Spotlight: Sara Imam

The SNMA-MAPS board members are a great resource here at UChicago. The spotlight blog posts are an opportunity for you guys to get to know the board better and receive great advice. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them for more information!


Sara Imam
Class of 2015
(1) What career were you interested in before you came to UChicago?

Before coming to UChicago, I was interested in pursuing a career in neuroscience. My senior year of high school I tool AP Psychology and learned a lot about the brain. I was really fascinated about how neurons work, particularly how a single organ (the brain) is responsible for keeping the human body functioning at all times. In addition,

(2) How has your perspective on that career changed in your time here?

My perspective on a career has changed significantly. Given my experiences at UChicago, I am now much more interested in pursuing a career that addresses public health disparities as well as issues regarding health policy and healthcare. After taking an upper level psych class my first year (that focused on neuroscience) I realized that although I loved learning about the brain and biological psychology, it didn’t align with my passion effect the lives of community members directly. Through the UCHIP Potter Fellowship in Community and Social Medicine, I was able to learn more about health disparities prevalent among the South Side and also learned more about issues surrounding healthcare and the way it has been implemented in America. Through the program I was able to get more involved with research that aimed to address these disparities in medicine. It is with this sort of work where I felt I could get the most involved in helping the community through medicine and research.

(3) What do you think students should focus on in their first year and first summer?

Something I wish someone would have told me fist was to just focus on school. When you come to UChicago, you see so many people that are so involved with RSO’s and research, that it makes you want to just jump right into anything you can get your hands on. But I don’t think that is best thing to do by any means, especially if you are a pre-med. First year you should just focus on solidifying your study habits and focusing on developing your academic lifestyle. Take core classes and gen chem. Definitely only take 3 classes fall and winter, if you can take 3 during the spring also, I would recommend that as well. In terms of first summer, I would recommend first years reach out to career advancement at the beginning of winter quarter to look for metcalfs. If that doesn’t work out, start emailing professors/research coordinators about shadowing, doing research, or volunteering. There isn’t much pressure to do anything the summer after your first year, but more experience never hurts.

(4) What do you think are the most valuable resources available here that student need to take advantage of?

Definitely the UCIHP office in Harper. Cassie and Joni are such great women and they have so much helpful advice. I wish I had known they existed first year, definitely something I feel like I missed out on. Additionally, career advancement is great resource for resume creating, editing, and formatting. Also the upper class-men in SNMA-MAPS are soooooo helpful (shame-less plug, but it’s true). They are so real and so insightful because they have gone through the process, so they know what is best for students.

(5) What are the biggest mistakes pre-med students tend to make and how can they avoid them?

I think the biggest mistake pre-meds make is being way too committed to so many things outside of school. Being pre-med is HARD, and it gets even harder when you have to manage work, extracurriculars, and research. First year, you should focus solely on academics, then second year maybe an RSO/job, then third year you should start doing some research. It’s all about pacing your self and learning what works best for YOU. Additionally, people think being pre-med means you don’t get any sleep, not true at all. It’s very possible to get enough sleep while being pre-med if you create a manageable schedule, but that requires one to be honest with themselves about the time commitments they can make and the best way they get work done. Feel free to reach out to me at anytime if you have any (happy to help!)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s