Alumni Spotlight: UT Pre-Med Student Reflects on YES Prep

Confidence KobooConfidence Niabari Koboo graduated from YES Prep Gulfton in 2015 and is a sophomore at The University of Texas. She’s pursuing a bachelor’s of science and arts in biochemistry and is on the pre-med track.

Why did you decide to attend UT?

In 11th grade, I went on a spring trip to Boston and saw Boston University, Harvard, and some other colleges. Originally, I was interested in a seven-year medical program, which meant that I could start taking medical school my senior year. In these programs,  you complete your undergraduate and medical degrees in seven years rather than eight. At first, UT didn’t offer me a lot of financial aid, but they did have TIP, a small academic community for first-year students in science that provides a supportive environment. As part of the program, I’d have smaller classes, an academic advisor to help me come up with a four-year plan, and one-on-one meetings with a peer mentor. I had heard a lot about UT and TIP from my older sister so I knew it was a great opportunity but unfortunately, I was still lacking the means to attend UT.

UT also had a scholarship called the University Leadership Network (ULN), which aids at-risk students through scholarships and helps them become a leader over their time at UT through internships, experiential learning opportunities, and community and university service. I reached out to the director to see if I could apply and was accepted. Currently, I have an internship through ULN as a student manager at one of our dining facilities, which is about ten hours a week.

UT also offered me the opportunity to do Summer Bridge, which meant I took two classes over the summer to help prepare me for the fall semester. I took statistics and rhetoric, which contributed to my degree plan. Because of all the opportunities UT offered me, I knew I had to go there for college.

What do you plan to do after you graduate from UT?

I plan to go to medical school after I graduate from UT. I’m also in the process of applying for a certificate in business and public policy.

Why medical school?

I’ve always been interested in being a doctor. It’s one of the highest degrees, and you are physically healing a person. I’d like to be a surgeon. It’s a practical way to heal people, and I find it very intriguing. I simply cannot imagine doing anything else with my life.

Where would you like go?

I’m considering schools in Texas, but I haven’t done a lot of research yet. I’ll probably look into UT Health Science Center in Houston or Dell Medical School at UT.

Have you done any research in your undergraduate studies?

I’m not as interested in research as I am in job shadowing and studying abroad. This summer, I’m going to be an orientation advisor, and I’d love to do some sort of job shadowing here or over winter break in Houston. I am also in the process of finding a study abroad program that I can be a part of in the summer of 2018.

What’s a lesson from YES Prep that you’ve carried with you to college?

When we all work together, we can move mountains. Here in college, the classes are hard. They can seem unbearable. When you work with other people or form study groups, it’s really helpful. If you are weak in an area, someone else might be strong or vice versa. The work becomes easier when you’re working with other people.

I also learned to advocate for myself. If I need help, I don’t hesitate to find it.

I’m really grateful for how supportive the teachers were. I remember going back after my first semester to see my teachers. They wanted to hear all about my experiences. They were really encouraging and reminded me that I’m doing well and succeeding. They said I serve as an example for future graduates.

What do you wish you’d learned more of in high school?

I wish I’d learned more study strategies. In high school, I was used to studying the day before. In college, you can’t do that. I still struggle with forming good study strategies, but I definitely start studying now as early as I can.

 

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