Emma Shelby, Graduating Class of 2022
Neuroscience and Flute Performance Majors, Pre-Med
I am matriculating into CU School of Medicine in Fall of 2023. My passion for medicine, and specifically physicianship, was ultimately confirmed by my job as an ophthalmologic medical assistant and my first experience in the operating room. I chose CU School of Medicine because it's ranked as one of the top ophthalmologic schools in the country and is the forerunner on visual snow syndrome research. I also chose this school due to its new and enticing longitudinal clerkship model, its COMPASS Guide program, its proximal location near my current familial support group, and its significant access to the outdoors and mountain landscapes.
Yes, I took one gap year. As a double major, it would have been difficult for me to complete all of my degree requirements, pre-medical requisites, and personal goals by the end of my junior year. Waiting to apply one year later allowed me to optimize and complete all of these goals without compromising the quality of my application. Additionally, I used this time to take a well-earned break from my studies. I went on roadtrips, lived in France, and learned new skills such as Spanish and phlebotomy. I now feel much more relaxed and prepared to enter medical school this upcoming July 2023.
While at CU Boulder, I participated in multiple extracurriculars, such as CU Flute Studio and even initiated a music therapy club. Outside of CU Boulder, I volunteered and became the Co-Director of Kesem at University of Colorado Boulder, a national organization that supports children whose parents suffer from cancer. I taught Calculus III as a Learning Assistant, and completed multiple STEM research projects and publications. I also volunteered at DAWN Clinic in Denver, worked as an optometric technician in Boulder, and upon graduation, transitioned this job to a nearby ophthalmologic surgical center to begin work full-time.
OPHA was an incredible help to me, especially during my final year. Through my many pre-health advising appointments with OPHA, as well as accessing their online resources, I was able to remain well ahead of the suggested pre-medical application timeline and avoided last-minute stressors. I also received a significant amount of help editing and finalizing my primary application, which was a huge asset for someone like myself who lacked notable writing experience prior to that time.
Meet with your OPHA advisor so you may work out an application and prerequisite timeline that works best for you. Do not be afraid to ask them - as well as your professors, peers, and friends - for help. And, use Anki to study!