set yourself apart as an applicant or unique things to engage in? Thanks again!

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Chem_Mod » Sun Mar 15, 2020 7:10 am

Hussain Chharawalla 1G wrote:Thank you for all your words and wisdom! As a current medical student, what similarities do you find between yourself and other medical students admitted in the program? It seems like as premeds, a lot of people follow the same path (volunteering, research, etc). Do you have any advice on how to set yourself apart as an applicant or unique things to engage in? Thanks again!


You're absolutely right. As part of my school's admissions committee I saw a lot of students with similar pre-med paths. The majority of people have clinical experience, lots of extracurriculars, and some research. But what makes you stand out is how you write about it in your personal statement. It has to be evident that you are doing these things because you are interested in it. During the interview process, it becomes really easy to tell if you were doing these activities just to check a box on the application. But if you do something "generic" in which everyone else has done the exact same thing, but you had a patient that really changed your perspective on something and reinforced your desire for medicine, then you should talk about that. That is something interesting that we want to know about you. So, it's not necessarily what you do. Just make sure you have a genuine interest in it and can talk about that topic with a passion if and when you get an interview. Hope that helps!

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Abril Guanes 3D » Tue Oct 06, 2020 7:24 pm

I didn't expect to see a post like this, but it's very refreshing and exciting to see upon the hundreds of threads about chemistry. Thank you for sharing your experience! I wanted to ask about the resources that medical schools (or maybe yours in particular for experience) have to offer for mental health. I've read a lot of scary stats about people's mental health declining and wanted to know if your school is encouraging of people seeking help or maybe even taking time off from school? Thanks for your time!

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Massimo_Capozza_1H » Tue Oct 06, 2020 9:45 pm

Thanks so much for sharing your advice and story! When did you get involved in volunteer work, extracurriculars, and research, etc? Also, which of those areas do medical schools look more for during their admissions process.

idella 1F
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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby idella 1F » Wed Oct 07, 2020 11:59 am

Hi! I'm a current freshman in Professor Lavelle's 14A class this fall. I'm on the Pre-Med track, as I've wanted to be a doctor since the first grade, and am a Psychobiology major. I was wondering if you have any advice on how to get experience as an undergrad, whether it be volunteering or being part of a certain club. I have volunteered at the local Cedars-Sinai hospital for a few years, but I was wondering if there was anything specific that you did that you recommend. I know it will be different now... due to Covid.. but I would still love to hear more. Thank you :)

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Hasmik Dis 2F » Wed Oct 07, 2020 7:22 pm

Hello! Thank you for sharing your story with the rest of us! I am currently a freshman and a MCDB major and I am also interested in pursuing a career in the medical field. I wanted to ask: do you have any study tips for this class? I do know one importnat thing to do is practice problems, however, what about when learning a completely new concept? Do you reccomend watching videos online or reading the textbook first? My goal is to not only succeed in this class but to also build and maintain a strong chemistry foundation in preparation for the more advanced medical school pre-requiste courses (and also the MCAT). So chemsiry is a pretty important subject for me to master haha! I would love to here some tips and tricks that have worked for you!
Thank you for your time. You are very much appreciated! :)

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Neel Bonthala 3E » Wed Oct 07, 2020 8:37 pm

Hi! I really loved your story, and it got me excited for what's to come in medical school, as I'm on the path right now. I still have a long way to go though! I had a question about your undergraduate experience though. Did you pursue any minor or even a double-major? I know for a fact I want to minor, but there are so many options I'm interested in that I'm having difficulty choosing. What kinds of minors do you think would help one succeed in medical school? Thank you so much!

jia207
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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby jia207 » Thu Oct 08, 2020 8:57 am

Thank you for sharing your story. I look forward to updates. I am confident that whatever speciality you choose will be the right choice for you. Wish you all the best.

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Chem_Mod » Thu Oct 08, 2020 12:09 pm

Abril Guanes 3D wrote:I didn't expect to see a post like this, but it's very refreshing and exciting to see upon the hundreds of threads about chemistry. Thank you for sharing your experience! I wanted to ask about the resources that medical schools (or maybe yours in particular for experience) have to offer for mental health. I've read a lot of scary stats about people's mental health declining and wanted to know if your school is encouraging of people seeking help or maybe even taking time off from school? Thanks for your time!


Mental health is a huge topic right now in medical school. It can be very tough and stressful at times. You kind of feel like you're running non-stop and don't really have a chance to catch your breath. I can't speak for other schools, but mine is really good with doing group activities, such as organized weekend hikes, weekly yoga/meditation, weekly cardio workouts in the atrium of our school. It's a little harder now during covid times to do group activities, but our school has a wellness committee that organizes at least monthly events and then there are other interest groups that hold their own events where anyone can join. With regards to taking time off from school, the administration at my school is very understanding. There are a couple students who do to health/personal reasons had to take a year off and they were able to resume the following year. The opportunities are there, it's just what you choose to make of it. Even at UCLA, things will be tough. Make sure you take time for yourself to do something you love every once in a while.

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Chem_Mod » Thu Oct 08, 2020 12:13 pm

Massimo_Capozza_1H wrote:Thanks so much for sharing your advice and story! When did you get involved in volunteer work, extracurriculars, and research, etc? Also, which of those areas do medical schools look more for during their admissions process.


Great question! I did a lot of extracurriculars during my gap year after graduating from UCLA because I was very academically focused and took a tough course load. It all depends on what you can handle. I would say to focus on school for the first year (or at least the beginning half of the first year) as you get used to the fast paced quarter system. You don't want to take on too much and then have your grades suffer.

Medical schools look for well-rounded individuals. But don't think of it as just checking boxes. If you are doing research because you think you need to it, but aren't really interested in it, then we can pick that up right away during the interview process. So be genuine. Find extracurriculars that you find exciting or are passionate about. That will make it more enjoyable and it'll be something great you can talk about during interview season.

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Chem_Mod » Thu Oct 08, 2020 12:17 pm

idella 1F wrote:Hi! I'm a current freshman in Professor Lavelle's 14A class this fall. I'm on the Pre-Med track, as I've wanted to be a doctor since the first grade, and am a Psychobiology major. I was wondering if you have any advice on how to get experience as an undergrad, whether it be volunteering or being part of a certain club. I have volunteered at the local Cedars-Sinai hospital for a few years, but I was wondering if there was anything specific that you did that you recommend. I know it will be different now... due to Covid.. but I would still love to hear more. Thank you :)


Getting involved in extracurriculars is very important but not necessary at the start of your undergrad at UCLA. The quarter system is very fast and something you need to get used to in order to succeed. Starting week 3, it will seem like you have midterms every week until finals week so it's more important at the beginning to stay ahead of the game. For me, I did a lot of volunteer work and research during my gap year. I know there are tons of clubs/interest groups at UCLA. I'm not sure now how all of these are being handled, but pay attention to emails for when there will be group meetings or activities that you can participate in. Make sure to get involved, but because there are so many options out there, pick the ones that you are passionate about. It's about quality, not quantity. Once you get your interview, they want to know about unique experiences and have you talk about them in great depth so make sure whatever organizations you choose to be a part of, you have an active role.

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Chem_Mod » Thu Oct 08, 2020 12:23 pm

Hasmik Dis 2F wrote:Hello! Thank you for sharing your story with the rest of us! I am currently a freshman and a MCDB major and I am also interested in pursuing a career in the medical field. I wanted to ask: do you have any study tips for this class? I do know one importnat thing to do is practice problems, however, what about when learning a completely new concept? Do you reccomend watching videos online or reading the textbook first? My goal is to not only succeed in this class but to also build and maintain a strong chemistry foundation in preparation for the more advanced medical school pre-requiste courses (and also the MCAT). So chemsiry is a pretty important subject for me to master haha! I would love to here some tips and tricks that have worked for you!
Thank you for your time. You are very much appreciated! :)


Very nice choice on MCDB. I loved all the upper division courses/electives that this major offers. To do well in this course, you need to stay ahead of the game. The lectures are extremely helpful. I cannot emphasize those enough. Dr. Lavelle does a great job integrating biological processes into his chemistry lectures, which come up over and over again in your LS courses and again in medical school. He does a great job lecturing on high yield topics in overlapping fields. Doing textbook problems are great. Keep up with the course load because it is a lot. But do as many problems as you can. It's more important to understand the concept behind the problem rather than just getting the math right because you will have to apply the concepts on exams in the future. So memorizing how to do the steps to problem solve may help in the short run, but you will end up having to re-learn a lot for the MCAT rather than just reviewing topics that you've previously mastered. Hope this helps! Feel free to keep asking questions, I'm happy to guide you :)

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Chem_Mod » Thu Oct 08, 2020 12:28 pm

Neel Bonthala wrote:Hi! I really loved your story, and it got me excited for what's to come in medical school, as I'm on the path right now. I still have a long way to go though! I had a question about your undergraduate experience though. Did you pursue any minor or even a double-major? I know for a fact I want to minor, but there are so many options I'm interested in that I'm having difficulty choosing. What kinds of minors do you think would help one succeed in medical school? Thank you so much!


I didn't minor in anything and that was my choice because I wanted to explore a lot of different options and take a bunch of diverse elective courses. I didn't want to be forced to use my upper division electives in one specific category/topic of courses because I felt that UCLA was going to be my last chance in school to take courses that I wouldn't take anywhere else. There's absolutely nothing wrong with minoring or double majoring, it just wasn't for me. There isn't one specific major/minor that would help someone succeed in medical school. If you do more of a humanities type minor/major, you'll have a different background than many applicants and it might give you a story to tell during interviews. So you could consider something like that. However, if you minored in a science department, you might know a little more and be a bit more prepared when it comes to the basic science review in the first semester of medical school. There's no right choice. It's just what you find exciting is what you should take more courses in.

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Chem_Mod » Thu Oct 08, 2020 12:29 pm

jia207 wrote:Thank you for sharing your story. I look forward to updates. I am confident that whatever speciality you choose will be the right choice for you. Wish you all the best.


Thank you so much! I will post an update soon (when I find the time). I start an ICU rotation in a week, but once that is over hopefully I will have more time. Good luck this quarter in 14A!

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Jonathan Banh 1G » Fri Oct 09, 2020 2:36 pm

Wow, honestly such an inspiring and interesting story to read. It's not very often that you get access to a "behind-the-scenes" look into the world of medical school, so thank you so much for choosing to share and consistently update your story! I would be lying if I said that the journey ahead from being a first-year to medical school isn't scary, especially as a first-generation college student, but reading how exciting your experience was definitely comforting and makes me optimistic for the future. Just out of pure curiosity, how has COVID-19 affected your situation, being that you are currently a medical student in training at a hospital?

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby David Y » Fri Oct 09, 2020 3:50 pm

Thank you so much for your post about Medical School and Chem 14A. It is great to hear that the concepts we learn in class come to life in the real world like hospitals. I am excited to apply these concepts when I am in medical school.

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Chem_Mod » Sat Oct 10, 2020 7:18 am

Jonathan Banh 1G wrote:Wow, honestly such an inspiring and interesting story to read. It's not very often that you get access to a "behind-the-scenes" look into the world of medical school, so thank you so much for choosing to share and consistently update your story! I would be lying if I said that the journey ahead from being a first-year to medical school isn't scary, especially as a first-generation college student, but reading how exciting your experience was definitely comforting and makes me optimistic for the future. Just out of pure curiosity, how has COVID-19 affected your situation, being that you are currently a medical student in training at a hospital?


Glad this post was reassuring and helpful! When COVID first started and many were unaware of this virus, all medical schools across the nation were required to pull students out of their clinical rotations in the hospital. We changed to virtual learning and did online cases similar to what we would see in a hospital. However, for the past 3-4 months, we have been back in the hospital as if nothing has changed. We wear masks and eye protection, but continue to work in the hospitals and see all the patients. We stay safe but since this is the job we signed up for, we have to face it and can't stay away forever. If anyone ends up being in contact with a patient who tests positive, he/she self-quarantines for 14 days. So at the beginning, it was a bit weird being taken out of the hospital, but now things are back to this new normal and I love being back.

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby 305392242 » Sun Oct 11, 2020 11:13 am

Thank you so much for dedicating time to writing this. It was so incredibly helpful to me.

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Jamie2002 » Sun Oct 11, 2020 5:59 pm

This is so amazing! Can I ask what internships/ research you took part in and how helpful you think they were towards getting into med school?

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Andy Hernandez » Sun Oct 11, 2020 8:09 pm

How did you figure out how to do homework problems you were confused on? with covid and all, I'm having trouble even figuring out the basics of chem.

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Chem_Mod » Mon Oct 12, 2020 4:24 am

Jamie2002 wrote:This is so amazing! Can I ask what internships/ research you took part in and how helpful you think they were towards getting into med school?


I did some clinical research during my gap year related to behavioral analysis in children on the autism spectrum. It's not necessarily research that helps you get into medical school, but what you do that you are passionate for that can help guide your personal statement and your interview. You need to find something that will set you apart from other applicants. Everyone has research, so if you're just doing it to do it, it won't be helpful at all. You need to find some sort of extracurricular that you can do that you have an active role in and something that you are able to talk about for hours. The best advice I can give is to not feel like checking off certain requirements for medical school, but instead find things you're interested in and pursue them. It'll make you a much more appealing applicant.

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Chem_Mod » Mon Oct 12, 2020 4:30 am

Andy Hernandez wrote:How did you figure out how to do homework problems you were confused on? with covid and all, I'm having trouble even figuring out the basics of chem.


If you check out the solutions manual, you will find the problems worked out step by step. You can try looking on Chemistry Community for any posts related to the question you are confused upon and there will likely be a past post with an explanation. Or you can go to office hours or TA/UA sessions for help. Those are like free tutoring sessions where you can ask whatever questions you want. However, Andy, if you continue to struggle with the basics and really need to solidify your foundation, send me an email at smileysarquiz@ucla.edu and I can try to better advise you based on what you are really struggling with. Good luck!

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Megan ODonnell 1K » Wed Oct 14, 2020 5:38 pm

Thank you so much for posting this! I love hearing about your experience as a medical student as I hope to become one eventually.

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Janna Shakiba » Sun Oct 18, 2020 8:12 pm

Thank you, Ashley. I feel like my perspective towards 14A has changed after reading your post. I was terrified of this class because I struggled a lot in high school chemistry. While I'm pretty positive I don't want to study chemistry as a career, I should be more open to the idea of learning it now because after undergrad I'll never study it again.

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Janna Shakiba » Sun Oct 18, 2020 8:18 pm

Hi Ashley- one question:

I am on track to graduate from UCLA with a bachelor's in Neuroscience in 3 years (as in 3 years at UCLA total) and I'm wondering if med schools will look down on this. I came into college with a lot of credits because I did a few college classes in high school and I feel that I will be ready to attend med school at 21, but I'm worried med schools will think I have a lack of experience.

What do you think?

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Chem_Mod » Sun Oct 18, 2020 9:51 pm

Janna Shakiba wrote:Hi Ashley- one question:

I am on track to graduate from UCLA with a bachelor's in Neuroscience in 3 years (as in 3 years at UCLA total) and I'm wondering if med schools will look down on this. I came into college with a lot of credits because I did a few college classes in high school and I feel that I will be ready to attend med school at 21, but I'm worried med schools will think I have a lack of experience.

What do you think?


It depends on each individual case. I would just realize that going into medical school, you are applying with students who are in their late 20s who have had other careers (some are lawyers, pharmacists, nurses, PhD or Master students) and so if you are coming into the application young, you may not look as great as an applicant who is a few years older but has experience under their belt. You just need to make sure that if you apply early, that you have something that makes you stand out. I took a gap year and think that was a great idea. I see some of my fellow colleagues who are older than me and I feel like they are doing better on their clinical rotations and relating more with their patients because they have more life experience. So no one is stopping you from applying early, this is just my opinion from what I've seen. Just make sure you have something that will make you stand out from older applicants with more experience. Good luck!

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Jamie2002 » Wed Oct 21, 2020 9:52 pm

Chem_Mod wrote:
Jamie2002 wrote:This is so amazing! Can I ask what internships/ research you took part in and how helpful you think they were towards getting into med school?


I did some clinical research during my gap year related to behavioral analysis in children on the autism spectrum. It's not necessarily research that helps you get into medical school, but what you do that you are passionate for that can help guide your personal statement and your interview. You need to find something that will set you apart from other applicants. Everyone has research, so if you're just doing it to do it, it won't be helpful at all. You need to find some sort of extracurricular that you can do that you have an active role in and something that you are able to talk about for hours. The best advice I can give is to not feel like checking off certain requirements for medical school, but instead find things you're interested in and pursue them. It'll make you a much more appealing applicant.



Thank you so much for the advice! It really helps :)

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Kendall_Dewey_2D » Sat Oct 24, 2020 11:16 pm

Thank you so much for sharing this! It was really helpful and inspiring to read!

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Claudia_Danysh_2C » Sun Oct 25, 2020 6:25 pm

Reading this post was so motivating for me because I also want to go to medical school. Thinking about the road to getting there is super intimidating and reading what you had to say made me realize that even though it's tough, its a long process that will prepare me for the future!

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Yijia_Yang_3A » Sun Nov 01, 2020 8:46 pm

Such an inspiring story! I wish you the best of luck in the coming years!

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Brandon Carris » Sun Nov 01, 2020 11:36 pm

Over the summer, is it better to pursue internships that correspond to ones major (ie research or hospital shadowing),
or is it better to pursue internships that correspond to one personal interests?

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Chem_Mod » Tue Nov 03, 2020 1:39 am

Brandon Carris wrote:Over the summer, is it better to pursue internships that correspond to ones major (ie research or hospital shadowing),
or is it better to pursue internships that correspond to one personal interests?


It is honestly up to you. The best advice I'd give would be to make sure that whatever you do, you aren't just doing it to check a box on your application. As someone on the admissions committee, I would much rather see an individual who pursued something not related to medicine but instead they are extremely passionate about and have spent many hours devoted to it rather than having someone doing a research project they know nothing about and are just doing it to say they did research. Just make sure whatever you choose, you are an active participant and have an important role in the project/internship so that on interviews you are able to talk about them at length.

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Breanna Ouyang 1C » Tue Nov 03, 2020 2:38 am

This is so amazing! Do you have any advice for first years who are just starting out looking for opportunities/ways to get involved?

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Cooper_Geralds_2E » Tue Nov 03, 2020 10:08 am

Hi, I am wondering how you went about getting in all the classes that you needed for your undergraduate major at UCLA while also making sure to get in extra classes needed for pre-reqs of med school. Furthermore, how should I go about making sure I am meeting all the course requirements at various med schools? I am also wondering if it is possible to study abroad as a hard science major at UCLA or if you know anyone that did?

Thank you so much!

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Alex Mele 2E » Mon Nov 09, 2020 3:26 pm

Thank you for answering all of these questions! I always hear about how medical school is so hard to get into and it makes me feel good to hear from people who have done it. Do you know if a lot of your UCLA classmates got into programs too?

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Chem_Mod » Fri Nov 13, 2020 6:55 pm

Breanna Ouyang 1C wrote:This is so amazing! Do you have any advice for first years who are just starting out looking for opportunities/ways to get involved?


I would say just find something that you are interested in and then volunteer or get involved somehow. Don't feel like it has to be research, it could be some sort of clinical experience or any club/extracurricular that you find interesting. I would advise you though to focus on school for at least the first couple quarters. The quarter system is really fast and it's more important to have a strong start with good grades than to focus too much on volunteer opportunities and do poorly in school. But once you figure it out and have a good study plan, then look out for various clubs "on campus" that you can join and be a part of. Good luck!

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Chem_Mod » Fri Nov 13, 2020 7:00 pm

Cooper_Geralds_2E wrote:Hi, I am wondering how you went about getting in all the classes that you needed for your undergraduate major at UCLA while also making sure to get in extra classes needed for pre-reqs of med school. Furthermore, how should I go about making sure I am meeting all the course requirements at various med schools? I am also wondering if it is possible to study abroad as a hard science major at UCLA or if you know anyone that did?

Thank you so much!


If you are a science major then your graduation requirements for your major would usually be sufficient for medical school pre-reqs. For example, you need to finish the entire chem series, LS series, physics series... for your UCLA graduation requirements. These will overlap with med school requirements. However, it is important to know that while most medical schools have similar pre-reqs, some may have different requirements that require you to take an additional course. For example, when I was applying, UCI had required a biochem lab course that other med schools did not require (they have since removed that requirement). So it is on you to look at the school you are wanting to apply to and see what courses they require.

With regards to studying abroad, I would ask your counselor about that. I don't see why you could not do that. I'm sure it would be a great opportunity. But I'm not familiar with how its done and how you get UCLA credit and/or how medical schools count that.

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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Chem_Mod » Fri Nov 13, 2020 7:01 pm

Alex Mele 2E wrote:Thank you for answering all of these questions! I always hear about how medical school is so hard to get into and it makes me feel good to hear from people who have done it. Do you know if a lot of your UCLA classmates got into programs too?


I'm not too sure about others as many of us take gap years after graduation so it's hard to keep in touch with everyone. However, I know that in my graduating medical school class, there are quite a few who went to UCLA. Not necessarily graduated my same year, but went there for undergrad. UCLA prepares you well if medical school is the path you choose to go down. Good luck!

Aliya Roserie 3I
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:16 am

Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Aliya Roserie 3I » Sun Nov 15, 2020 11:17 am

Thank you for sharing your experiences with me. I appreciate all your advice.

Kaili Valenzuela 3B
Posts: 42
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2020 9:55 pm

Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Kaili Valenzuela 3B » Sun Nov 15, 2020 11:35 am

Thank you so much for all your advice and sharing your story! As I was reading through the previous comments I know you said that you should get involved in research only if you are truly interested in it rather than making it something you force yourself to do. I know there are various research opportunities at UCLA and I was wondering how you decided what kind of research was right for you and simply how to get started if I am interested in participating in research?

Michelle Nguyen 2C
Posts: 46
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2020 10:03 pm

Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Michelle Nguyen 2C » Sun Nov 29, 2020 10:04 am

This was such a good read for me! Although I am in pre-med, I am very conflicted with my decision, so it's nice to know and have the reassurance that I still have some time in my hands before I can make a decision. Thank you so much!

Chem_Mod
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Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Chem_Mod » Mon Nov 30, 2020 12:07 am

Kaili Valenzuela 3B wrote:Thank you so much for all your advice and sharing your story! As I was reading through the previous comments I know you said that you should get involved in research only if you are truly interested in it rather than making it something you force yourself to do. I know there are various research opportunities at UCLA and I was wondering how you decided what kind of research was right for you and simply how to get started if I am interested in participating in research?


For me, research came second. I was volunteering in an autism clinic and the program director knew someone doing research in a similar field and asked if I was interested. And that is how I got my research position at UCLA. I wasn't really sure what type of research I wanted to do initially but found an interest through my volunteer work. If you already know what you are interested in, I believe there is an SRP website where you can look up available research position openings. Or you could reach out to your counselor or a professor whose class you enjoyed and ask if he/she knows of anyone doing research in whatever field you are interested in. Within your years at UCLA you will certainly have many research opportunities that you will hear about via emails or even word of mouth. Hope this helps!

Constance Newell
Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2020 9:38 pm

Re: Advice from a Medical Student - Part II

Postby Constance Newell » Mon Nov 30, 2020 12:27 am

Thank you so much for sharing!


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