Nhung Tran

nht024@ucsd.edu

I entered UCSD as a human biology major and a pre-med student. Shortly after one quarter, I switched to Earth Sciences and no longer wanted to pursue medicine due to a rough first quarter. After intense self-reflection, I decided to continue pursuing medicine and improve my pre-med path to be more enjoyable andĀ enrichingĀ such as pursuing another field of science.

Since medical schools do not require me to pursue a specific major such as human biology, biochemistry, cellular biology, or any other typical “pre-med” biology, I am pursuing Ecology, Behavior and Evolution (EBE) which is the perfect blend of biology and environmental science.

It really helps that almost all of the classes required for medical school also apply to my major.

The natural world has been an immense part of my adventurous childhood and my curiosity. I realized that everything EBE could offer me is more valuable to me personally. In high school, I did not have to opportunity to academically pursue ecology-specific courses and neither will I have that opportunity in medical school. For most, the undergraduate experience is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. There is no other perfect time to dedicate 4 years to pursuing answers not only to topics related to my future career but also to questions about the world around me.

From the EBE courses I have taken so far, I learned about how and why animals behave the way they do in order to survive, how climate change has projected a shift of ecosystems northward and higher in altitude, and creative geoengineering innovations to combat climate change. Furthermore, I cannot wait to take an SIO course at Scripps campus this coming fall on microbes’ importance in medicine and their adaption to so many different environments such as those in the deep sea and in my guts. Switching to EBE has been one of the best decisions I have made at UCSD because not only does EBE offer me an array of interesting courses but also topics that I can talk about as a first step to show the admission committee that there is more to me than my interest in pursuing medicine.

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