Pre-Health faces its biggest health crisis yet: the coronavirus

October 30, 2020

As with many clubs at Brandeis that have been forced to adjust to the “new normal” brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, the Pre-Health Society now offers its services, resources and helping-hands to fellow pre-health students in a slightly different fashion. 

Co-events coordinator, Jigme Dolma Dorji ’22 shared the club’s goals for this unconventional semester. “Our goal for this semester is to provide resources and support to students even if they are not on campus, so we have been mostly holding online informational sessions such as MCAT strategy sessions, Speed Networking and this year, we started a peer mentoring program,” Dolma Dorji wrote to The Brandeis Hoot in an email.

In order to make due with these unprecedented times, the club recently launched its “Peer Mentorship Program,” where upperclassmen are paired with lowerclassmen to better organize a network of pre-health students virtually. As a mentee, lowerclassmen are matched with an upperclassman in a similar pre-health track as them, who will be able to offer advice regarding classes, extracurriculars, pre-health requirements and any other forms of support.

“We have set up a mentoring program so that upperclassmen can help freshmen feel more connected and to relieve some of the stress of isolation in a new environment,” co-president Saffi McNulty ’21 wrote to The Hoot in an interview. “Eventually, we will connect students with Brandeis alumni who can act as mentors for professional needs and help students further their network.” She added that Pre-Health Society is also planning events with guest speakers and continues to circulate information and opportunities for all pre-health students on campus. 

The mentoring program has already kicked off and continues to receive much support. Krupa Sourirajan ’23 recently became a mentor for several freshmen this semester and briefly shared her experience thus far.

“I joined this program because I want to help first-years navigate the daunting pre-health requirements in a similar way that the upperclassmen helped me last year.” Sourirajan wrote to The Hoot. “I have already been assigned mentees and have been helping them find opportunities, schedule classes for their four years at Brandeis and utilize other on-campus services such as pre-health advising.”

While the club continues to offer its resources through interactive opportunities to its pre-health general board members, there have still been challenges with the change in environments. 

“It has been hard to gain membership and attendance, and encourage people to come to events,” treasurer Asanya Wawlagala ’23 explained in an email. “Naturally, events held over Zoom are not as engaging as in-person events, so working to find a middleground has been our biggest challenge thus far.”

“Our biggest challenge is being unable to host our usual events due to COVID-19 restrictions,” co-president Nabeeha Haq ’22 added in an email to The Hoot. “In the past we have held panels, networking events, and graduate school visits—which have all been in person. However, we look forward to brainstorming creative ways to execute our typical events online, while simultaneously planning new ways to engage with the pre-health community.”

In the coming week, Pre-Health Society plans to host a Bubble Tea event to encourage more in-person (and socially distanced, of course) attendance, and for new members who are on campus to take advantage of the opportunity to meet fellow members, face-to-face. These are trying and difficult times for students, faculty members. The “new normal” is one that has offered challenges and obstacles, but with those, new opportunities to be creative. The Pre-Health Society is one example of a club at Brandeis that strives to redefine their challenges into newfound opportunities for its members. 

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