Imagine the following scenario on the first day of class. You walk into a room full of new faces, which are filled with eager to make friends. You sit down at an empty desk, and smile at your neighbor. The professor has not arrived, so you swivel around and ask, “Have you taken another philosophy class before?” The conversation naturally drifts to your current academic year and your area of study. How would you introduce yourself?

In similar situations, I was inclined to present myself by revealing my major and my standing as a “premed.” However, I quickly realized that there are numerous stigmas about premeds on campus regarding competitive work ethic and overbearing attitudes. As a result, I decided to introduce myself as a student interested in Health Systems Management who is currently taking science courses. Surprisingly, I started to feel a shift of attitude. Many individuals were unaware that I was a student following the pre-med curriculum, since I never directly stated that I planned to pursue medicine. Fellow classmates consequently mentioned their negative feelings about students on the premed track. Such encounters made me hesitant if I should disclose information about my future goals. Why did I feel embarrassed about these stereotypes if they did not apply to myself? At that particular moment, I began to disassemble the social constructs of what it means to be a premedical student.

The term “premed” may be representative of my coursework at Loyola University as an undergraduate; however, I refuse to admit it is a profile that I must fit. After my initial year at college, I was able to understand that physicians do not have to match a defined silhouette. Ergo, I feel much more passionate about medicine by overcoming the tendency to compare myself to the norm, or the “typical cookie-cutter premed.” This is not to say that the typical norm has any issues; I personally feel it pressures students to imitate something they may not be passionate about. However, this perspective only exists as long as the term “premed” is used as a noun, a set profile, versus an adjective, that indicates a common goal to explore medicine. There will come a day where the term is viewed as an adjective that does not call upon common stereotypes. Personally, the term no longer defines what I should be; it indicates the limitless opportunities.