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18 days

August 4th, 2013  |  Published in Life

Everything I need for my postbac this year

I cannot believe that in a little more than two weeks I will take my first graduate-level science class. I am sure if I wasn’t heading into a postbac program to remediate poor academic performance I would be feeling more optimistic and excited. But then again I have a smart friend who is starting medical school in the Fall and she was feeling a little worried about medical school as well and she did do well in school. Maybe this is just a universal worry.

This weekend was a sales tax holiday in Virginia so I took full advantage of this and bought school supplies. My bounty, as you can see above, isn’t massive but has the essentials that I’ve realized I need after four years of college. Gone are the days when I could go crazy buying anything that looked cute or like a good organizational system. I’ve realized I hate expanding accordion folders, binders larger than about 1-1.5 inches, retracting ballpoint pens, writing in blue ink, and making flashcards.

The school supplies I do love:

  • Sharpie 10-count highlighters (10 amazing colors and these lasted me for 2 years; I highlight sparingly)
  • Bic grip pens (only these ones, not the crystal ones or the solid black ones)
  • Plastic file folders with 2-pockets and prongs (prongs are awesome for the syllabus and other go-to items)
  • Composition note books (you can read why I prefer these over spiral notebooks: here)
  • College ruled notebook paper
  • 1″ binders: planning to use these for the massive course packets given in my classes

I’m also very weird about color coordination. Each class receives its own color and all of the supplies (folder/notebook/binder) for that class must be the same color (although I’m not so neurotic to necessitate they have the same shade.) But that’s that! With these few supplies I feel prepared for class. One semester I forgot to buy notebook paper before school began and that was the most awkward first day of school ever. The shopping experience was uneventful. But, OfficeMax is overpriced and Target didn’t carry my favorite pens and had run out of college-ruled notebook paper.

Besides that I’m struggling to get on the ball studying before school starts. I have my first volunteer stint at the free clinic tomorrow and I’m also expected to produce a video for Khan Academy during the next 10 days. I’m nervous about the Khan Academy video because the tablet I bought (one recommended by them!) has serious issues with my laptop and really screws up the quality of my videos. Not sure how I’m going to fix that problem. I’m hoping that my note-taking will progress more quickly now that I am using my composition notebooks. Writing equations in OneNote was a complete disaster since I don’t have a tablet PC.

I tried to find some inspiring data about the matriculation rates of re-applicants but failed to find any from AMCAS. However, University of Miami suggests that data about applicants to their school shows that reapplicants have less success than first-time applicants in receiving admission to medical school. They also offer some great tips on reapplying. I already know that the cards are stacked against me which is motivation enough to get a head start on studying. I still have yet to make great progress on my goal to read the entire physiology book (464 pages) before school starts.

Overall, I need to find a way to stand out by earning an awesome GPA, continuing the clinical volunteering which begins tomorrow, engaging with physicians during clinical rotations, and chatting up my professors for a lovely recommendation letter at the end of the program. I can’t believe that this time next year I will hopefully be finishing secondary essays and be eagerly waiting for an interview!


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