Pre-med is not just a college track that prepares you for medical school. It is a lifestyle. It is a journey. More importantly, being pre-med can be the biggest decision you’ll ever make in college. For me, it’s a decision I made before I ever set foot on campus and I have not regretted it since.
Being pre-med requires making certain sacrifices in order to be successful in the dauntingly rigorous prerequisite courses and on the MCAT exam that students must take before medical school. On occasion, I have had to sacrifice sleep, important events, nights out with friends, and more in order to maintain the high grades needed to get into medical school.
But honestly, I would’ve had to sacrifice so much more if I were not pre-med…
If I were not pre-med, I would have had to sacrifice the opportunity to be in some of the most interesting and challenging science classes I have ever been in. I know classes like Organic Chemistry and Molecular Biology do not sound like fun “blow-off” classes and that’s probably because they are not. However, these classes have taught me so much and they have given me the greatest appreciation for science I could have ever imagined. One of the biggest reasons I chose TCU over other schools was because I knew that TCU takes pride in keeping class sizes down to a minimum to encourage an intimate and conducive learning environment. Pre-med students need this in order to do well and master the material before taking the MCAT and before entering med school. At TCU, you are not just a number in a classroom. You are a person who matters.
If I were not pre-med, I would have never gotten the chance to meet some of the most intelligent and thoughtful professors here at TCU. There is not a single professor that I have not liked at TCU. They often know you by name and sincerely want you to do well in their classes. The professors I have met have challenged me, molded me, and, more importantly, have taught me more than I ever thought I was capable of learning. At the beginning of sophomore year, I was offered a research position by my Organic Chemistry teacher to work in his personal research lab. I have worked in his research lab for three semesters now and he has been a very important mentor to me ever since. I have been humbled by the experience of getting to work with such knowledgeable professors and am continuously amazed by how much they are willing to invest in students. For pre-med students, it is vital to really get to know their professors. Medical school applications want recommendation letters and professors can write genuine letters if they know a student on a more personal level. The opportunities for this at TCU are limitless if you are willing to put in the effort.
If I weren’t pre-med, I would have never have become friends with some of the most caring and ambitious people here at TCU. Going through difficult prerequisite classes, late-night study sessions, and MCAT preparation classes automatically bonds you with other pre-med people. We have gone through the same things together and truly understand each other’s lives and passion for wanting to be a part of the medical field. I love the people I have gotten to know in pre-med and am so glad they have been there to make the journey a little bit easier.
Most importantly, if I were not pre-med I would have had to sacrifice my one true dream of becoming a doctor. Having a little sister diagnosed with the life-threatening lung disease, Cystic Fibrosis, has changed my life in many ways. She has inspired me to become a Pediatric Pulmonologist one day and continuously gives me the motivation I need to stay on this difficult journey.
Being a pre-med at TCU has in no way hampered my college experience. If anything, it has enhanced it in a way I never thought imaginable. I am so thankful to be a part of TCU and I am even more thankful to be a part of TCU’s Pre-Health Professions Institute.
Bailey Shepherd is a junior Biology major with minors in Sociology and Chemistry from North Richland Hills, Texas. She is involved in TCU Ambassadors, the John V. Roach Honors College, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and the Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-Health Honors Society.