REAL STORIES: Medicine From a NON PRE-MED Perspective.


How is it like for a Non- Pre Med to Pursue Medicine?


Your not so ordinary medical students, talked about how they pursue Medicine coming from a Non Pre-Med background. 

Without further delay! Be inspired by these 3 med students journey, and find out how they’re making it work! 


Erina Valdes

BS Computer Science Graduate, De La Salle University

“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done”
This quote pretty much sums up my whole tertiary education to the present day. 
You see, I entered my undergraduate degree at the young age of 15 not knowing what career I wanted to pursue. 
Like any young, idealistic, provincial girl about to experience the metropolitan college life, I picked any course that sounded like it would bring home quite an amount of bacon to pay homage to my doting parents.
While it is a noble feat, it left me unhappy for a time since the degree I selected was quite challenging. 
 At first, I thought these feelings were just transient, that I was just blinded by the demands of the degree. 
But I learned after two years of turmoil, living this way, no matter how big the reward, felt meaningless.
This gave me the courage to pursue my interests. 
Long story, short: I was at the middle of my undergraduate degree when I realized I wanted to shift out. 
My parents were delirious at the idea and simply gave me an ultimatum, “Finish your degree and pursue what you want after” out of fear that my decision was a whim. 
I couldn’t do anything, so I just hung in there and used that promise as a motivation to just finish. 
My undergraduate life wasn’t all that horrific, I learned quite a lot but I just wasn’t all that happy. 
What influenced me to choose medical school even after coming from a very unrelated course was that all my close friends were from pre-medical courses and they simply seemed to be very happy.  
It was a petty reason to use for a complete shift in career, but the hardships that made me miserable made me feel longing to just escape. 
Once I was fully decided, I set on to research all I could about people like me: non-medical undergradute about to seize a medical career. 
And there isn’t much about it online, nor do you ever hear about it too. 
This made me a little fearful about my decision, but at that point I was willing to do anything just to pursue something that I thought was very interesting and suited me perfectly. 
Most medical schools don’t require that you come from a pre-medical course, at most they only require a Bachelor’s degree in Science or that you take a few prerequisite courses prior to entering their institution.
I decided to take undergraduate classes bit by bit as I didn’t want to be blindsided when I entered medical school.
I used the topics that were going to appear in the National Medical Admissions Test as my guide. 
My journey wasn’t easy, repeatedly I had to tell my new classmates and teachers my complicated story, repeatedly I had to motivate myself that I had just as much a right to be where I was as anyone else. 
Most would just find my story amusing, I was a rarity in the living flesh. To me, it was more than that. This was my future at stake.  
By the grace of God and my peculiar circumstances, I was accepted by the institution I am in today: De La Salle Health Sciences Institute. 
I felt like everyone else had such a great advantage because each undergraduate pre-medical course had their niche. 
The nurses were so used to handling patients, the physical therapists knew all the anatomical structures, the medical techonologists knew about diagnostic tests, the pharmacists knew about the medication. I was essentially left with my mouth open in awe. 
I knew it will never be easy, but I also felt that I had to work harder than everyone else because I had to catch up for all the years I missed and my lack of “niche”.
What saved me is my continuous curiosity, eagerness to learn and the patience I gave myself every time I made a mistake.
To this day, I am forever thankful for all that I have been through. 
I am almost half way through medical school and each day is literally a surprise.
I have never been in so much pressure in my life, being away from family and friends and having almost zero personal time… and I have never been so happy. 
So to people like me,even though others may seem to have an advantage at first and you’re at a loss, there’s nothing diligence, eagerness to learn and the constant belief of perservering can’t fix. I am quite eager to meet more people like me, I look forward to having them as my colleagues. And to people struggling as I was, I’m open to talking and helping in as much as I can (just message nicole! haha) 
medical student medicine non pre med
 Erina Valdes graduated B.S. Computer Science specializing in Software Technology from De La Salle University-Manila. She is currently a 2nd year medical student in the De La Salle Health Sciences Institute College of Medicine. She was the former President of the De La Salle Medicine Dance Society and the incoming Vice President for External Affairs in the College of Medicine Student Council. 

Marc Juane

BA Social Sciences, University of The Philippines- Manila

How it feels like to pursue medicine coming from a non pre med course, and how are u so far surviving?
Marc Juane
Even before my undergrad, it seems that there was no other career that came into my mind other than being a medical doctor. I’ve always been curious about medicine and I’ve always wanted to do what physicians do. I was then able to go to the university I’ve always wanted. However, the course that was given to me wasn’t a pre-med, it was BA Social Sciences (Area Studies). It was quite a diverse course which was actually a pre-law and included subjects such as; History, Culture, Sociology, Political Science, Economics, Geography, Anthropology, and other subjects in the social sciences. 
At first I told myself that I should shift to a premed course, but after a while, I eventually grew fond of my course even though history was one of my least liked subjects. I’d say that there came a time when I thought that I should just get into law, but nope, I realized I really didn’t like politics. Some of my classmates took up extra units such as higher chemistry, and as for me, the closest subject I took up which is related to med would be Medical Anthropology and a higher psychology.
A professor of mine told me that if I really wanted to go to med I could still go through it with my course. Well that’s what I thought the whole time, and it’s been one of my motivations for finishing my course. Another professor told me that when you get to med, everyone’s going to be starting from scratch. Well, I guess I was too hopeful. Then came the fateful day when I started medicine. AND WOW. There was so much going on that during the first days I felt like 25% of my hair fell off. 
Not to mention the schedule, which was really toxic because they were different every day and every week unlike the undergrad years. At first, I was quite relaxed and I tried to keep up with my lifestyle during undergrad. Boy, was that a mistake.
I didn’t realize there were just too many topics. I remembered when we had our very first evaluations. I thought I could do it like before (not studying 1 week before etc.), so come the day before the exam, that was the only time I started studying. That week,

 I had no idea what was coming for me.

Weeks and months passed by and I still couldn’t cope up on how to study for our subjects. I tried using books, listening to recordings, but what happened was I always ended up with so little time. I didn’t know what to do anymore. I asked my friends from other schools how they were doing and they were also experiencing what I felt. But, what made me feel down was the fact that I felt as if I was completely useless. My classmates in med came from different backgrounds and I couldn’t stop thinking that they were able to grasp even a little since they studied sciences during their undergrad years.

 I felt ashamed that I couldn’t be of any help, since I always was the one left behind in understanding concepts and especially during group activities. There came a time when I told myself why I had to take up my undergrad course and even felt bad that I graduated from my university. 
There was a lot of pressure, especially when people would found out the university which I came from, and told me “ikaw pa?! kayang kaya mo yan!” that really made a mess out of me. Though there were a lot of setbacks, one thing that I would always treasure were my groupmates and friends. I kept doing my best and I thank God that my groupmates were the best groupmates I could ask for. 
Up until now they’re on the people that keeps me going. They understood my situation and because they were always there to help, I strove to repay them by studying even harder.
 Commed during first year was quite fascinating for me because it had to do with society, which were only one of the things I could understand. My first sem was really bad, especially for physio and biochem.
 Anatomy was my motivational subject because I enjoyed the gross lab since I was quite a visual learner which helped me out during exams. I’d say that I only figured out how to study and keep up with the fast pace during the second sem. 
I told myself that what I was doing wasn’t working. So I started studying even earlier than before,
 but one of the things which actually helped out was to listen well during lectures because you can retain some information after, but there were still a lot of times where I couldn’t listen anymore because I tend to get sleepy a lot, since I have a hard time sleeping. If other people’s problem was staying up, my problem was trying to sleep, even if I’ve never drank coffee. 
Well I kind of got used to how I was doing during the last weeks of first year. I missed out lots of get-togethers and usually after classes I went straight to my dorm already because I needed a little rest. Another thing that kept me sane was that after every night before I sleep, I watch some series, movies or anime as a reward for studying. Well that’s kind of what happened during my first year.
As  for my second year. Well this is a totally different story from first year. I’d say that it was more intense. This time I really had to memorize much more and read more frequently than before. Getting to know the information did not do. You can’t correlate things that much anymore in order to memorize it. I don’t know if it was just me, but during the first sem, I know that everyone was really doing their best, but it seems like even if I was doing my best, it wasn’t enough. There really came a time especially towards the end of the first sem, where I got depressed, but after having a little vacation, I guess I had to really work up the pace again.

 Right now, I’m still doing all that I can in order to step up to the same platform as my other classmates, but never forget to take it easy at times or med’s going to eat you up. It’s really hard and I know that I just keep telling myself “kaya pa to”, because  I think that’s the only thing I could say to myself to keep me going.
I don’t know what may still happen, but as the year approaches its end, the only thing we could do is to keep fighting! I get it, when people say “ginusto mo yan”; it’s been one hell of a road, but I know that we can keep fighting for this until we become the excellent doctors of batch 2019 that we’ve been dreaming! 
Always remember that your friends, family and God would always be there to support you and give a push! 😃

Avelene Castillo

BS Legal Management, Ateneo De Manila University

“Bakit ka nag-med?” / “Why did you go to med school?”
This was me during our graduation day! 


This, probably, is the most asked question whenever people find out that I had non-premed course during college. I graduated BS Legal Management in Ateneo de Manila way back in 2013. I had three jobs after graduation and then I suddenly entered med school. Something up there was “tugging” me towards a different direction. I was really feeling that “calling”. It may sound corny but it really was I was feeling after I resigned from my last job and decided to fulfill my “childhood dream”. 
You might be telling yourself, “You must be kidding me. If you really wanted to become a doctor when you were still a child, you would have gotten a premed course.” Maybe you’re right for thinking that way but the thing was, I wasn’t really sure if I can become a doctor but the thought of becoming one was always present when I was a child until I entered college and until I was working. I remember telling my parents I want to be a pediatrician when I was in elementary especially since elementary years were such a good avenue for asking the kids, “What would you want to become in the future?”/ “Ano ang gusto mo paglaki?”
 ALWAYS, I would answer, “I want to become a pediatrician!” 
Come college application time, believe it or not, I applied for a pre-med course both in DLSU and UP but I did not pass the entrance exams. Apparently, I was too naïve during that time because those courses were quota courses and I did not even bother reviewing for any entrance tests. Why Legal Management, then? It is because I really wanted to study in Ateneo and I didn’t want to risk not being accepted because I applied for a pre-med course.  All of these events made me think that maybe medicine was not really for me. 
However, when I was in 1st year college, I can still feel that “tugging” or “calling” and I wanted to shift to a pre-med course. However, I was already having a good time with my blockmates and meeting new people from a different course was a scary thought for me so I stayed until I graduated. 
Then I worked, I resigned, I reviewed for NMAT, I passed, and the rest is history.


 “How do you stay sane in med school given your undergrad course? It must be really hard for you.”
Saying that medicine is difficult is an understatement. A better term may be, it is challenging (and it will challenge your body, mind, and soul to the very core). How do I survive? When I was in first year, I really had no idea about everything that was taught during the first few months. Everything was a blur. I could not appreciate what the lecturer was teaching especially Biochemistry. 
Sometimes, I would shed a tear or two during the lecture because I felt that attending the class was futile. But then again, I love challenges. It makes me humble, makes me think, makes me keep going, and it makes life exciting! Here are some points on how I manage to survive med school during 1st year up until now (maybe?!):
       1.  I try to listen AND write because the best way to learn is to use all your senses! There were many moments when I would write down on a yellow pad everything that was projected on the screen (even if the PowerPoint presentation would be given) because I wanted to be familiar with the medical jargons. I would make my own trans by merely writing and would actually use those handwritten transes for exam purposes!
I study ahead of time but cramming is also effective (for me) only if I already know the lesson quite well.
2.       I reserve the weekends for family / friends / me time because I deserve it. It is reward time for me after a loooong and tiring week. It makes me feel recharged physically, mentally, and emotionally and so avoid burnout.
3.       Surround yourself with supportive people and with the same goals as you. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. I am really #blessed to have Med Beshies by my side *wink wink* because they make my life easier. My friends are generous enough to share their reviewers, index cards, etc. to facilitate learning so thank you, friends! Also, my special someone is always there to cheer me up when I’m too tired to try again. My family always tries to understand whenever I say, “I can’t go home, im busy.”
All of us were in honor’s list during 1styear! <3
4.       Anticipate and adapt. I try to avoid lame excuses for not studying or for not doing good during exams. Always, always learn to adapt because that’s what life is and it will make you wiser and stronger. Remember that the universe loves a stubborn heart.
5.       Pray. It works. Work hard, and it will pay off.

6.       This is an optional one but I am going to say it anyway. Be active. Join organizations and/or be an officer. It is one thing to be a good student and another thing to be an effective leader and a follower. I always believe that it is better to be doing something out of your comfort zone because it is where the magic happens 😉
Despite all the things I said, I really am amazed of how things are turning out for me and I honestly really do not know how and why everything is working out. I just know that the universe is not wrong for tugging me into this beautiful mess I call med school. 
I may still have a long way to go to get that M.D. and to actually be a great doctor but I’m here and I’m always ready to take those challenges. 😃 
If I can do it, so can you. Push lang! Sabi nga ng Nike, “Just do it.”


I wanted to create a niche, where every (future) medical students will love.💖 A place that will give more than just medical education. A place where we can discuss anything under the sun, just like this feature right here! 

A huge thank you to our 3 featured writers, Erina, Marc, and Avelene, your dreams and aspirations are truly inspiring!



Thank you so much for reading!


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 From the bottom of my heart ventricles, thank you so much to all  of you who have supported me since I started! 
Thank you for 
cheering, and 
keeping up with me. 




This blog won’t make it this big without all of you! I’m forever indebted! 





The authors are all 2nd year Medical Students at the De La Salle Health Sciences Institute, #Doctorsof2019.

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