No, I’m Not Pre-Med

Illustration by Justine Liang.

Illustration by Justine Liang.

Hi, my name is Yaamini Venkataraman. I’m a second year General Biology major. And no, I’m not Pre-Med.

Every time I introduce myself as a biology major here at UCSD, someone always asks if I’m Pre-Med. When I answer no, I get one of two responses.

  1. Oh, good for you! Less competition for me (This person is generally a gung-ho pre-med student who’s aching to become a doctor and go to the best medical school possible)!
  2. So…what do you do? (This response is usually accompanied with the twisting of facial muscles that indicate confusion.)

And so I give them the usual spiel: I’ve been turned off from the medical field for several reasons, including the fact that I don’t know if I could be entirely responsible for someone else’s health. Hospitals scare me — there is no way to make working at a place possibly crawling with MRSA enticing. But most importantly, almost everyone I run into wants to be a doctor, so why do something I’m not completely interested in when a hundred other people would rather do it?

Here’s the confusing part though: the Division of Biological Sciences is one of the largest and most diverse divisions on campus, so why is the fact I’m not Pre-Med so surprising to strangers? Shouldn’t there be more people in my position? Not every professor in our division is involved in the medical field, so there must be students looking to go into alternative lines of work.

My goal is to find them. Not only find them, but also tell their stories (and perhaps mine in the process). I want to explore our division, find what makes it unique and be inspired by everything it represents. Because what’s the point in being a doctor when you could be something else?


Yaamini is a second-year General Biology and Environmental policy double major who knows she isn't pre-med, but doesn't know where that will end up taking her for sure. Join her on her journey through the vast field of biology as she explores different career paths and does a little soul-searching herself.