In this week’s Focus on Ecampus, we bring you Mr. Brendan Freeman: actor, musician, and aspiring physician from New England.
What career are you working towards? What inspired you to choose this path?
I am 22 years old and currently live in central Massachusetts. I have recently completed my undergraduate education in May of this year and will be matriculating to medical school in the fall! Entering college, I was not sure which career path I wanted to pursue. I remember I had taken a Human Anatomy and Physiology class in high school where I discovered I had a clear interest for science as it related to humans. It is amazing to me that all these structures and mechanisms in our body that we take for granted–like flexing a muscle–evolved over thousands of years to make us who we are today. This passion led me to pursue a degree in biology in college. Additionally, I had done a lot of acting throughout high school, and so I supplemented my biology major with a minor in theatre. Through this, I had the opportunity to learn about humans in a really unique way–from both a scientific and an artistic perspective. When I began discerning potential careers that combined these interests, medicine was one of the first to really jump out at me. Over the course of my college career and through various clinical exposures, my love for medicine grew and eventually inspired me to become a physician.
How did you find out about our online Organic sequence? Any advice for us that would have made that process easier for you?
One of the courses I struggled with when pursuing my undergraduate degree was Organic Chemistry. As I was in the process of applying to medical school, I began looking for courses that I could take that would strengthen my medical school application and further prepare me for its rigors. Since I am currently working full-time as a medical scribe, I knew that taking a course online would provide me the most flexibility. A google search revealed several viable options, but I wanted to make sure that I was going to be instructed by the best professor I could find. The reviews I read regarding Dr. Myles’ Organic Chemistry class were stellar and immediately swayed me to take the online Organic sequence from Oregon State University.
I don’t really have any advice! The process was straightforward and I was able to get guidance from actual faculty working on campus when I had any questions.
What did you like most, or least, about your online experience in CH 331?
Hands-down, the best part about this course was the instructor Dr. Myles. Not only does he make some difficulty class material understandable, but he is also very engaging, humorous, and clear with his expectations of students. I never found myself wondering what I was supposed to know or how topics would be presented on exams–these were all clearly laid out to the students. He provided much needed guidance through a large amount of challenging material while having some fun along the way.
Another great aspect about the online experience was the recorded lectures. These allow students the ability to watch lectures on x2 speed if they really understand a topic, pause to work through related problems, and even rewind to review concepts that were difficult to understand. The lectures were also a great study tool to have on hand because they allowed you to review the material as it pertained to the class as many times as you like. At the same time, this technology has is limitations as well. I never got to see what Dr. Myles actually looked like. This also meant that if ever he was physically demonstrating something to the class, we had to rely on his verbal description, which may be difficult if you are a visual learner like me. This also meant that if Dr. Myles was physically directing the attention of the class to a specific part of the PowerPoint or of a molecule, we could not see this either. Hearing questions from the class in the recordings was also a challenge because the students are not mic’d.
Do you have any advice for other online students?
- Get involved with the Canvas discussions as much as possible. The more you feel like you a part of this class, the more likely you are to keep up with the material. Set realistic goals for yourself to attain weekly so that you keep up with the material. The content covered in organic chemistry is not that difficult, it just builds on itself and you are required to learn an immense amount of material. This is why it is so crucial to keep up with the material.
- If you find lectures are moving too slow for your taste, definitely consider increasing the speed at which the video plays to x1.5 or x2 speed.
- Print out any worksheets or worked examples provided to you. The more often you get the material out of the computer and into your hands, the more you will understand the material.
- Always ask questions!
What do you like to do in your spare time (or perhaps to relieve school stress)?
I love to improvise on the piano. I find this to be a great stress reliever as well because you do not need to have any expectations when you sit down on the piano bench. Whatever emotions I am feeling at the time can come out in the music I create on the spot. Additionally, I love to sing, act, read, hike, and play video games.
Note: The photo is me playing “Father Jack” in a play titled Dancing at Lughnasa. No, I’m not typically bald. The director actually had me shave my head to age me and make it look like I was balding!
Do you have a family you would like to tell us about?
I have 3 brothers who are working in or interested in a wide variety of fields ranging from law enforcement to English. They all love to sing and each plays a different musical instrument. My whole family is very loving and supporting and we should probably have our own reality television show for how ridiculous we are when together.