Volunteering Highlight for Pre-Medicine Students

For Pre-Medicine students, having a well rounded resume is essential. Have you ever thought about volunteering by doing something that will get you medical experience outside of the hospital? UIowa Mobile Clinic does just this.

The mission of UIowa Mobile Clinic is to provide health screening and services to under-served populations within the Iowa City area. During each free visit, a patient will have the opportunity to undergo blood glucose testing for a diabetes screening, blood pressure and vitals screening, cholesterol screenings, health education, and physician services. Some clinics even offer flu shots, HIV & Hepatitis C testing, dental services, social work, and physical therapy evaluations. All clinics are in a non-hospital setting, and as the name “Mobile Clinic” describes, everything we do is mobile. We unload materials from a car at the beginning of the day, and load the car back up at the end.

So what can you, as a University of Iowa undergraduate student, do without medical school experience? The answer is more than you think. With proper training (which is not time consuming at all) you can become an EMR (Electronic Medical Record) Expert, an interpreter (for languages of Spanish, Arabic, and/or French), a scribe, an HIV/HCV screener, a patient educator, or a patient advocate. You could even run the labs or vitals station!

The great thing about Mobile Clinic is that you can volunteer in any position you are trained for and as much as you want. Of course you can only volunteer at the times and locations clinics are offered, but there are so many options to choose from. My best advice is train early. At the beginning of the semester, there is always a big rush of people who hear about Mobile Clinic for the first time and this causes a flood of people finishing training quickly and filling up all the volunteer slots.

In my experience with Mobile Clinic, I became trained on all the positions I could, but I have only worked (so far) as a scribe and as the volunteer who runs the lab station. I fell in love with these positions so much that I really wanted to focus on just these jobs rather than bouncing around from place to place. Being a scribe is so far my favorite position. I get to stay with current medical students and physicians, take notes for them, and still get to visit patients personally. In addition to this, I sometimes even get to practice my Spanish. I am by no means ready to be an interpreter, but a little practice never hurts.

As a first year college student getting hands on clinical experience such as this, I feel privileged not only to volunteer doing something I love but also to be helping others in the process. Where else are you able to go to college and do these kinds of things as a freshman undergraduate student outside of a hospital and at your own time?

If you are interested in learning more about mobile clinic’s mission, services, or volunteering program, learn more about the Iowa Mobile Clinic.

 

 

My First Dance Marathon

Dance Marathon is the largest student organization at the University of Iowa. Every year this organization graciously raises funds FTK (For The Kids) fighting pediatric cancer in the University of Iowa’s Stead Family Children’s Hospital, celebrates those winning their battle against pediatric cancer, and remembers the kids who are now dancing in our hearts. Dance Marathon has now been striving to fight pediatric cancer for 27 years, and in the process, students have raised and collected over $30 million in donations. Needless to say, this organization fights strongly.

Throughout the typical, non-pandemic year, students interact with the patients at the hospital in a variety of ways. Mostly by checking in with them, playing games, and of course dancing. A variety of events are held throughout the year for these strong kids, but this year looked a little different.

Without being able to interact in person, a lot of virtual activities took place. By meeting up with families over Zoom, or by sending a virtual wave, dancers did everything they could this year to continue showing their love and support not only for the kids but for their families, too.

Instead of having the typical 24-hour event in person, a live stream appeared this year so everyone can celebrate virtually. We watched 9 kids graduate 5 years of cancer treatment, we listened to countless family’s fighting stories, we cheered on kids as they performed their talents in a talent show, and of course, we danced! A pandemic certainly did not stop this year’s celebration FTK, it only altered it. We rose with resilience to alter how we experienced the big event this year, but we have to remember sometimes the families we support can only attend virtually in a typical year due to their child’s health status.

This is what made the event so special. Even though we were not all in the same space, we all celebrated in the same way. We all fought for the kids. We all praised the families for their strength. We all remembered those that are dancing in our hearts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I joined Dance Marathon I chose to join miracle group two, because two was the number of my father’s favorite NASCAR driver. I lost my father to cancer, so the fight is important to me. Being apart of group two reminds me of why the battle is important and maybe even personal for every single person taking part in this student organization. Whether we joined because we knew someone personally affected by cancer, or simply want to stop anyone from having to fight this battle, we all are here for the same cause: to fight for a cure so no one, especially the kids, has to go through this battle.

Of course, I can’t talk about UIDM27 without telling you all how much our tote board revealed. This year, we raised $1,422,443.27 all FTK! In addition to raising funds, UIDM27 had their first official Move-A-Thon this year where over 4 million miles walked, ran, or cycled we made in name of the kids!

Even though my first year being apart of this organization was virtual, I wouldn’t take the experience back for the world. I got to meet so many wonderful people, find supporters from all over the country, talk to the strongest kids I have ever met, and of course, celebrate with them all of our hard work. I can’t wait to see what next year brings!

To learn more about Dance Marathon at the University of Iowa, click here. You can learn about individual families we support and their stories, individual dancers and their fundraising efforts, about the programs we sponsor FTK, and of course how you can make a difference!

Self Care During Finals

Finals are stressful, but a lot of stress can be alleviated with self care. Are you taking care of yourself during this time?

Here are some things to keep in mind with finals approaching:

  • Take a break
      • You deserve it. You have made it through an entire semester during a pandemic. Don’t stress out studying now.
      • Watch some TV, go out to eat, hang out with some friends, or something else just get your mind off of school for awhile.
  • Treat yourself
      • Yes you need a break, but make your breaks beneficial for your health, too.
      • Take a long shower, use a face mask, or eat some junk food. The point is to do something nice for yourself that you don’t get to do often. Use this as a motivator during this stressful time.
  • Study
      • Of course you can’t prepare for finals without studying, but study with purpose.
      • Put your phone and any other distractions away.
      • Study for short periods of time with plenty of breaks, because the last thing you want to do is try and cram in information just to forget it by tomorrow.
      • Change up your scenery. Study somewhere where you feel comfortable, but try and get out this week to a spot where you know when you are there, you are there to study.
  • Sleep
      • Do not stay up late studying. You are going to want to be well rested for all of those tests you are preparing for.
      • Losing sleep means losing information. It will take longer to focus the more tired you become, so pick up the books when you are more well rested tomorrow, because they will still be there.
  • Stay healthy
      • If you go out in public to study, keep your mask on and wash your hands often.
      • Don’t forget to eat your meals and drink lots of water. I find myself lost in my studies and missing meal times, don’t let this happen to you during finals because you need all of the energy you can get.
      • Keep up your basic hygiene. Save time for the daily things: shower, brush your teeth, and comb your hair. The more you make this week normal, the easier it will seem.
      • Take off some steam at the gym. Even if it is just a short workout, it will get you up and moving out of your study spot for a while.
  • Take it one day at a time
      • I get that you are stressed and have a lot to do, but take a second to make a list of things that have to be done, and divide it into a daily agenda. This will help you stay task oriented.
      • Have confidence in yourself.
      • Stay positive, you just have a little bit of the semester left to go. Go Hawks!

Advice for a First Generation College Student

How do you stay afloat, updated, and on track? Going to college is a challenge on its own, but to go to college and have no family member to rely on for college experience questions makes it even harder.

I am a first generation college student, and sometimes I feel like I blend in to the crowd, but many times I feel like I am out of the loop. I’m not going to lie, trying to figure out how college works on your own is hard. There are going to be times of shock where you learn something that everyone else just seems to know. But hey, you have to start somewhere.

My advice to you is to get involved and meet with as many advisors and professors as you can.

Getting involved in student organizations, Greek life, or even volunteering will give you a sense of community. Just like Greek life, many student organizations assign newcomers a “big” or a “parent”, which is like a student mentor for the organization itself, but these are also people you will grow close with and be able to ask a variety of questions to.

However, you are not limited to just asking questions to this mentor figure. Joining any community or group on campus of any sort will provide you someone to talk to. Just find someone you bond with. Don’t be afraid to be outgoing, and if needed, start the conversation yourself. “Hi, I’m new here,” is not a bad thing to say, and in fact that’s how I got pointed towards some of the best and most knowledgeable people I have met. It seems like everyone will excitedly talk about themselves and their college experiences, so learn from this. Even if they are a freshman, maybe they know a fun fact about the university, a neat program offered, or a cool study spot that you don’t know about. Take knowledge from anyone.

The University of Iowa offers a Living Learning Community for first generation college students. This means you will live on a residence hall floor with people just like you. You will learn together about the college experience. To learn more about the First Generation LLC, click here.

Also sponsored by the University of Iowa is the Iowa Edge program. This is an orientation to campus and college life.

As for meeting with advisors, this is crucial for first-year college students. Academic advisors will keep you on track to graduate and provide you with various opportunities that you may have never known to exist. This can range from first generation college student support groups, scholarships, or even simply something your advisor believes you may find interesting. Your academic advisor will be your greatest asset to guiding your college experiences. Of course, schedule however many meetings you are required to have, but schedule a few more. Really get to know your advisor so they can help you in the best way they see fit. After all, they are the one person on campus who seems up to date and knowledgeable on everything.

As for other advisors, this can range from professors to program mentors. Really, anyone can be an advising figure, you just have to meet with them regularly and ask them to share their knowledge. I have found going to professor office hours and just having a conversation with them has provided me a lot of knowledge about the university that I would have not otherwise gained, so don’t be afraid just to talk. It doesn’t have to be a formal advisor-advisee format.

Overall, my advice to you as a first generation college student is to be outgoing and meet with as many people as you can. You learn through experience, so don’t let an opportunity pass you by.

If you would like to learn more about being a first generation student at the University of Iowa, click here.

For resources to look into, click here.