Blogside Manner: Why PLME?

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Hello! I’m Lulu, a member of the PLME class of 2018/2022, and I am the writer for Blogside Manner. In this column, I will talk about the ins and outs of PLME life at Brown and, of course, the dreaded application process. Whether or not you decide to ultimately apply for PLME, I hope to help provide you with a better sense of what Brown is all about!

Since I am currently dying in midterms and essays, today’s post is going to be a bit on the short side. Amidst everything that I’ve been writing, I realized that I’ve never really written about why exactly I chose to be a PLME, so that is what I will be sharing today. And of course, there will be a few more application tips at the end for all of you that are working on your applications. So, let’s get started!

As I mentioned in the last post, I was more or less sure medicine was what I was going to do even before I got into college, and thus, pre-medical programs were a huge factor for me. I wasn’t having much luck with the other combined medical programs I applied to, so when I was accepted into Washington University in St. Louis, I was sure I was going there since it is known for having one of the best pre-med programs in the nation. To be honest, even after I was accepted into Brown PLME, I was still pretty set on WashU (those Tempurpedic beds, though).

What exactly changed my mind? A Day on College Hill, or ADOCH, the annual pre-frosh visiting party that Brown hosts in April. The first thing I discovered about Brown was that everybody seemed to generally enjoy being at Brown. After attending some of the plethora of events that happened during ADOCH, I also learned that everybody at Brown was incredibly talented and that Brown allowed students to focus in on their talents or learn new ones because of the academic freedom offered. I fell in love with the accepting and noncompetitive atmosphere at Brown, which ultimately swayed me to coming here.

Of course, the PLME acceptance also played a large role. I initially wanted to be extremely well prepared for medical school by having the full pre-med experience, which is why I was leaning more toward WashU. However, I realized that there is an important distinction between being a good medical student and being a good physician, and that is where PLME would prepare me better; PLME allows you to explore subjects that you love so that you can take these experiences and apply them to medicine.

After that realization, PLME was more or less the obvious choice; the combination of a friendly atmosphere and freedom to find personal achievement was perfect for me. Now enough about me, here are the few tips I can think of for all of you prospective PLMEs:

  1. Take advantage of your resources.

Even if you don’t have a private counselor to help you with the college process, there are loads of resources available if you look close enough. First and foremost, your teachers are a great place for help! Most are very willing to help if you ask nicely, and they can turn out to be some of your greatest advisors. Another person I found incredibly helpful was my school counselor; these people are very used to dealing with college admissions and can sometimes be that last bit of support you need to get through to a college. Finally, look around on the Brown and PLME websites! The Bruin Club has a subgroup that manages question from prospective students, and PLME also does a similar thing, so ask away!

  1. Let the process be natural.

There is still plenty of time until the regular decision deadline, so don’t stress if you can’t get anything good on paper. However, do be thinking about what you can write as much as possible so that you’ll be more likely to have that epiphany moment. Remember, this is an essay, not a test, meaning feel free to brainstorm with others! As Newton said, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

  1. Let your voice shine.

And, as much as you probably hate being told this, actually be yourself. I’m not discrediting a nice white lie to spice things up here and there, but don’t make up a completely new character to compensate for whatever you feel like you are lacking. You’re all genuinely interesting people; so let that show in your essay! This is also a note of caution; while it is always nice to have someone edit your essays or give you ideas of what else you can add, make sure that the essay still sounds like “you” in the end.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Email me at can_cao@brown.edu or comment below! I’ll make sure to respond as soon as I can!

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