I was a first generation college student. So what did that mean? To me, it meant treading unknown territories on my own. My parents didn't go to college, in fact they didn't even finish high school. So any questions I had about what I need to do in college, how to get into medical school, what clubs should I join, what extracurricular activities should I take part in, couldn't be answered by my parents. In the beginning, I was terrified that I was going to have to go about this alone.
I remember going to the pre-med advisor at my university and one of the things that she emphasized the most was the idea of "networking" (I hope you liked that cartoon network joke...no? oh I'm just weird...moving on)
As someone who loved to be independent, I initially brushed that idea aside. I thought "I can do this and figure it out on my own"
While that thought may have been true, it also meant making things so much harder on myself than it should be. If you are a first-generation student or if you are the first in your family to pursue a certain career path, then let me tell you, networking is SO important (at least in my opinion).
The bonds and relationships that I started to build with my professors led me to advisors and supervisors that I would end up working and traveling with representing my college in surrounding states. From that opportunity, I was invited to join different clubs and be apart of various organizations. A lot of the clubs and organizations I was apart of resulted in volunteer trips that ended up playing a large role in my med school application. Through the volunteer work, I was able to find shadowing opportunities as a triager, in the OR, and the ER. I was able to form close bonds with some physicians who motivated me and helped boost my own confidence.
Do you see the pattern here?
Through networking, everything seems to build on one another and the pieces just seem to fall in place.
Networking opened so many doors for me that I never could have imagined when I started college. So as someone who has been there and done that, utilize your professors and peers and get to networking! You may find that some just don't work out, but don't let that discourage you. You will find that path that just feels like you're speeding right through everything if you don't allow yourself to give up with the first bad outcome.