Guest blogger Andy Foley '13 writes, "Could we enter the health professions at a more exciting time? The greatest expansion of healthcare in U.S. history is less than 10 days away: the next phase of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) or “Obamacare” rolls out October 1 when new insurance marketplaces will open in every state, allowing citizens to shop for health insurance and choose a plan that fits their needs . . ."
The more graduates I see over the years headed off to medical school, the more I do believe that there are some common traits you all share . . . If you have a strong desire to serve others and to alleviate suffering, then you may indeed be “pre-med” . . . If you have an interest and proficiency in science, then you may be “pre-med.” If you tend to remain composed when taking on high levels of responsibility, if you’re willing to be a leader and you’re not afraid of making decisions, then you may be a “pre-med.” If you’re curious about the world and don’t stop analyzing problems until you find clarity, then you may be “pre-med" . . .
When I ask pre-health students what they read during the summer for fun, they usually say Jane Austen. At least about half of them do. The other half used to say Harry Potter, but I don’t hear that as much anymore, which is just as well since they always seemed a little too old for Hogwarts if you ask me. Game of Thrones is a pretty popular response these days, or science fiction (but never a specific title), or “oh, you know, I love the classics” (which makes me smile), or sometimes, quite honestly, they say that they don’t read at all outside of class. What, you don’t read Anna Karenina at the pool? Shameful! No, seriously, not the news? Nothing? Not even blog posts?
Professional references are different than the type of references you might supply when filling out a rental application for housing. While a landlord would be interested in speaking to your family friends, an employer would prefer to speak to people who have known you in a professional capacity (past supervisors, coordinators from volunteer projects, professors, etc). The same is true when determining whom you will ask to write letters of recommendation for you.
Coming soon to a computer terminal near you, in 2015 actually, the New MCAT will rise up to its full height and might, a formidable dragon of a standardized test, including new sections and a longer time allotment (from the current 4.5 hours to about 6.5 hours). “Slaying” it will require the patience and focus of a saint, fearlessness in the face of the unknown, peak physical stamina, and a sharpened intellect applied in broader swipes and strokes . . .
I recently had the privilege of listening in as two young alumni, Pharyl Weiner ’06 and Aamer Bajwa ’10, shared advice with graduating seniors about their own transitions from F&M to life after F&M. The conversation was a way for soon-to-graduate seniors to learn from the experiences of alumni who have gone before them, about what it is really like to launch from F&M.
What exactly does the LSAT test, and is it a fair measure of someone's aptitude for the study of law or potential for success in the legal profession? In order to answer these questions, I attended a two-day LSAT prep course as the guest of Penn State's Dickinson School of Law. It's been over 30 years since I took the LSAT, and I honestly didn't spend enough time preparing for it. Now that I advise F&M students who are considering law as a profession, I figured it was time to reacquaint myself with an exam that is the only common attribute for all law school applicants.
A good number of F&M students don’t just pass through the countryside on their way from the city of Lancaster to another city or suburb. Some come from a rural setting, and plan on returning there after college. For pre-health students specifically, the goal of going home to practice medicine in a rural setting is generally met with a welcoming “hurrah!” by people in the medical field, primarily because rural communities need doctors. The impending physician shortage predicted by the AAMC and others will affect our country’s less populated areas most of all, if it hasn't already.
Off-campus study is an excellent means of developing some of the personal qualities inherent to healthcare—cultural sensitivity, powers of observation and listening skills, self-reliance, adaptability and resilience, to name a few. In your travels you might find the opportunity to observe healthcare systems different from our own (and make interesting comparisons) and see firsthand how varied cultural attitudes toward health, healing, and doctors can be.