Blogside Manner: Midterm Madness

Hi friends! I’m Samuel Cai, and I’m blogger for Blogside Manner and Office Hour. For Blogside Manner, I discuss what it’s like to be a Pre-med student at the best university in the world!

There’s premed tracks at universities all over the US. There are exams for all these classes at all universities. But Brown’s different.

Premed is hard. Premed is a lot of very difficult science classes in which GPA is an incredibly important factor in applying to medical school. There are only 125 allopathic medical schools in the US, and, at some point, all premed students realize that not all of them will make it.

It’s a scary mentality, to think that you’re competing against your fellow students to make it to a coveted spot in medical school. When classes are graded on a curve, it is even easier to envision your fellow students as your competition. But this cutthroat mentality that plagues premed students at other universities doesn’t permeate here at Brown.

I just took my first Chem 330 midterm. Chem 330 is the first premed class most premed students are taking, the first major weed out. The class is curved, and the exam is not easy. It is easy to imagine that students will fend for themselves, not trying to beat this test, but rather beat each other. Yet there I was sitting in GPS: Group problem solving, where my fellow students, my competition to get into medical school, were helping me understand the nuances of enthalpy and entropy. Back in my dorm, there I was again studying with a group of fellow premed-ers, trying to understand practice problems together. The curve was only mentioned favorably, as a way to bring up everyone’s grades; the competition was not mentioned at all. Brown has built such a strong sense of unity within its school and within its premed program. At Brown, even during midterm season, it’s not students against each other; it’s students working together.

So maybe we won’t all become doctors, but that doesn’t have to drive us apart. We congratulate those who make it; we mourn those who don’t. But whatever it is, we do it together. That is what Brown premed is all about, and I’m so thankful to be here.

Have any questions or any topics you’d like to see covered on Blogside Manner? Send me an email at samuel_cai@brown.edu!

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