Summer Plans for a Pre-Health Student

The school year is finally winding down and summer is fast-approaching! For many students, summer is the perfect time to relax, to soak up some sun, and to catch up on your favorite Netflix shows. However for pre-health students, summer can also be the perfect time to gain worthwhile experiences to boost your application.

What is the best way to spend my summer?
The truth is that the possibilities are endless. The best way to spend your summer really depends on what you want to accomplish. Is there a specific part of your application that is lacking? Do you need more volunteer hours? Do you need more clinical experiences or research? Do you need to boost your GPA? Or perhaps you have questions that you still need the answers to?

Before you start searching for experiences, I suggest that you sit down and take some time to ask yourself the questions above. What story are you trying to tell the admissions committee? Are you an individual who is passionate about working with underserved communities? Or are your passions driven by research? Or perhaps mentoring and advising? Once you start identifying who you are and what you are passionate about, then it will become much easier to navigate the internet for potential experiences. You will be able to narrow down your search and to eliminate opportunities that you don’t find interesting.

What is my story?
For me, I didn’t sit down and ask myself these questions until the end of my freshman year. Before spring quarter, I was really eager to dive into internships and to get involved, but I was overwhelmed by all the opportunities available. I didn’t know how to navigate campus resources and how to be selective about my experiences. I simply said “YES!” to the first internship that showed interest in me. This was a HUGE mistake because I was miserable in some of my first internships. I was so determined to find any internship that I forgot to stay honest with myself. So at the end spring quarter, I began to ask myself: Who are you really? What do you enjoy doing? Where do you want to be in the next few years? I realized that my passions were working with undeserved communities, children, and students. I wanted to pursue advising/tutoring and to gain clinical experience. With these desires in mind, I went to the Internship and Career Center and the Undergraduate Research Center to get help! They were able to help me narrow down my search to find experiences that accurately portrayed who I was as a person.

What types of experiences can I do?
There are countless opportunities that you can pursue, including:

Summer is the perfect time to do research. During the school year, it can be difficult and exhausting to juggle a full course load with 10-15 hours of research each week. But in the summer, you have much more time and energy to dedicate towards your lab work.
A common misconception is that laboratory research is the only kind that pre-health schools like. However, ALL research on the UC Davis campus is valuable. In addition to lab research, you can try clinical research and social science research. The most important thing is to find a project that truly interests you!
I recommend going to the Undergraduate Research Center as the first step. The URC advisors can help you to connect with professors that are doing research in a subject of your interest. They can also help you to draft a strong cover letter and resume.

Another thing you can do over the summer is internships. There are countless internship opportunities on the internet, but here are some suggestions to get you started:

  1. Health Related Internships (HRI)
    The HRI are unique to UC Davis. HRI are a wonderful first step to gaining clinical experience within a hospital setting. And the best part is that there is NO application or interview necessary! Simply sign up for a pass time and choose the position and time that works best for you. HRI span across many health-related fields including medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, nutrition, public health, and physical, occupational, and speech therapies. These internships can be a great way to learn more about what specialty you hope to pursue in the future.
  2. Medical Missions
    MEDLife and the Global Medical Brigades are two popular programs on campus that will allow you to travel while gaining hands-on clinical experience.
  3. Health-Related Internships through the Washington Program
  4. Volunteer at a Student Run Clinic
    UC Davis’ student-run clinics serve various underserved populations in the Sacramento community. Volunteering at a clinic will not only provide you with valuable clinical experience, it can also pave the way for future leadership opportunities!

Explore Your Hobbies and PassionsLastly, but most importantly, spend your summer doing something that you are passionate about. Admissions committees want to learn about who you are as an individual outside of school. Pursue your hobbies! Hang out with friends or even your dog! Read a book, go hiking, or maybe try something completely brand new. Whatever you choose to do, remember to stay true to you!

I hope you found this blog useful! Good luck with the rest of your quarter and have an amazing summer!

Victoria Nugent
4th year Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior
Class of 2017
BASC Peer Advisor


WhyUCDavis: My Aggie Experience

Congratulations on being accepted to UC Davis! You did it!! All of your hard work has paid off. Now, all that is left is the final big decision. Where will you spend the next four years of your life?

For me, UC Davis was not my top choice. Ironically, UC Davis was my last choice. I spent all of my life in Sacramento and I was eager to travel far, far away from NorCal. I wanted to move away from my parents and to enjoy the freedom that I didn’t have at home. When I was accepted to UCLA and UC Davis, it was a no-brainer. I was set on UCLA. I didn’t visit either campus or look into any programs, but somehow I convinced myself that UCLA was the perfect fit for me. (Looking back, I have no idea what I was thinking!) Several weeks later, I received financial aid packages from both institutions and was disappointed to learn that UCLA did not offer me much assistance. Financially, it was obvious that UC Davis was the better decision. Still, I clung stubbornly to the idea of moving away.

My parents finally convinced me to go to Decision Day and to give UC Davis a chance. I followed along reluctantly, determined that I would not enjoy my visit. However, as I strolled along the beautiful Arboretum and explored the giant quad, I felt my bitter resistance slowly fade away. The campus was beautiful. There was this welcoming and laid-back vibe that instantly caught my attention. Everywhere I looked I saw happy smiling faces. I loved watching all the bikers zoom by, and I was eager to join the students relaxing and picnicking in the quad. As I walked downtown, I longed to explore all the little cafes and shops lining every street. I was pleasantly surprised by Davis. No it wasn’t a fast-paced city, nor was it a busy beachside campus, but UC Davis felt like home.

I am very grateful that I chose to be an Aggie four years ago. UC Davis has challenged me academically and prepared me for my future endeavors in medical school. Entering my first year in Davis, I had very little knowledge of the medical profession and was not sure where to start searching for internships and research. I was relieved to learn that this campus had tons of resources to help students succeed. Personally, I utilized three main resources: the Health Professions Advising, the Biology Academic Success Center, and the Internship and Career Center. These resources pointed me in the right direction and helped me to stay connected on campus. Now in my senior year, I’ve had the opportunity to work with human cadavers in anatomy, to work at the UC Davis Medical Center and Shriner’s Children Hospital, and to serve on the executive board for the Bayanihan Clinic, one of the student-run medical clinics in Sacramento.

Lastly, UC Davis has given me a diverse community of friends and colleagues. I met my closest friends here on campus, and I couldn’t imagine my life today without them. There is a place for everyone here at UC Davis.

I know this big decision can feel very intimidating. But it doesn’t need to be! Explore every campus. Ask lots of questions. Trust your gut! You will find your answer. I found my home at UC Davis and hopefully you will find yours here too!

Victoria Nugent
4th Year, Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior Major
Sociology Minor
BASC Peer Advisor

Deals, Deals, Deals! – Ways to Save Money as a College Student

Everyone knows college can be difficult, but it doesn’t need to be expensive! Here is a list of tips and tricks that many UC Davis students use to save money on food, clothes, textbooks, recreation, and more!

  1. UC Davis Textbook Exchange and Textbook Marketplace on Facebook
    Don’t pay full price for textbooks! Buy your textbooks from other students at a huge discounted price. Add your UC Davis email to your Facebook account to join the Davis Community. Once you join the Davis Community, you will have access to both textbook exchange groups listed above. Buy, sell, or rent books and save!
  2. Pocket Points
    Pocket Points is an awesome FREE app that rewards students for not using their phones during class. Simply open the app on campus, lock your phone, and start gaining points. It’s that simple!
    Points can be redeemed for discounts/coupons at many local businesses in Davis including: Plutos, Dot Island Grill, CREAM, Jamba Juice, Wingstop, and more!
  3. UNiDAYS
    It’s a no-brainer. FREE to join and easy to use, UNiDAYS gives you access to the best student discount online and in-store with all the leading brands and retailers. Sign up for a free account with your UCD email and obtain coupon codes at your favorite stores like: Urban Outfitters, Express, Forever21, etc.
  4. Fruit and Veggie Up!
    This UC Davis program provides students with FREE fresh produce. Two locations for your convenience: Student Health and Wellness Center and The Pantry located at Lower Freeborn.
    *Produce will be given out on a first come first serve basis. This program is made possible by donations from UC Davis Student Farms and Nugget Markets.

    Image may contain: textA) The ASUCD Pantry
    Located in the basement of Freeborn Hall, The Pantry was established to help students offset the expensive costs of college by providing free meals and personal items. The Pantry also carries fresh produce donated by the UC Davis Student Farm in the Fresh Focus Program!
    All students are eligible with an Aggie ID Card. Check the Pantry’s Facebook page for updated dates and times and more information.B) Student Health and Wellness Center
    The SHWC distributes free fresh produce and peer to peer nutrition tips. They also have fun cooking demonstrations and food budget tips:
                                                                  Tuesdays & Wednesdays
                                                    March 1st – April 2nd, 2017: 2-3:30PM
                                   New Times Beginning April 4th, 2017:  11AM-12:30PM)
  5. CalFresh
    Have questions about Image may contain: foodCalFresh? Come stop by the CalFresh table to speak with a CalFresh rep. Many students qualify for CalFresh, a program that can assist with money to buy groceries monthly, by being granted financial aid or working over 20 hours a week. For more information, be sure to speak with the CalFresh rep while at Fruit and Veggie Up!

Although I’ve only listed 5 tips above, there are many other resources online and on campus to help students save time and money. Try these out and let us know what other things you do to save those extra dollars!

Victoria Nugent
4th year, Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior Major
Sociology Minor
BASC Peer Advisor

UC Davis Student-Run Clinics – How do I join?

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Are you looking for a fun clinical experience? Do you want to give back to the community? Are you looking to build relationships with patients, medical students, and healthcare professionals?

If you answered YES to any of the questions above, the UC Davis Student-Run Clinics may be just for you!

For more than 35 years, the UC Davis student-run clinics have provided free health care services to the uninsured, low-income, and underserved populations within the Sacramento community. Each clinic was established by UC Davis undergraduate and medical students who sought to provide culturally sensitive care to community members who lacked access to basic healthcare. This program serves thousands of patients every year and gives medical students and undergraduates the unique opportunity to learn first-hand about the challenges and rewards of patient care and community medicine.

I joined the Bayanihan Clinic back in the winter of 2014. As a young and naive freshman, I was anxious but eager to get involved on campus. I didn’t know where to get started, but then I saw a flyer for the Bayanihan Clinic’s information session posted on the Wellman Hall bulletin board. “Why not apply? What do I have to lose?” I thought. Four years later, I can easily say that joining the Bayanihan Clinic was the most rewarding experience of my undergraduate career. I learned how to accurately take vitals, to read lab results, and to present a patient case to the precepting physician. I also built strong relationships with peers and patients and received helpful advice from medical students and physicians about the medical school application process.

So, what are the clinics looking for in potential applicants?
Each clinic is unique and has certain qualities that it values most in its volunteers. However, all the clinics look for the following traits in potential applicants:
1) Interest in their specific community – There are 10 different clinics that you could potentially apply for. So, why do you prefer Clinic A over Clinic B? Do you have a genuine interest in serving this clinic’s patient population? It is important to show in your application and interview that you understand WHO the clinic serves and why you are personally invested in working with this group.
2) Desire to be a patient advocate – Our patients come first. We strive to provide culturally and linguistically sensitive care to individuals who lack access to basic healthcare. We want our patients to feel comfortable coming to us for help. In your application/interview, you want to convince the committee that you will be a passionate advocate for its patients.
3) Leadership – Every clinic wants to ensure that their doors remain open for many years. Therefore, the application/interview committee looks for applicants that they believe are capable of filling future leadership roles (i.e. coordinator, officer, etc.). In addition, the clinics are constantly growing and pushing to improve patient care by providing more specialized services to their patients. Can you lead a new program? Do you have a vision that you hope to see implemented in a clinic?
4) Teamwork – Every clinic functions as a team. Each week, you will work with a team of undergraduate and medical students, and health professionals to provide quality care to patients. Can you work efficiently as a member of this team? Are you willing to listen to your peers and mentors and accept constructive criticism? Are you willing to contribute to new projects and programs that the clinic implements?

I highly encourage all students to apply for the clinics. It doesn’t matter if you are interested in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, etc., there is a perfect match for you! I found my home at the Bayanihan Clinic. Where will you find yours?

Here is a list of all 10 UC Davis Student-Run Clinics. Follow the links to learn more about how you can get involved!

Bayanihan Clinic
The Bayanihan Clinic serves the underserved and uninsured Filipino population in the Greater Sacramento area, specifically the Filipino WWII veterans and immigrants. They provide women’s health and dermatology services, and diabetes education through their Diabetes Empowerment Program.  Their next application cycle will open in January 2017.

Clinica Tepatí
Clinica Tepati provides primary care services to the underserved Latino community in Sacramento. Their new Diabetes Interest Group is designed to educate patients about diabetes and how best to manage their care.  Their next application cycle will open in Spring 2017.

Imani Clinic
Imani Clinic provides basic healthcare services to the underserved Oak Park community with the target population being African Americans within the community. It’s goal is to provide culturally sensitive care and to foster early and lasting relationships between students, healthcare professionals, and the community. Their next application cycle will open in Spring 2017.

Joan Viteri Memorial Clinic (JVMC)
JVMC serves the healthcare needs of uninsured IV drug users, sex workers, transsexuals and their families in the Sacramento county. JVMC acts as an intervention service, reaching out to patients before their conditions drain limited ER resources, pose a public health hazard, or become fatal to the patient. Their next application cycle will open in April 2017.

Knight’s Landing One-Health Clinic
Knight’s Landing One-Health Clinic provides linguistically competent and culturally sensitive health care services to the rural underserved, particularly women, adolescents and farmworkers. In partnership with the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, veterinary services are available at the clinic on the third Sunday of each month. Their application cycle is open now and applications are due in April 2017.

Paul Hom Asian Clinic
The Paul Hom Asian Clinic primarily serves the uninsured and immigrant Southeast Asian communities in Sacramento. This clinic provides offers free primary care services and hosts specialty clinics that include: psychiatry, dermatology, ophthalmology, cardiopulmonary, and musculoskeletal. Their next application cycle opens in Spring 2017.

VN Cares
VN CARES is a student-run clinic that promotes cancer awareness and provides free cancer screenings to the underserved Vietnamese population. The clinic’s long term goal is to reduce cancer-related disparities in the Vietnamese community. This clinic has two internship positions available to undergraduate students: (1) Clinical Internship and (2) Research and Education Internship. Their application cycle is currently closed. 

Hmong Lifting Underserved Barriers (HLUB)
The HLUB Clinic aims to provide free culturally and linguistically appropriate health care services to the Hmong community. They provide chronic disease management and screenings for cancer: breast, cervical, colon and prostate cancer, in addition to Hepatitis B. Their next application cycle will open in Summer 2017.

Shifa Clinic
Shifa Clinic strives to understand, serve, and promote the health and wellness needs of a multilingual, ethnically diverse community. It primarily serve patients from the South Asian and Muslim communities. It provides interpretive services and hosts specialty clinics such as dermatology, cardiology, women’s health and pediatrics. Their next application cycle will open in Spring 2017.

The Willow Clinic
The Willow Clinic primarily serves the homeless population in Sacramento. Willow Clinic has a well-established dental and pharmacy program. In addition, they host Wellness Nights on Fridays where students can make crafts, do yoga, or sing karaoke with patients. Their next application cycle will open in Spring 2017.

Victoria Nugent
4th year, Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior Major
Sociology Minor
BASC Peer Advisor