A Day in the Pre-Med Life: California State University

A Day in the Life of a CSUF Pre-Med by Christopher Corral

My name is Christopher Corral and I am a third-year biology major at California State University-Fullerton. I want to be a physician because I believe it is the most fulfilling work I could ever do in my lifetime. To be an engineer of the human body is an amazing thing. I work towards becoming a physician by sticking to a schedule of continual progress. I feel that repeatedly getting out of my comfort zone to move forward will shape me as a doctor.

“My day typically starts in a rush to get out of the house. It takes me exactly 45 minutes to leave the house groomed and well-fed. After fighting slow AM traffic, I manage to get to school. By the time I park my car, I’m usually already late for my first class. A couple of science and lab classes later, I am mentally clocked out. I don’t sleep much, as I am constantly on the verge of falling behind. Luckily, there are plenty of Starbucks on campus ready to wake me up. In addition to satisfying my caffeine addiction, I take this time to grab some lunch. Luckily, in the city of Fullerton there is no shortage of restaurants ranging from Asian fusion to Mexican food.  Lunch time is essential to a CSUF Titan. A time of day where we can enjoy a moment of serenity before jumping back into the hustle and bustle.
The campus is usually a ghost town by 8PM. On Thursdays and Fridays, the school is equally as empty as the most sociable classmates have already made plans to go out and party. Usually, only the most dedicated students remain. Pre-med students tend to hang out throughout the science building, forming study groups to help each other out. When I hang out with the other pre-med students I always wonder if I am working as hard as they are. We have a bad habit of making things look easy while we are secretly drowning in our own workload. A typical discussion can cover anything from the best bench press routine to the latest gossip on the CSUF Compliments Facebook page. For the span of a conversation, we almost forget we are trying to be doctors.
School is the easy part of being a pre-med at CSUF. I simply show up and study hard. What makes being a pre-med difficult is what you do in your spare time. Personally, I juggle three activities: a part-time job selling phones, volunteering, and research. Sales is something that I was always drawn to because my father was a car salesman. Naturally, I chose cell phones because I truly believe cell phones are amazing pieces of technology. On Wednesday nights I help check-in patients into the emergency room. This job I cherish the most because it allows me to experience medicine with a hands-on approach. As for my research, I work under Dr. Merri Lynn Casem who runs a lab full of black widows. I study embryonic, as well as behavioral, development of black and brown widows. It is like raising a family of deadly helpless children. We feed and take care of them on a regular basis in order to extract their eggs.
As the semester goes on, things begin to change. Breakfast is usually the first thing to go. Second, I stop exercising as I begin to push more time into studying. By finals week, I hardly answer my phone. I cut down on all distractions until I am basically down to three things: eating, sleeping and studying. It’s a vicious cycle. It is one that students who are pursuing a career in medicine willingly go through every semester. Nevertheless, there are many who can relate. While it may sound grueling, pre-med students here at CSUF are really passionate about what we do. Somehow, we always keep a smile on our faces despite the hardships of participating in a competitive culture. Missing lunch doesn’t seem to bother pre-meds here at CSUF as much because we are a special kind of crazy. The kind of crazy that is necessary to achieve greatness.”