How I Survived as a Pre-Med and Army ROTC Cadet at UC Berkeley

The photo shows myself at a UC Berkeley Army ROTC FTX (or Field Training Exercise)

Hey there! If you are reading this, then it means that you have either chosen to depart on this insane Pre-Med x Army ROTC cadet journey or you might just be thinking about it. Or…the 3rd option is that your scrolling through our Bear Talk Blogs and this popped up on your screen, and you were like “hey this sounds interesting :).” Either way, I’ll be sharing classified information for your eyes only. DON’T TELL ANYONE THAT I POSTED THIS… the Ultimate Survival Guide to a Pre-Medical/Army ROTC Student Life. This guide is a culmination of all my experiences in “Goku-level training” as well as superhuman studying that made me into the person that I am today. In this blog, I will give you all the tips and tricks you need to become successful in this pursuit. Before reading, please check out my previous article as I give you a glimpse to My Life as a YouTube Travel Vlogger at Cal!

Here’s an Average Day of my Life:

I wake up at 5:00 am every day. Then I eat a small meal and rush, usually sprint, my way over to Hearst gymnasium to do morning physical training (PT) with my Army ROTC Company Unit at 6:00 am. PT varies throughout the week as we sometimes run 4-6 miles. While on other days, we would do weight training exercises at the gym to improve our muscle endurance. After an intense workout, I would take a shower and get ready for my morning class at 8 am. Classes (including lectures, discussions, and labs) usually fill up my schedule until late afternoon. By the end of the day, around 7 pm, my brain is always throbbing as I’ve digested a wealth of material from my pre-medical prerequisite classes. These usually include lectures that cover topics on biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, sociology/psychology, and more.

This is a picture of my company unit at UC Berkeley. We were doing a run at Berkeley Marina.

You might be thinking “Oh man that’s a tough day. I’m glad it’s over!” Well, that’s actually the beginning of my day. Medical schools want pre-meds to not only present themselves well in academics, but also in the extracurriculars that they are involved in. These include undergraduate research, volunteering, as well as clubs on campus. So here I am..finishing my classes thinking that I’m done, but my schedule says that I still have club meetings to attend to. And so I go to my meetings. By the time the meeting finishes, the Campanile’s bell tower rings over a dark sky. I look at my watch and find that it’s a little past 9 pm. From there, I walk home and get ready to eat dinner. As I finish dinner and showering, it’s usually 10:30 pm. And my whole body feels exhausted…”oh man, I can now get a good night’s sleep” you’re probably thinking. But you’re forgetting one thing. I haven’t studied for my classes yet or even finished my homework. Hence, I then spend about 2 more hours studying before I go to sleep.

The scenario that I described marks an average day of my life. It’s tough..I admit, but it’s necessary as both a cadet and a pre-med. I’ve embarked on this journey because this is the person who I wanted to become…the best version of myself. Know your reasons and remember them every single day when you feel like quitting! Throughout this journey, I’ve realized that although this lifestyle is intimidating and formidable, I was stronger than I thought and more capable than I imagined. Here are my 3 best tips to prepare for this journey:

  1. Elevate your physical fitness level and stay in shape by working out consistently (ROTC puts an emphasis on your physical endurance so run often!)
  2. Eat healthy and get lots of protein in your diet because you’re going to be expending a significant amount of ATP.
  3. Try setting up a consistent sleep/wake routine so that you are prepared for this lifestyle.

Click here for my previous article as I give you a glimpse of my Cal YouTuber life. If you want to know how I became a YouTuber or how you can become a YouTuber, then this is the blog for you. Please connect with me if you have any questions or additional resources that you would like!

We took a funny picture during Halloween physical training.

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Author: Vincent Ooi

HEY EVERYONE! I'm Vince, pleased to meet you. As an upcoming junior at UC Berkeley, I have plenty of tips as well as "extraordinary" stories to share with you....EXCLUSIVELY to those that read my posts. I will include life hacks that can help you excel in your years as a student at UC Berkeley or anywhere in the world. The experiences that I'm about to share with you will change your perspective on life as well as your days as a Golden Bear.