We invite our students to share their educational experiences while at the IMP. Below are some of their stories.
Photo L-R: Ryan Heron, Zaakir Jiwa, Tiffany Miller
IMP student develops comprehensive UVic Pre-Medical Club
From his own experience as a UVic undergraduate, Ryan Heron (IMP Class of 2017) recalls feeling intimidated by the exclusive IMP program and the complex medical school application process. However, once a part of the program, Ryan realized the staff and students couldn’t be more approachable and decided he could help provide support to fellow UVic students interested in medicine. To do this, Ryan created the UVic Pre-Medical Club during his first year in medical school. Facilitated by medical students, the club counsels and inspires UVic students in other fields who hope to follow in their footsteps.
Through interactive monthly lectures presented by IMP students in the Medical Sciences Building, the club explores medical school applications and medical student life, including academics, extracurricular activities, the MCAT, interviews, and more. The club encourages all UVic students to join, from first year students loosely considering medicine as a career path to grad students scheduling their interviews. Now, nearly two years later, the club involves hundreds of members and over a dozen IMP students.
The club has also been the focus of a DPAS research project, where Ryan teamed up with Eric McGinnis (IMP Class of 2017) to investigate members’ prior interaction with the IMP and the impact of the club. Their results show that before joining the Pre-Medical Club, members had very limited opportunities to meet IMP students. Most believed the Medical Sciences Building was for medical students only and were not aware of research opportunities available upstairs with the Division of Medical Sciences. Some falsely considered academics to be the main admissions component, while others believed the myth that international volunteering experience is required to be a competitive applicant. A clear theme emerged that the chance to learn from current IMP students’ experiences was the most valuable component of the club. All surveyed members found the club to be helpful and the vast majority reported club involvement improved their knowledge of admissions and positively influenced their desire to attend UBC Medical School.
Feedback from club members has continued to drive Ryan and new Co-Presidents Tiffany Miller and Zaakir Jiwa (IMP Class of 2018) to provide the inside scoop on medical school that only current med students can. One attendee said “the handouts and meetings were extremely well organized and relevant, and so useful that I actually considered skipping some classes to make the meetings – and I never skip class.” As one of the only medical student-led campus clubs, the UVic Pre-Med Club is an incredible and credible source for undergraduates.
This year, the co-presidents have hired an executive team of undergraduate students, who are responsible for advertising the Club events to their classes, making posters, and helping to organize and run the events. Over the next few months, the executives hope to set up a mentorship program an undergraduate student would be paired up with a med school student for a one-on-one discussion. Events to be held before this semester ends includes a mock MMI for students who have received interviews at UBC, a presentation from a Caribbean school representative and MCAT preparation, among others.
As other participants have said, “it’s the best club on campus” and “I really enjoyed interacting with the med students. To me, they came across as really humble, down to earth people who enjoy what they do. It is inspiring and re-instilled my desire to pursue this goal.”
For more information, go to the UVic Pre-Med Club Website or Facebook group.View Previous Perspectives