This Summer’s Discovery: My Pre-Collegiate Medical Program Experience

Published on Jul 15, 2019

Summer programs are wonderful opportunities to immerse yourself into fields of study and careers you might consider taking on in college. As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, Pursuing My Passion: Medicine, this summer, I attended a camp at the University of Texas through the Summer Discovery program. I chose to go to the UT campus, as I live in Austin, and it was more convenient for me.

The Summer Discovery program has many opportunities for students wanting to go into various fields, such as Criminal Justice, Medicine, Fashion, Law, Business, Engineering, Sports Medicine, Neuroscience, and many more! In my case, I chose the Medicine academy, so I will be describing my experiences with it!

Exploring the UT Campus + the Medical School

Throughout the camp, I was able to explore the whole UT campus and more importantly, its medical school and the massive complex that houses it. Just to give some perspective, I’ve never been to a college campus before. Being able to walk around campus really helped me get a sense of what the college life is like. Although it was during the summer, I was able to observe some college students who stayed on campus while I walked around.

Touring myself around the premises, I also found out that there are so many places to eat at and hang out with friends. I was even able to go inside some of the educational buildings! I got to look at the Engineering, Business, Natural Sciences, and the Liberal Arts buildings. This was a completely new experience as I got to see the size of the rooms and actually see an estimate of the number of people that can fit into a college classroom. This really helped me understand how big the classes are. Overall, being on campus allowed me to gain a full scope on what student life and education at UT is like.

Not only was I able to stroll around the college campus, but I was also given the opportunity to visit their medical school! This was vital (as I want to go into healthcare) for my future as I was able to see the lab and lecture rooms, as well as some of the advanced technology used in the facility. I even got to see a cadaver in the dissection room (although it was covered in a body bag).

Every Wednesday, for the duration of my camp, I went to the Seton Clinical Education Center where they train their nurses. I was able to use high-tech mannequins to practice phlebotomy procedures on, suturing techniques, casting, intubation, and other techniques that I will be learning more extensively and in-depth during medical school.  I am proud of myself because I was able to learn the basics of these techniques even before I went into college or medical school!

I was also able to experience what it’s like being a doctor by using mannequins and performing procedures on them. My favorite procedure I performed would have to be delivering a baby. Interestingly, they had a mannequin where you could put the baby in and witness the baby coming out and deliver it. It even came with a fake placenta attached to it that was wet. I was able to witness countless real life scenarios doctors go through on a daily basis while replicating that through the use of realistic mannequins.

Just spending time in the vast facility was already enough for me. The training center was previously part of a hospital and the floor we worked on was the pediatric cancer ward. This hits very close to home as I would like to become a pediatric oncologist in the future, and being on the floor and in the rooms and overall environment where actual cancer patients are treated drastically transformed my view. Every time I looked up at the ceiling, I saw tiles painted by children who were treated in the past, and I was reminded of my goal towards assisting children like them in their fight against cancer.

For the three weeks I attended camp, I was able to take two college-level medical courses: Introduction to Medicine and Anatomy and Pathology. Both of my classes were taught by family practice doctors who work on the UT campus itself. While the Introduction class touched on the surface and base of medicine, the Anatomy and Pathology class went deeper into the terms and buildup of the human body. These two classes gave me a better understanding of what goes on in the healthcare field and helped me dive deeper into this field and ignite my passion for it.

Attending these two classes together let me have the perfect balance while studying as I was able to be part of a deeper level class. While I sometimes struggled to understand some of the terminology of the Anatomy class, the professor was very helpful and answered all my questions. In fact, both professors were willing to both answer any questions we had and provide us with testimonials from real life patient cases as examples. I really appreciated the assistance as I was able to see some of the things actual professionals have came across while trying to find ways of how to diagnose them with my limited medical knowledge. Through this, I was able to learn the mindset of a doctor and know how they are able to look at patients and effectively treat them.

(Also, if you are someone aspiring to go into the medical field and you want to practice diagnosing patients that doctors have had in real life, check out the app, Full Code!)

What’s a summer camp without making some new friends? The Summer Discovery program is comprised of high school students all around the world! I was able to meet people from places far, far away from Austin! I met people from Italy, Brazil, Puerto Rico, China and, Dubai! Crazy, right? Also, some people came from different states in the nation such as California, Florida, Utah, Ohio, and many more! Because of this program, I met a whole lot of people with different customs and backgrounds than me, and made a bunch of friends from all around!

That pretty much sums up my voyage with Summer Discovery at UT Austin! I’d like to thank the program coordinators for both making this such a fun and memorable part of my school career even though I didn’t stay on campus and for the once in a lifetime opportunity I was offered! I recommend this camp for anyone willing to discover a college campus! (Summer Discovery isn’t only at UT Austin, there are many other locations). 10/10!

Hey! I am Riya Patel, a content creator for Fiveable. I live in Round Rock, Texas, and I am an incoming junior on the Pre-IB track. Although I plan to go into the IB Program, I have taken multiple AP courses throughout my course in High School, and intend to take more.

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