Blogside Manner: Doing the Xtras with PLME

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Hey there! I’m Catherine, a member of the Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME) class of 2019/2023. I’ll be posting updates about the Program, the grueling application process, and my life as a Brown student in PLME. Hopefully, I can give some insight into the Brown experience, and see some prospective students on campus in the coming years!

Sorry I have been MIA for a couple of weeks. I sustained a concussion in practice and have been staying away from screens and out of class and out of life in general. But, now I’m back!

Late November is a weird limbo time for college applications. Early Decision is largely done unless you are applying EDII which I know nothing about. Regular Decision is far enough away that you don’t really have to think about it over Thanksgiving break, you can chill for a bit.

Take this as permission to procrastinate and do senior year type things. Also, I can’t think of anything application related at the moment since my mind is on stuffing, cooking, and seeing family. So, lets talk about something  fresher in my mind.

When I was applying to PLME, I was concerned about extracurriculars. After getting in I was deciding if I still wanted to do varsity Track & Field. When I meet with the coach, my main concern was how could I take pre med courses while devoting significant amounts of time to practice and all the other sport related requirements. At the time taking Engineering and Gen Chem II while committing to daily practice did not seem feasible.

What I realize now is that in college there is A LOT of free time. On the average day, I don’t have more than two hours of actually class. Labs and seminars are a different story, but even then it usually isn’t more than six hours of class. You can also choose to have as many class hours as you want since professors rarely take attendance. I have friends with zero class hours every day. I wouldn’t recommend, but you do you.

I found the hardest thing about adjusting to college was figuring out how to fill this ridiculous amount of free time. So doing a time consuming extracurricular like varsity Rugby was very appealing. Even with a sport and multiple STEM classes there is plenty of time to have your cake and eat it too. As long as you manage your time and keep a reasonable schedule, there is time for self care, academics, downtime, and fun.

I would say, pick two or three extracurriculars that can be completely unrelated. If possible, only do the things that are enjoyable and add value to your life. I find it is a million times harder to do things I am not invested in in college than in high school; “senoritis” becomes a state of being rather than a phase.

If there happens to be an overly hectic week where you become quadruple booked or something, most organizations are amazingly understanding. For example, with my concussion, coaches, club leaders, and professors were unbelievably accommodating when recovery took longer than expected.

At the end of the day, accountability will be up to you. It’s not like high school where attendance is taken all the time and you see the same people every day. You pretty much get to choose how often you show up, how much you participate, and, literally, who sees you.

Overall, it is very possible to do as many activities (or as few activities, though it is frowned upon by the PLME Deans) as you want outside the classroom (if you go to class). And, PLME makes it easier for you to do what you want when you want because so much of the pre med pressure is lifted.

That’s about all I have to say for now, but check out this gem from a little back in the day. Have a Happy Thanksgiving if you celebrate it! If not, have an awesome week!

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Funny Gifs? Rugby Jokes? Cool New Music? Email me at catherine_nacier@brown.edu or comment below! I’ll try to respond as soon as I can!

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