Nickel and Dimed: Just as Relevant as 15 Years Ago

Though reading novels was one of my major hobbies in high school, I have since been slacking off because of the immense course work and reading that is required for my courses. Luckily, the sociology course that I am currently taking assigned me a book to read: Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich. The books that I have been assigned to read in previous classes have usually been less than thrilling. So, I was happily surprised to find that this book was one of the best I have read in a long time.

In an eye opening under cover journalistic exploration of minimum wage workers and their quality of life, Barbara Ehrenreich illuminates the countless challenges encountered by the working poor. In the many different settings that she attempted to become a minimum worker, she shed light on the living conditions that the working poor are subjected to, the social structure in the work environments, and many other facets of daily living.  I found this book to be very educational and really demonstrate that what is currently defined as the poverty line is unacceptable.

In my personal life, I volunteer with many people who are in very similar situations to these. I volunteer with an organization that goes around to various places in the community and provides personalized resource recommendations to community members based on their needs. I have seen many people in cases similar to this one, as well as those who are unemployed. All in all, I found this book so rewarding because, though I cannot ever truly understand what it is like to live the life of the people whom I serve, it allows me to come close to understanding them, and hopefully, allows me to better serve them.

Women in Medicine Mentoring Event

As a pre-medicine student, there is a lot of ambiguous advice given to students. This ambiguity likely stems from the numerous paths that many take on their route to medical school. Unfortunately, there is no perfect formula for what you need to accomplish as an undergraduate to gain admission to the medical school of your choosing. The are baseline recommendations in various presentations that I have attended on the subject, such as getting clinical experiences and participating in undergraduate research.

Recently, I attended a mentoring event put on by the college of medicine for undergraduate females to be matched with a M1 mentor. I found this particular event for pre-medicine undergraduates to be the most meaningful, because I had the opportunity to speak with a real person who just went through this process. I found my mentor was very nice and helpful. She advised me on a good time to take the MCAT, how to go about finding doctors to shadow, and gave me her information for any future questions. I am so grateful to the college of medicine for setting up such a support system for female undergraduate pre-medicine students.

About Evie

Aspiring physician Evie Goodyear is pursuing a major in Biology and minor in Statistics in the Honors Program at The Ohio State University. She is a Maximus Scholar and has been on the Dean’s list for both semesters that she has attended The Ohio State University. As a future doctor, Evie has investigated her medical interests through shadowing physicians in various specialties, such as Anesthesia, Emergency Medicine, Orthopedics and Ophthalmology. In addition, Evie has pursued clinical volunteering, during which she broadened her experience with different types of patient care. She volunteered with Heartland Hospice, Bethesda North Hospital, and the Red Cross. As an intellectual, Evie has pursued her scientific curiosity through her involvement with two different research labs. As a freshman, Evie worked as an undergraduate researcher in a Breast Cancer lab. She is currently working in a Molecular Genetics lab that, among many things, investigates the regulation of the cytokinesis of the yeast Schizosaccharomyces Pombe. Evie aspires to continue working in this particular lab throughout her career as an undergraduate. Please feel free to contact Evie with any questions.

 

Undergraduate Research: Learning in a New Way

Over the course of my undergraduate career, I have taken about 50 credit hours at Ohio State. While the coursework of those classes has varied, the general process of learning in each of these courses was about the same. We show up at a predetermined time each week, and we are lectured on material that we will be expected to retain for a later exam. In this setting, it can be hard to separate the desire to learn and gain knowledge from the desire to receive a good grade on a test. While both of these work hand in hand, there is certainly always a level of desire to learn the material for the grade that will be received on the exam. Not only does this pattern of learning exist in college, but it has been drilled into most students since elementary school.

For two semesters now, I have taken credit hours for undergraduate research. The amount of credit hours that I take will correspond to a certain number of hours that I will be required to come in to lab each week. Currently, I spend twelve hours each week in my molecular genetics lab. I have learned multiple procedures that I perform on a weekly basis. For the first time in my life, I am in an academic environment where I will not later be tested on the material that I learn. It would be very easy to just follow the procedures that are printed out for me without understanding what is happening. However, I always find myself asking the question: “why?”. My mentor and the other lab members are always more than happy to teach me, but I find that without asking these questions, I would have just gone on with the process without really even knowing what I was doing. This process has taught me the importance of asking questions and being responsible for my own learning. After all, if I do not want to learn, then who will want to teach me? Because of this, undergraduate research fosters a very active type of learning. I feel that by being exposed to this, I have become a better learner and hope to continue to develop this trait.

 

From Interviewee to Interviewer: A Change in Perspective

As a pre-medicine undergraduate, I feel as though I am constantly interviewing for one position or another. Whether it be a new research position or a competitive volunteer opportunity, I have had my fair share of interviews. While some of these interviews have gone markedly better than others, the major feeling that I experienced during the interviews was always the same: nervous. Why? In most cases, my prior experience held me up as a viable candidate. I always prepared for my interviews, equipping myself with the background knowledge required to not only know what I was getting in to, but to be able to speak intelligently on any topic that could potentially be thrown my way. After all, the only reason for an interview is to advocate for yourself as the the best, and most qualified, person for a job. Obviously, the best way to perform this feat is confidently and professionally. However, I often found that my nerves impeded my capacity to advocate for myself to the best of my ability.

Throughout my freshman year, I developed a passion for public health that was cultivated by my joining of a club called ENCompass: Empowering Neighborhoods of Columbus. As a member of the executive board of the club, I was recently recruited to help with multiple interviews for the upcoming application cycle. While I am currently finishing up the process of interviewing potential members, it is very worthwhile to reflect on the difference between being the interviewee and being the person that conducts the interview. During my first interview, I found myself silently laughing when I realized that I was just as nervous as the person who I was interviewing. I asked all the standard questions, she provided a myriad of well thought out answers and we both went on our way. It is funny to think that she clearly spent a lot of time filling out an application, reading our website, and preparing for the interview to sit down with me and my co-interviewer. After all, we were all undergraduates, we were all just people. I realized that this idea was so lost on me when I interview. While maintaining professionalism is clearly important in any interview setting, it is also important to keep in mind that the person who is interviewing you is also human. The person you are interviewing with also goes home at the end of the day and lives their respective life. Most times when interviewing, there will be an experience gap, age gap, or some sort of difference that qualifies one person to be the interviewer and one to be the interviewee; however, it is important to not get lost on this gap. The reason for the interview is to advocate for yourself as a professional, and there is no reason to get lost in nerves when, after all, both you and the interviewer are one in the same: just people. From the best way to begin any interview to maintaining the right amount of eye contact, I have learned so many other practical things that I will apply in future interviews of my own. However, I have to maintain that the most helpful thing I that have drawn from this process is an increased comfort in an interview setting.