Student Spotlight: Emily Voss, Prerequisites Program

Emily VossEmily Voss has taken several prerequisite courses at UNE Online during the course of her journey to become a doctor. She is currently a small business owner and photographer and has owned her photography business for nearly 10 years.

In this post, Emily talks about how she contemplated getting into the medical field and has found UNE’s courses to have been useful in helping her attain that goal.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and what encouraged you to seek out online prerequisite courses?

I’m 30 years old and I’ve owned and operated my own photography studio, VoSStudios, for the past nine years. I graduated from college in 2013 with an undergraduate degree in Fine Arts and Spanish, but I’ve always had an interest in medicine. Over the years my interests have evolved, and I found that I had a desire to go into the medical field.

Due to having a large diversity of interests as an undergrad, I didn’t take a lot of science courses, and I discovered that I needed to take more science courses as prerequisites for graduate school.

Not having these science courses plagued me for years – but I couldn’t figure out how I could feasibly run a full-time business, function as an adult – do everything else that comes along with that – and at the same time somehow show up at a campus 30 minutes away, multiple times per week. And all of that just to explore my options to see if I really did want to pursue a medical career.

When COVID-19 hit, I realized that other people were completing their science prerequisite courses online, so I did some research. And that’s when I found UNE Online and discovered the opportunity to be able to perform labs at home. Being able to perform physical labs as opposed to virtual labs on the computer was game-changing! Just last week I received a biology lab kit with 7 different specimens to dissect!

What would you like to do within the medical field?

I’m considering applying to medical school. I’m still in the process of shadowing – and things can certainly change – but I’m specifically interested in internal medicine or rheumatology at this point.

How has the flexibility of your online courses fit into your lifestyle?

The flexibility of the courses was the biggest draw for me. Running my business is more than a full-time endeavor, so I fit my schoolwork into the nooks and crannies of my day. I find it very valuable that I’m able to do my coursework early in the morning or late at night.

I’m pretty type A, so in general, I’m very good about keeping up with the courses. In the few instances that I’ve fallen a little behind due to outside obligations, it was comforting to know that everything would be ok because I could make up the time. And if I knew I had a super crazy week coming up, I could even get ahead a few weeks on my school work. The courses offer a lot of flexibility in that way.

The other huge thing for me was the frequent start dates. It was helpful that I didn’t have to wait an entire summer to pass to start a new course. Classes start twice a month, so I am able to fit in extra courses and overlap a second course when I anticipate things at work may slow down a bit.

Which online prerequisite courses have you taken with UNE Online so far?

So far I’ve completed Biology I, General Chemistry I Lecture & Lab, General Chemistry II Lecture and Lab, and Introduction to Psychology. I am now starting Biology II.

I’m also thinking of taking Applied Statistics through UNE, and I may take Medical Biochemistry.

As a business owner, how did you feel about your work-life balance as you completed these online prerequisite courses?

It’s a challenge, but I would expect that to be the case wherever I take courses. I knew going in that even though the courses would offer flexibility, they would also be a substantial time investment.

Has the COVID-19 pandemic influenced your decision to become a doctor?

Maybe to an extent, although it’s kind of always been in the back of my mind. More than anything, this pandemic has illuminated the need for providers, but it also allowed me a pause to be able to reconsider if I wanted to pursue another path.

What did you like best about the course curriculum that you’ve taken?

The biggest thing for me was being able to do the labs at home. The labs are not virtual – you’re using actual micro amounts of chemicals along with the scientific-grade lab equipment that’s required to physically perform those experiments, which has been crucial.

I probably wouldn’t have done the courses if the labs had been purely digital, with no physical aspect to them.

If you could give future online students a piece of advice, what would that be?

Go in knowing that you’re going to be spending a lot of time doing these courses. Get yourself emotionally prepared to invest that time, and really dive into the material. Read the books, do all of the practice problems, and seek outside sources of support as needed.

Just because it’s online doesn’t mean it’s a walk in the park or super easy. Don’t procrastinate – you need to be diligent and stay on top of your coursework and even get ahead of schedule if you can.

We all know life can get in the way, so set yourself up for success by being proactive when it comes to taking courses online. All of your hard work will pay off!


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