Advice from a senior: Don’t waste opportunities

By Rudi Hempe
CELSnews editor

As a senior in biological sciences, Gisel Bello is nearing the end of the first phase of her college education but as she prepares to leave URI for the next phase, she has one bit of advice for incoming students—don’t waste your summers.

Gisel, who calls Harlem, NYC, her home, is aiming toward her next target—to get into medical school because she wants to go out into the world, especially the Third World, to help others.

It’s a lofty goal but Gisel is optimistic she can accomplish it with a lot of hard work which she will face not only this spring semester—her last—but beyond that.

Gisel is on a pre med track but she needs more research experience before she applies to medical schools. While she did work in a hospital overseeing a hospital playroom a couple of summers ago, last summer, she admits, she did nothing. “And that was the worst thing I could have done,” she candidly admits. “I felt useless. I was going insane. It was terrible for me actually,” she adds noting that she is best when she is fully engaged.

Her advice to incoming freshmen is: “Don’t throw away your summers.” She wishes she had pursued some research internship last summer.

Medical schools, she notes, want to see research experience in applicants “because no matter how much medical school is a calling in your soul, if you don’t prove to them that you want to be a doctor by taking opportunities or just making yourself stand out, there’s no way that you are going to be accepted.”

So after she graduates in May, she will be looking for some research internships to bolster her experience. Among the possibilities are at the Harvard Medical School and an Amgen program that is held at Columbia—not far from where she lives.

Ultimately she hopes to practice medicine in Third World countries—her first language is Spanish. She is especially interested in pediatrics.

Her time at URI has not been all studying. She has been a Resident Advisor for two years, has mentored for the URI 101 program and has been involved in other campus organizations. Last year she decided to mentor three pre-med freshmen. The three would often come to her room for advice and she helped them prepare resumes, and suggested courses and professors.

“A lot of freshmen think they have a grasp on the world because they are now in college and then it hits the fan and then they are wondering what’s going on. I like to guide people. I can look at a situation from a third perspective—it’s much easier than when you are actually in a situation yourself. And because I am the queen of freaking out, I understand how difficult situations can get.”

Gisel admits she spends a lot of time in the library, helping others as well as herself.

“My daddy says to me ‘I don’t understand why I am paying for your room and board when you live in the library—why don’t you just move in there?’ ” she says, laughing.

Now that it is between semesters, Gisel says the month off will not be a vacation for her. She’ll be working on her studies and getting ready for the all-important Medical College Admission test which she will take probably next summer.

As for all the prep work, she says “Actually I like it that way. I’m like a flower—if you don’t give me sun, I’ll just wither away. If you don’t give me something to do, I just melt into the couch.”