Hi everyone! My name is Macey Melinek. I am a fourth year undergraduate in the Bachelor of Health Science program on the pre-medical track, while pursuing a minor in Disabilities in Society. I am originally from Plantation, Florida, which is right outside Fort Lauderdale. I come from a long line of Gators, so I’ve been extremely happy to keep the Gator Nation tradition back at home! Aside from academics, I love to be outside, participate in all kinds of sports, and enjoy being social with my friends and family. Before attending the University of Florida, I was a competitive softball player, winning many awards and recognitions, but decided that I wanted to finish that chapter of my book, and start a new one at UF. After graduation, I plan on taking a growth year as I continue to apply to medical school programs to gain more clinical experience and volunteering, and hopefully enter the pediatric field in the future.
As an undergraduate, I made sure to become involved on and off-campus in order to find a balance between my academics and social life, while also making the large campus seem smaller. I began my journey at UF by joining the Panhellenic Sorority, Alpha Epsilon Phi. It was there where I made lifelong friends and got to meet a diverse group of women who helped me find my identity, and gave me the confidence to be the person I am today. I was always on the shyer side growing up, and this organization was just one of the experiences where I began to come out of my shell. I was elected to the Executive Board as the Vice President of Social Standards, where my professional development started to bloom. Simultaneously, I was an active member, and now Co-Director of the Primary Care Committee for UFL Pre-Med American Medical Student Association (AMSA). I also joined the College of PHHP’s LEAP Program my sophomore year as a mentee. Eventually I made my way up to a mentor, and I am beyond proud to say that I will be serving as the Director of Mentors on the Senior Executive Board for this incredible organization. These programs have given me the opportunity to not only find students that have a passion for healthcare and the future of medicine, but are a diverse group of individuals that have supported me in my professional and academic development.
In addition to these on-campus organizations, I have done my share of off-campus involvement as well. As a volunteer at Shands Hospital for several semesters, specifically in the NICU, I have been able to give back to the units that have enabled me the opportunity to live in this world. As a NICU baby myself, I was able to share a personal connection with the babies I was holding and the staff I interacted with, hoping that they would be able to take on the world like I am and be happy and healthy children. I have also served as a reading tutor at Kids Count Alachua County with the goal of assisting elementary students in underserved areas of Alachua County in learning how to read and write. I always like to think that although there are many children these organizations have been helping, if I’m able to make an impact on just one, change will be made.
The BHS program has been one I am extremely grateful for. All of my friends know how much I love this program, the professors, the advisors, and the faculty involved because I never stop talking about it! I have made the most meaningful connections to this program, and have learned a broad scope of topics, such as Public Health, Healthcare Systems, many diseases/disorders, and the biological-environmental interaction humans have on a daily basis along the way. The Health Science program offers so much room for growth to discover their passions. I have fallen in love with many of the courses offered in this program, specifically the Survey of Disease and Disabilities 1 and 2 combo, along with the U.S. Healthcare System, making me even more excited for my senior year. They gave me another perspective on how I view the world, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The professors and advisors in this program are supportive, caring, knowledgeable, and willing to go the extra mile for their students. I want to thank everyone involved in my journey through this program, and the ones that continue to make it shine at UF.
Now, rather than going into the ins-and-outs of my academics as an undergraduate pre-medical student, I would like to reflect on these experiences, and devote this part to the advice I would give to students like me who have had a rigorous academic experience and have maybe struggled to find their balance between self-care, tough courses, involvement, and a social life. I have always asked my advisors how to find this balance, and there is no correct answer because it is up to you to experiment with what works best for you. I have realized the immense pressure students, including me, have put on themselves to check off boxes and try to be competitive with their peers. I understand this may be the case for many students, but my main piece of advice is to reduce the amount of pressure you put on yourself and focus on trying your best. I was the type of student to push myself too hard, and although I always came out alright when grades were released, it was a mental, physical, and emotional toll I put on myself. When I reduced the pressure I placed on myself and stopped comparing myself to my peers, I saw the same results except I was happier. We’re all in the same boat as pre-professional students, so rather than trying to compete with them, collaborate and gain from one another’s strengths and weaknesses.
I am honored by this opportunity to share my incredible experience as a BHS student, and am more than happy to connect with anyone who has any questions or comments about any one of my experiences. Please reach out to me through email@example.com! I’m excited to embark on my last year at the University of Florida, and am hopeful that this has made an impact on you as future health professionals. Thank you and as always, Go Gators!