May 15, 2020
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Hello everyone,

I hope you are all doing well and taking care of yourselves! I recently graduated from high school and have been incredibly interested in pursuing a career in psychiatry; I've been doing a ton of research on the application process and extracurriculars. Before signing myself up for research assistantships and clinical volunteering, I wanted to get a feel of how my first semester of college is going to play out (please reassure that this is okay, lol) as I am taking fifteen units.

As a Biology major, I'll be taking ...
- General Chemistry I (5 units)
- Organismal Biology (5 units)
- Calculus/Analytical Geometry I (5 units)

I have classes scheduled Monday-Friday and have been admitted into a Bio/Chem Scholars program that will provide weekly tutoring on top of acting as a channel for networking. My main concern right now is whether or not I am going to die for lack of a better word. I personally do not have too many friends let alone any that are new pre-med, so I was hoping to hear anything from you all, if possible. What has been keeping me sane is that I have been using this summer to prepare myself for these courses, learn new study methods such as active recall, spaced repetition (I've been using Anki!), and Cornell notes. I have been using Notion as a way to track and organize my academia and have found it to be incredibly useful. Essentially, these have been a security factor in my mind but I was wondering if there is anything I should know before starting my undergraduate studies as I sincerely would like to start college on a good note.

Thank you so much ... Nothing but hope, excitement, and productivity! :)

P.S. I should mention that I will be attending community college for two years before transferring to UC Santa Barbara
 

squids82

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Block off time to relax/do fun stuff

Other than that, you should be fine with 3 classes. Look for opportunities to get involved earlier than second semester if you adjust well as sooner is better than later
 
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Find your study routine early. I fell into the trap during undergrad of trying to adopt people’s study techniques. Try different things but once one or two things work (Anki, Cornell notes, drawings) stick to it.

Sign up for a gym membership, get plenty of sleep, and eat as healthy as you can. It gets harder and harder to maintain good habits as you progress so lock them down early!
 
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May 19, 2020
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Don't forget to take fun classes as you can.

It's not always possible, but I usually recommend my advisee's spread out their courses to different "modalities" between quantitative, theoretical, creative, writing focused, etc. It helps to keep you from burning out to some degree.

Also, go chat with your professors. Most of us are friendly, don't bite, and enjoy getting to know you. This is usually especially true at CC's, as most faculty there have explicitly chosen a student centered/teaching focused path. There are some dinguses, just like in every field, so if you hit one try to brush it off and don't let it get you down.

Everyone has different study styles, but one thing I wished more students would do is actually read the advice I give them on the first day of class about how to effectively study for my courses. Lots of students ignore it, blow it off, and then when we chat later in the semester give it a try and start doing a lot better.
 
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May 15, 2020
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Don't forget to take fun classes as you can.

It's not always possible, but I usually recommend my advisee's spread out their courses to different "modalities" between quantitative, theoretical, creative, writing focused, etc. It helps to keep you from burning out to some degree.

Also, go chat with your professors. Most of us are friendly, don't bite, and enjoy getting to know you. This is usually especially true at CC's, as most faculty there have explicitly chosen a student centered/teaching focused path. There are some dinguses, just like in every field, so if you hit one try to brush it off and don't let it get you down.

Everyone has different study styles, but one thing I wished more students would do is actually read the advice I give them on the first day of class about how to effectively study for my courses. Lots of students ignore it, blow it off, and then when we chat later in the semester give it a try and start doing a lot better.
I’m really glad you shared this! My first semester is already registered, but I do plan on ensuring that my future schedules will have a healthy combo of logical and creative courses. I will definitely reach out to my professors during their OH and get to know them! This was incredibly nice to learn and has gotten me excited for my undergraduate studies :) Thank you!
 
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Nov 10, 2019
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I know how easy it is to devote your entire life to achieving this amazing goal we all have. But college is the time to have fun, volunteer and get involved when you're ready. I certainly wasn't ready for more responsibility as I struggled through freshman year. Make friends, go party, live life, make mistakes. Med schools will forgive you for not being a cookie cutter premed for a semester, I promise!
 
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Jul 3, 2020
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Definitely enjoy your first year. Go to parties and make friends and memories. I had a horribly busy first semester my freshman year, but still somehow made time for these things. Looking back, I have no idea how I did it all (probably a lot of all nighters pulled with friends), but it's moments like these that make your college years.

With a lot of schools, gen chem/bio are used for weeding out students. Sometimes your professors suck at teaching, sometimes their teaching style vibes with your learning style. Either way, figure out how your brain works and stick with it. Good luck :)
 
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May 15, 2020
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I appreciate the replies so much! It sounds like my primary focus should be on figuring out a solid balance between my academics and social life. Make the most out of my time as a freshman and cherish it while it lasts ...
 
May 23, 2020
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My greatest advice, beyond what others have stated, is to make sure your study time is efficient. The environment you choose to study in is pretty critical. So if you are going to have fun the go have fun, if you are going to study then maybe choose the library > the dorm.
 
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May 15, 2020
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My greatest advice, beyond what others have stated, is to make sure your study time is efficient. The environment you choose to study in is pretty critical. So if you are going to have fun the go have fun, if you are going to study then maybe choose the library > the dorm.
Yess! Thank you so much. On top of this advice, do any of you have any specific suggestions on how to balance a lot of units with your social life?
 
May 19, 2020
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Yess! Thank you so much. On top of this advice, do any of you have any specific suggestions on how to balance a lot of units with your social life?

Plan your study time, and stick to your plan. For most subjects, but especially science, regular distributed practice is key to good performance. As is finding what works for you in studying efficiently. One thing I find is that a lot of my students study hard, but inefficiently: they spend lots of time reading, and relatively little time practicing/working problems.

A fantastic overview paper by John Dunlosky (a psychologist who focuses on learning) can be found below:

It's a more "reader friendly" summary of a lot of research in the field on what techniques for studying tend to result in high retention relative to the time they take. When I get my students to self-assess, many of them find they rely heavily on strategies that might be less useful, or at least take a lot more time to get results.

The other thing I strongly suggest is to "plan" your social and personal time. Know what is important in your week (sleep time, time alone, time with close friends, etc.) and make sure you get at least some of that. Then your work can fit around the things you need to stay healthy and balanced.
 
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May 15, 2020
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Plan your study time, and stick to your plan. For most subjects, but especially science, regular distributed practice is key to good performance. As is finding what works for you in studying efficiently. One thing I find is that a lot of my students study hard, but inefficiently: they spend lots of time reading, and relatively little time practicing/working problems.

A fantastic overview paper by John Dunlosky (a psychologist who focuses on learning) can be found below:

It's a more "reader friendly" summary of a lot of research in the field on what techniques for studying tend to result in high retention relative to the time they take. When I get my students to self-assess, many of them find they rely heavily on strategies that might be less useful, or at least take a lot more time to get results.

The other thing I strongly suggest is to "plan" your social and personal time. Know what is important in your week (sleep time, time alone, time with close friends, etc.) and make sure you get at least some of that. Then your work can fit around the things you need to stay healthy and balanced.
I really appreciate your advice and linked paper. I'll make sure to give it a read tonight! :)
 
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deleted804295

Hello everyone,

I hope you are all doing well and taking care of yourselves! I recently graduated from high school and have been incredibly interested in pursuing a career in psychiatry; I've been doing a ton of research on the application process and extracurriculars. Before signing myself up for research assistantships and clinical volunteering, I wanted to get a feel of how my first semester of college is going to play out (please reassure that this is okay, lol) as I am taking fifteen units.

As a Biology major, I'll be taking ...
- General Chemistry I (5 units)
- Organismal Biology (5 units)
- Calculus/Analytical Geometry I (5 units)

I have classes scheduled Monday-Friday and have been admitted into a Bio/Chem Scholars program that will provide weekly tutoring on top of acting as a channel for networking. My main concern right now is whether or not I am going to die for lack of a better word. I personally do not have too many friends let alone any that are new pre-med, so I was hoping to hear anything from you all, if possible. What has been keeping me sane is that I have been using this summer to prepare myself for these courses, learn new study methods such as active recall, spaced repetition (I've been using Anki!), and Cornell notes. I have been using Notion as a way to track and organize my academia and have found it to be incredibly useful. Essentially, these have been a security factor in my mind but I was wondering if there is anything I should know before starting my undergraduate studies as I sincerely would like to start college on a good note.

Thank you so much ... Nothing but hope, excitement, and productivity! :)

P.S. I should mention that I will be attending community college for two years before transferring to UC Santa Barbara
A full semester of STEM classes sounds miserable as a first semester Freshman.

Does organismal biology contain a lab component? 5 credits for that single class seems like a lot and makes me thinks its upper division...
 
May 15, 2020
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A full semester of STEM classes sounds miserable as a first semester Freshman.

Does organismal biology contain a lab component? 5 credits for that single class seems like a lot and makes me thinks its upper division...
Yeah, both of my science courses have a lab component to them.
 
May 15, 2020
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Attached is a screenshot of the schedule I am sticking to for the first semester. Because of the pandemic, courses will be hybrid and lectures will be done on my own time but I plan on just following the standard allotted time for it.
 

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cthorburn

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A full semester of STEM classes sounds miserable as a first semester Freshman.

Does organismal biology contain a lab component? 5 credits for that single class seems like a lot and makes me thinks its upper division...

I think Calc + bio + chem is reasonable for a freshman. From what I remember of my premed classmates from college it was the norm to take all of those in the same semester.
 
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I think Calc + bio + chem is reasonable for a freshman. From what I remember of my premed classmates from college it was the norm to take all of those in the same semester.
this makes me feel much better, thank u for saying this
 
Sep 12, 2019
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I took those three plus premed psych, and it was doable. Don't get behind, and you will be fine.
 
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Jun 29, 2020
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Hey, I'm also a premed student going to community college in the fall. I am in New York, but I've heard many great things about California community colleges. Are you getting an associate's degree before transferring?
 
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Hey, I'm also a premed student going to community college in the fall. I am in New York, but I've heard many great things about California community colleges. Are you getting an associate's degree before transferring?
Yeah, I’m planning on finishing my Associate’s before transferring to So-Cal!
 
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