One of the most surprising myths that was debunked in Joyce’s/the panels’ lecture was that you can’t be successful if you get a C or fail and retake a class. Although it’s not the goal to get a C, I know feel more comfortable with knowing that if I were to get a C in a class I wouldn’t be unsuccessful.
With a tentative plan of going to med/grad school, the difficult classes that go along with this path was really daunting. However, seeing people who have overcome hard times in classes like orgo or even french be really successful in grad school and the real world was very uplifting.
Another really helpful thing I got from lecture was that your major really doesn’t matter. Beforehand, I planned on majoring in biochemistry or neuroscience because it matched up well with the premed prerequisites. However, after talking to Joyce and hearing this lecture, I am more comfortable in majoring in a more social science: psychology.
Going forward after this lecture, I feel more confident and less stressed out about just my grades. I know now to pursue what I want and am passionate in.
One thing that surprised me during this weeks panel discussion was the fact that receiving a c in a class will not break you. I don’t know if anyone else was shocked by that statement, but I was. I was shocked because as a kid I was always told that a c is a d and that a b is a c, so you are only allowed to bring home an a. Lets just say after talking to my father that rule in our house hold has since dropped, since I’m now that I’m at the University of Michigan. I will try to be a little more lenient on myself when it comes to grades especially if I know that I’m doing all that I can. Another thing that I found to be a revaluation was the idea of taking a gap year. While in high school I couldn’t image taking time off. Yet, now that I’m here at college I understand why a little break can be needed. Have you ever felted like your trying to accomplish a dream that’s not your own? I have when it comes to becoming a doctor just as some of the panel members stated.
The thing that surprised me the most was that even with a C on your transcript you have a chance of making it to medical school or that even if you’ve failed a class you can get admitted into the School of Public Health. So in general, that med school admissions are not just about your grades.
In the past couple of months I’ve had the chance to talk to the one or other pre-med/BME major. A hard path, as everyone keeps reminding me, that’s even harder on your grades. It’s generally known that engineering students don’t have the greatest GPA’s, which is fine if you plan on working in the engineering field. If you, however, plan on attending medical school having a good GPA is very important. Or at least that’s what I thought. Some of the people I’ve talked to are thinking of transferring out of engineering into the college of LS&A because they think that having a good GPA is worth more than majoring in something that truly interests them. I felt anxious when having such a conversation. Was I doing the right thing, staying in engineering and pursuing a degree that might make me a less competitive applicant for medical school?
After listening to the talks last Thursday I feel a lot more confident in what I’m doing. What a medical school wants to see is that you’re passionate. I feel like medical schools have finally realized that students with straight A’s might not be the people that make the best health professionals. It’s the people that are passionate about what they’re doing and that care about their communities that make good health professionals. A holistic approach to admissions allows schools to admit students based on the values that they think make for a good health professional.
What do you think makes a good health professional? How could you try and show that you have some of those traits that you thought about for the first question?
Some of my best memories from growing up are from playing soccer. Soccer was so important to me, and I put a ton of pressure on myself to play well. On days when I did not, it could be challenging to deal with the frustration and anger that comes along with failure. In high school, I had a coach who, every year on try-out day, would say, “I care more about how you respond to your mistakes than your mistakes themselves.” In other words, he found that the best players were the ones who would fight to get the ball back as hard as they could if they lost it.
I was reminded of my coach’s words during the Pre-Health Panel when Lynette Wynn spoke about her experiences with failure. Like the rest of the speakers on the panel, Lynette mentioned that she had received an undesirable grade in an important class during her time as an undergrad at U of M. However, the perspective that she shared about this failure was very inspiring: failure gives you a unique opportunity to respond. These were just the words I needed to hear that night — the blood battle that was the second general chemistry midterm was still fresh in my mind. When I get back the score, I will be presented with a unique opportunity, and how I respond to it will be a great factor in how I do on the final exam. I can sit back and accept my doom that the final will be equally impossible, or I can work twice as hard to do better. No matter how I do on the final exam, I would rather be able to say that I couldn’t have studied harder for it, than to regret not doing more. I hope that this is a lesson that I will take with me not only through the rest of the classes I will take here as an undergrad, but one that I can apply to every goal I want to achieve in life.
My questions for you all: how much impact can a positive perspective have on the goals you wish to achieve? How has failure shaped the person that you are today?
When I came to the University of Michigan, I did not really know what to expect. I went to a small private school with a graduating class of 16. Because my school was so small, there were no advanced classes for me to take in high school. I knew that I would be challenged throughout my time at Michigan but I did not know what that would look like since I was never challenged in high school. After I started my first semester, I started feeling discouraged. I knew I wanted to go to medical school after college but I did not think that would be possible if I did not do exceptionally well during my first semester.
During the panel in last Thursday’s lecture, I learned that even if I were to fail a class I could still be able to go to medical school. I had already heard that medical schools practice holistic review but I didn’t really believe it. It was very refreshing to hear that some of the graduates that were on the panel had either failed a class or received a poor grade and were still able to be successful. However, it is important to make sure that you are able to learn something from your failures and move on.
Looking towards the future, I know that I will be challenged in many ways along my journey. I hope to be able to find things that I am passionate about to study and to be involved in, instead of trying to make myself into a perfect, cookie-cutter medical school applicant with perfect grades and MCAT score. My question to you, my fellow HSSPer, is “what are you passionate about and how do you plan on being successful at Michigan outside of the classroom?”
One idea that surprised me during Joyce’s presentation/the panel was how you don’t need to be perfect. Obviously, you want to do well but it was comforting to know that a couple mistakes along the way won’t be the end of your pursuit to whatever you want to do. Your grades and GPA are just numbers.
For me personally, I think it will be hard to fully realize this. To me, grades and GPA were incredibly important throughout high school and the idea that “you need good grades and a good GPA to be admitted into the school you want to go to” was drilled into my head. I felt that good grades and GPA were the first “checkpoint” admission offices look at before they decide if they should look further at your profile and look at your extracurricular activities or essays. It was so eye-opening to hear the panel of the graduates tell us that they have failed and retaken classes but were still able to go on and be successful in graduate school, regardless of what they went to graduate school for. This was so comforting to hear especially with final exams coming up in the next couple of weeks.
My questions to you: What would be the outcome IF grades and GPA were all schools (undergraduate and graduate) looked at? How has holistic review changed the admissions process for the better?
Failure is bad. It means you failed to achieve your goals, and society does not tolerate failure. Now as college students, failure is detrimental to our plans to become healthcare professionals. However, listening to the stories of past HSSP members, I realized I was wrong.
One of my favorite messages that I got out of this lecture was that failure isn’t always bad; it is only bad if you let it be bad. Many students come to the University of Michigan with plans to become doctors, nurses, engineers, writers, musicians, and many more, and some of them are scared to venture out of their comfort zone to explore classes or events that they are unfamiliar with, including myself. Reginald Hammond’s pre-health myth: “You are a failure if you do not stick to the plan that you had prior to attending college” surprised me because it is sometimes very hard for someone to change paths after they have decided on their goals. However, Reginald’s advice made me become aware of the fact it is vital that we give ourselves time to sit back, reflect on our personal experiences, and ask: do you like what you are doing, are you happy with where you are?
This taught me that life is not always going to go my way, but I have to deal with whatever is thrown my way: good or bad. I need to make sure that I have meaningful experiences during my college and pre-health journey. I won’t join a club just because my resume will look better. I won’t be afraid to change my ways if I feel that I am not happy with my experiences. I will be brave and take risks to achieve what I am most passionate about and make my life rich with valuable experiences where I can one day look back on and not regret.
These were significant messages that I got out of the lecture. What were yours?
There are two conflicting stories everyone always hear. One, is that grades matter. Good grades and test scores are what impress colleges and employers and anything less than the best is not good enough. And then the second is that grades aren’t everything, happiness and satisfaction with your work is the main priority. However, the latter is much harder to believe, especially in a university culture where there always seems to be competition to be the best, to be the most involved in extracurriculars, and to have everything figured out. But in Joyce’s presentation and the panel of graduate students, it was shocking to hear that the majority of them had failed or almost failed a class, retaken the class, and still did poorly in it, but they still had success in their post-undergraduate pursuits. The personal stories they shared on their failures were incredibly reassuring, in my opinion, because it showed that it is okay to fall short of success sometimes and it what you do after the failure that has the biggest influence on your life.
I believe that this lesson is incredibly important to hold onto throughout college and into our careers. Nobody plans to fail, but when it happens, there are two things you can do: let it consume you, or let the failure teach you perseverance. In order to accept failure, I am going to have to let myself trust that things will work out, even if they are not what I had planned.
The experiences the panel shared really emphasized the truth that grades, test scores, and GPAs are just letters and numbers, they are not indicative of the work ethic, personality, or character of the person, which is what schools and employers are interested in. While I do think good grades still do matter and should be strived for, I’ve learned that grades do not have to control your life and that failure should not be something to be ashamed of, but rather learned from.
How have your thoughts on failure changed after this panel discussion, and how do you think it is going to influence your perspective throughout college/your career? Do you think the consequences of failure are the same for everyone, or was it just pure luck that all the graduate students had everything work out, despite their failures?
What surprised me most about Joyce’s presentation was when the panel advised us to do what we are passionate about and asked us about our motivations for doing what we are doing. This struck me because I had to ask myself something very important: have I just convinced myself that I want to be a dentist or do I want to be a dentist because I genuinely love the career? I would be lying if I said that this thought has never occurred to me, but it was only during the panel when I actually seriously thought about this question.
After some pondering, these are my conclusions: first, everything I do and want to do is based on the foundation of the love of helping people. Second, I want to be able to help people through healthcare in a way that allows me to have a one-on-one relationship with them. I realized that the reason I chose dentistry was because it conveniently satisfied all the conditions. Of course, I am still interested in it, and I enjoyed my observation with the dental students, but that is only a snippet of my journey to dentistry. Therefore, I have to keep moving forward with dentistry to see if it is truly my passion, which I must admit is frightening.
In the end, this reevaluation is good for me. Now that I am fully aware that dentistry may or may not be the final destination, I can plan ahead and be prepared. I need to be open, open to explore different classes UM has to offer. I plan to dabble in classes that I am less knowledgeable about such as public health, women’s studies, and social change. Maybe these classes will lead me to discover what I am really passionate about, or maybe these classes will lead me to pursue dentistry even harder.
Let me leave you with this question: have you done your own reevaluation of your future?
Coming into college we all have our own perception of what is going to be expected of us and how we are going to achieve our goals. Now that we are here, we realize that college is not what any of us assumed it would be. Though we work our tails off and study into the ungodly hours of the night, we are still exposed time and time again to failure. One of the biggest take aways that I got from lecture last week was not to be too hard on myself.
Though none of the panelist directly stated this, they inferred it through numerous responses. for example, many of them explained that grades aren’t everything. One of the lies that I am currently held captive by. They said that it’s more about a holistic approach now but if I don’t get an ‘A’ then I really don’t feel successful, so this made me wonder, am I being too hard on myself?
Another very interesting point that was brought up was a gap year. I never wanted to take a gap year, that was for individuals who didn’t know what they wanted in life, the ones who didn’t have it all together… or so I thought. I thought going through undergrad and straight to my masters would be the only way to achieve what I wanted. I know that this is yet another lie that had control over me, and I can’t be too hard on myself if I need some time to regroup.
After listening to the panel, do you feel like you are too hard on yourself? What made you realize that there might be a different path you could take through school?