:: Spotlight: Carrie Smith

Posted: June 25, 2012

Photo of Carrie Smith
Carrie Smith took BIO 325-
Genetics with UEX to fulfill
a prerequisite course
requirement for Texas
medical schools.

UEX Helps Pre-med Student Go Back to School

Carrie Smith thought her lifelong dream of becoming a doctor had eluded her, but with courses from University Extension (UEX), she is back on the road to an MD.

Below Carrie describes her career aspirations and experiences as a UEX student in her own words.

“I’ve wanted to be a doctor for as long as I can remember. I took some of the prerequisite courses for medical school as an undergrad at the University of Florida (UF), but I felt like my grades weren’t good enough. I abandoned my dreams of being a physician and began exploring other career options.

After college, I moved to Austin and began working for an insurance company. It’s a great job with excellent benefits and great work/life balance. I’ve done well, receiving two promotions in my first year with the company, but I haven’t found the work to be very stimulating or interesting.

I also continued to explore my interest in medicine, volunteering for organizations like the Blood and Tissue Center of Central Texas and Meals on Wheels and shadowing doctors to learn more about their specializations. I shadowed an opthamologist and an anesthesiologist and found both experiences fascinating. After careful consideration of these experiences, I decided to fight for a chance to get into medical school!

The first step for me was to go back to school in order to complete the required prerequisite classes. I started looking into pre-med course options for post-baccalaureate students at The University of Texas at Austin. I quickly discovered University Extension (UEX) and was really happy with the selection of courses.

I was eager to rededicate myself to the path to medicine, but I was a bit nervous about taking on a full course load. I work two jobs, so it’s not easy finding classes that fit my schedule. Amazingly, the class I was most interested in taking (BIO 325) fit perfectly with my schedule, meeting just two evenings a week.

Another concern was the difficulty of the pre—med courses that I needed. Although I graduated from college just two years ago, it’s been closer to 5 years since I’ve taken a difficult science course. Taking one really challenging course seemed like enough to test my abilities but also not overload myself right away. I knew that if I did well in this class, it would not only help improve my GPA, but also boost my confidence going forward.

I found myself actually looking forward to going to class. The class size was really small - less than 10 students. Coming from a big university like UF, I really appreciated the rare opportunity to get to know the professor and ask questions during class. The professor, Dr. Janice Fischer, teaches the same class to regular UT students, and she held us to the same standards. She was very accommodating with her schedule, understanding that most of us were working full time and had other commitments. Dr. Fischer really wanted all of us to succeed.

Balancing two jobs and a difficult course was not easy, but I know that the experience helped me learn how to effectively study, which will definitely pay off in the long run. Genetics was a tough class, but that is also what made it so rewarding when I finished with an A.”

Carrie took BIO 325 - Genetics with UEX.

Genetics is one of the prerequisite courses requirements for medical schools in Texas. UEX offers a selection of pre-med courses every semester and as self-paced online courses.

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