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Interview with a Scientist: Pam Osborn Popp

Up until now, this blog has mostly focused on my journey to becoming a physician. I know, however, that the world of health (and thus the interests of HOSA members) reaches far beyond patient care. To that end, I’m excited to begin branching out and interviewing extraordinary people who are impacting health and medicine through work in many different fields. I couldn’t think of a better person with which to begin this series.

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Advice on Choosing a Career Path

Of all the topics about which I’ve written so far, none has been as dreaded as this. Students in middle and high school receive countless opinions on how they should decide what they want to do “when they grow up.” The stress of choosing a career path is substantial and many times overwhelming. I, too, have an opinion, and so I will share it with you today.

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Letters of Recommendation and Evaluation

As promised earlier, here is my guide to soliciting letters of recommendation or evaluation. One of the most stressful parts of applying to a health career program is the requirement to obtain letters from professors, mentors, and supervisors. Programs may have basic requirements (for example, at least two letters) or very specific demands (two letters from professors of science, one letter from a medical doctor, and one letter from a volunteering supervisor). Often, the stress results from inadequate preparation and waiting too late to ask potential writers.

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Networking as a Student

As a Future Health Professional, you’re no doubt aware of the importance of networking. Health careers can often seem like a small community; in even a large city you’ll find that you run into the same people over and over again. So getting to know key people and maintaining strong relationships with those who are in a position to help you can be incredibly rewarding. As a student, though, you may think that networking is the domain of current health professionals alone. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

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Choosing Schools Part 2

As promised, here is part two of my four-part series on applying to medical school. In the first installment, I discussed crunching the raw numbers to find schools where you’ll be academically competitive, and we also covered some in-state/out-of-state stuff. Now, I’d like to talk about the next step, which is much more holistic. Admittedly, this part of the selection process cannot be complete until you’ve interviewed (which will be covered in part four of this series), but it is essential to narrow your list as much as possible before applying so as to save money.

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Choosing Schools

I apologize for the long time between posts this time around – I’ve been very busy moving back to Oklahoma for my gap year, applying to medical school, and attending HOSA’s 40th Anniversary Celebration and 2016 International Leadership Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. It was wonderful seeing many of you in Nashville and I can’t wait for next year’s ILC in Orlando, Florida.
 

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Standardized Tests

Some people love standardized tests. Their scale is impressive – everyone who takes a particular test is scaled against everyone else. This allows schools and employers to see at a glance how you’ve performed on these often content-based, but even more often critical thinking-based, assessments. Other people hate them, saying that they are the epitome of a system that over-tests and results in students who know how to regurgitate information but not how to apply it in day-to-day life or in a future career.

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The MCAT

This past Friday, I completed a milestone – perhaps the milestone – in my slow, steady march toward medical school. Although I know that acceptance into a school is merely the start of an even longer journey than the one that I embarked on in 2012 when I entered NYU, I can’t help but see it as a kind of finish line. Maybe it’s a self-defense mechanism as I attempt to comprehend that my collegiate life is still less than half over. In any case, I’m nearly there.
 

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Studying

During this post I’ll attempt to convince you of something that you probably won’t believe. That is: I actually enjoy studying. I know that sounds improbable, but if you hear me out I’ll try to explain. Some people actually enjoy studying on its own. A far greater number of people (at least in my opinion and including myself) like the idea of studying, but find the actual practice of it to be more of a chore than a joy. Knowledge is a powerful thing, and it says a lot that so many of us would like to think of ourselves as master scholars.

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Community Service

There’s a portion of many postsecondary school applications that trips up a lot of people – community service. After a full (and often rigorous) high school class schedule, extracurricular activities to add to your leadership and teamwork experience, and other hobbies and interests, it may seem like there’s no room in a schedule for giving back to your community. Community service often seems difficult to work into schedules or even to find; many charitable organizations don’t have the resources to advertise their need.

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