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how the UP PMS application process cultivates change

by Cess Rana and Sophia Diamante

For 67 years, the UP Pre-medical Society has been dedicated to seeking out stellar individuals who wish to become part of the country’s future frontliners for compassionate medical service.

Both steadfast in adhering to tradition and dynamic in changing to suit the recent times, the UP PMS application process has always been a future member’s introduction to our ideals and values as an organization. There is no better reflection of the society’s commitment to grow onwards and upwards than its application process. In this issue of Vox, we have invited resident members, both active and alumni, to talk about their personal experiences throughout the application process.

Navigating the Space

The application process of PMS has always aimed to discover the core of the individual - their work styles, motivations, and relationships with others are all considered as they apply.

One of our younger members, Kyla Salvanera (22A) shared that the planning and execution of Talent’s Night was one for the books. She shared feeling accomplished as she and her batchmates were able to showcase their talents and make happy memories with the rest of the members of PMS. As a way to show batch unity, Talent’s Night has always been something both applicants and members look forward to each year.

For alumni Adry Villanueva (20A), the culmination of the application process, our Final Interviews, were one of the highlights of her experience.

“I also learned so much more about myself as an individual -- like what I value and how I can still grow more as a doctor.”

This stage of the application process encourages our applicants to reflect on their journey and on the valuable lessons that the organization aims to teach them. As such, it can be a very emotional point for the applicant - a small “I did it!” moment that we have all experienced at some point.

Francis Frigillana (19A) chooses to look beyond the app-specific events and instead focus on the mundane yet meaningful interactions he was able to have with the organization, saying:

“Just hanging out in the tambayan, eating dinner with the members and applicants, and even just riding in a car with them. [...] I guess you could say that I applied for the Society for its advocacies and events but I definitely stayed for the people.”

We’ve all been there. The quiet moments with PMS members, though strained because of the effects of the pandemic and lockdown, are what makes the organization special. After all, beyond the rigor and stress of the application process, we’re all just college students looking for a family to navigate this period of our life with. With the changing landscape of online to face-to-face interactions, there’s sure to be more of these moments to be found.

Speaking of change, of course, we have seen how the application process has changed throughout the years. Perhaps most prominent was its transition from face-to-face to online after the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and now, we have also begun to return to a more blended form of the application process. Throughout this time, the organization has done its best to adapt to the circumstances while still maintaining the quality and rigor of the selection process. All of our interviewees echo the same sentiments: that the process became more flexible to cater to our applicants’ needs, while still keeping the lessons and traditions passed down in the previous years.

Looking Back on Learnings

The lessons learned and passed down through the PMS application process is not limited to the confines of the Society. As many of the resident members and alumni have shared, the lessons imparted from the application process have also helped them during their college journey.

One such lesson was that of batch unity. Francis (19A) used to have difficulty in trusting his groupmates and asking for assistance, which led him to prefer working alone. However, the app process helped him recognize the importance of letting people in and working with them.

“There are just some things that are impossible to accomplish on your own and we all have to rely on others at one point or another. We need to have faith in others and we also have to learn how to ask for help."

The lesson of batch unity serves as a reminder for one universal truth, which is that no man is an island. It is in our nature to be around, help, and rely on each other. As many of the members aspire to become medical professionals, this is a vital lesson to learn. Even for those who seek pursuits elsewhere, batch unity proves to be invaluable, as many great things can only be accomplished by working with others together.

Kyla (22A) shared how the lesson of valuing deadlines helped her juggle the different things that she had going on in her life. Many of the members of the Society may relate to the reality of being highly involved in challenging academic programs, as well as different extracurriculars. This can easily get overwhelming, but setting and following deadlines can help one organize and manage their time.

Another lesson that can help the members deal with their many commitments is that of grace under pressure. Adry (20A) realized that taking measures to manage moments of panic, such as stepping back and taking deep breaths, helped her maintain clarity of mind during stressful situations. Not only did this help her in academic situations, but in social ones as well.

“I used to be extremely panicky when handling meetings or facilitating discussions, but learning how to be graceful under pressure has allowed me to be more confident in myself and to let go of my irrational fears.”

Grace under pressure is easy to say, but difficult to do.The reality is that life is not complete without its challenging moments. Many of us will find it difficult to maintain gracefulness, especially in new experiences and encounters. However, like any other skill, it is something that can continually be perfected through practice.

The many lessons learned during the application process are not simply there to make individuals better members of the Society or to make individuals better medical school students or doctors. They are also ways for the members to develop so that they may reach their greatest potential and thrive during difficulties.

Growing Together

Such as any fulfilling experience, the PMS application process is not an easy one. During moments that it may become difficult, it may be helpful to read the encouragement given by our resident members and alumni.

“Make the most out of your stay! The people and projects are great! You'll learn so much about yourself and make amazing bonds only if you allow it.” - Adry Villanueva, 20A
“My advice to new mems/aspiring mems is to always remember the purpose of your joining! In life, it’s not always lemons or rainbows, which is why it is very important to trace back your roots as well as the purpose of why you are here right now. Stay strong always, but don’t be afraid to acknowledge that you have weak moments!” - Kyla Salvanera, 22A
“No family is perfect. In PMS, there will be good times and there will be bad. We will laugh together but we might also become frustrated. However, it is important that we stick together and work towards creating a better and more welcoming community not only for our current members but also for the future! So while we enjoy each other’s companies, don’t forget to also voice out any concerns that you may have!” - Francis Frigilliana, 19A

Prospective applicants will experience many challenges, as they are exposed to different projects and events that are handled by the Society. Like a blacksmith sharpening iron, the application process seeks out to bring the best in new members and allow them to go through valuable growth and lessons. In the same way, the Society continues to simultaneously evolve and honor traditions through the new members who will carry on the charge of giving it life.


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