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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

LETTER: Rumors about pre-meds false

Published: April 8, 2005
Section: Opinions

As many Brandeis students and prospective students know, there are a good number of pre-meds with high goals and lofty dreams right here at Brandeis. You may not recognize them at first, but they are there, walking the same paths from their dorms to class that you take. You may not notice them because they really are not that all that different from any other Brandeis student. Many people have the false belief that pre-meds are crazy and pull all-nighters studying to get that A. In reality, however, pre-meds at Brandeis are not your typical cutthroat competitive students running towards the gates of medical school.

As a pre-med student at Brandeis, I feel I can convey a more accurate view of the academic climate on the pre-medical track at Brandeis than someone writing an article based on observation and interviews with one or two students and faculty. I was surprised with the negative picture of the life of a pre-med at Brandeis painted in a recently published article in the Justice. I completely disagree and want to express my opinion as a current pre-med student so that aspiring pre-meds and the rest of the Brandeis community will understand the true nature of the pre-med students.

I was shocked and horrified at the observation that pre-meds at Brandeis face impersonal and mind-numbing courses, unsympathetic professors and cutthroat students. That simply is NOT the case. If anything, Brandeis is completely the opposite. Yes, the courses are challenging, but if you put in the time and effort, you will succeed. The professors at Brandeis are interested in their students and take the time to form a relationship with the pre-meds–their students. The professors are quite sympathetic towards pre-meds. One professor told the class, The department would like me to set the average for this course at a C-. Well, if you put in the effort and show me you want to learn, I will make the average a B/B+. The professor was willing to side with the students over the department, and the students did put in the effort and demonstrated their desire to succeed. This example is just one of the many showing that our professors are anything but unsympathetic.

Moreover, I simply disagree with the remark that Brandeis pre-meds are cutthroat competitive. In my experience, the overwhelming majority of Brandeis pre-meds are cooperative. They help each other out and act as a support network for one another. Brandeis pre-meds are self-motivated, but certainly not cutthroat.

Finally, I think most patients would rather be treated by a warm, caring physician than a terse doctor lacking compassion and positive social skills. The lack of compassion in healthcare has become a problem. Poor bedside manners turn patients away and are likely the result of this competition between pre-meds.

I came to Brandeis for its strong science program, top ranked faculty, excellent pre-med advising, high placement rate into medical school, and the cooperative nature of the pre-meds. So far, I got what I came for!

Josh Stern 07