Tip #8 Building Relationships

So it’s fourth week. And I now find myself with 2 days to make final decisions about add/drop class and grading options. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a minor freak out yesterday. I have quite an interesting schedule this quarter… endocrinology, molecular biology, historical archeology, and politial psychology. Endocrinology is going to be hard, I’ve accepted that, my teacher is an MD who taught at the med school, I get what he expects from us. Historical archeology is a seminar, so I’m hoping that since 45% of the grade is based on participation, I shouldn’t have any problems.

The issues lie with my Poli and Mol Bio classes. Day 1 Poli the professor said this is one of the hardest Poli classes at UCSD. Hmmm not my favorite thing to hear as a bio major. In theory, I could take it pass/no pass, but I actually like the class, and I want to work hard. I  taking a P/NP gives you the ability to focus on your other classes and still get credit for doing nothing in that class, so actually caring and putting in effort defeats the point. Then there is Mol Bio. I cannot understand the professor, she doesn’t hold my attention in lectures, she assigns incorrect reading so I can’t even teach myself in the book, she doesn’t curve the class so it’s a rote memorization nightmare. Basically 3 weeks in and I’ve learned close to nothing. A combination of her inability to teach effectively, and my frustration.

So what do I do now? Drop Mol Bio? Put that puts me with only 3 classes and med schools wont like that I’m “not working hard” or take a P/NP in Poli, but I would have to convince myself to direct some of my efforts from that class to Mol Bio or another subject? Or stick with Mol Bio, and take the chance of not doing well in the class?

For me, my decision hinges on how med schools will view my decisions. I’m only concerned with this quarter because I know I won’t want to take 4 challenging classes every quarter of my senior year and I refuse to let my desire to ensure a “fun” senior year shine unfavorably in the eyes of admissions committees…

So with 38 hours to change grading options, I set out to consult anyone I know that has med school knowledge….

This is why building relationships is important. Or, I should say, one reason why building relationships is important. I e-mailed my Ochem professor right away. I knew he had some background in med school apps, and I figured he could give me some advice. I also know a med student that is always available to answer my questions to the best of his ability. Having reliable people, whose opinions you respect and more importantly whose advice is valuable is critical. You never know when you might need an on-the-spot question answered (even if your question is dumb…). Furthermore, hopefully these relationships you build, whether it be a professor, TA, employer, advisor can probably write you a pretty good letter of rec in the long run. Either way, as I’ve said before, get to know and build a friendship with every one you can because people are cool. They have led interesting lives and have the stories to prove it. Life is short, why not make it a little bit bigger by sharing the experiences of others?


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