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Pre-Med Workshop

Part of the work completed by the Vocation Implementation Team (VIT) is campus programming such as implementing vocationally-centered curriculum (see here), funding mini-grants for faculty and students who are interested in creating their own initiatives (see here), and also heading workshops for students and faculty (see here).

In February, the VIT conducted a workshop for the Pre-Med program. This workshop was led by Karen Velasquez, Director of Experiential Learning and chair of the Innovation Sub-Committee, and had 15 students in attendance. To open the workshop, the students were asked to reflect on what vocation meant to them. Students responded with ideas like “vocation is learning what works for you and what doesn’t” and spoke of their experiences in different leadership positions and how these experiences taught them more about their vocation. Between servant leadership and volunteering, the students felt they were able to develop outside skills that help lead them closer to what they feel more strongly about; medicine. 

Next, the students were handed paper and markers and given 15 minutes to “map” their personal vocation stories. Each student was uniquely different in their approach to their map as well as with the content each map included.

After sharing and reflecting in small groups, the students joined back into the large group for a closing discussion. One student discussed how mapping their journey allowed them to think not only about all that they have accomplished, but to focus on how each accomplishment taught them something about themselves. Students also discussed how their maps seemed to coherently flow to where they are now yet, when they remember being at certain points in their maps, how they did not know where they were going. There were times of confusion and insecurity and in response to these times, the students focused on getting more involved and working to find answers. 

When asked if the students had advice for incoming first-years on how to figure out their vocations, one student responded by saying “don’t be afraid to talk to your advisor” because advisors “help you discern what you want to do and not just what your program laid out for you.” More specifically for incoming pre-med students, another student advised “shadow right away because then you know what you want to do and you see it firsthand.” Experiences such as these allow you to learn that you either love something or you do not. 

At the end of the workshop, the students discussed the importance of personal reflection. According to one student, you must “force yourself to do some reflection because it helps you feel comfortable knowing you have a bright future despite unsure plans” and while reflecting may not always make you feel better, reflection can also “give you a good sense of where you are now.” Too often students are focused on the future and not appreciating where they are now.

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