By Luke Wiley
In a community filled with high-achievers, overbearing workloads, and vice-like pressures for perfection, undergraduate students on premedical tracks stand in a unique liminal season of life with a storm of unique issues. Students in this phase of life often feel they have to put their heads down and pay their academic dues for the next few years as they prepare for med school and a prestigious career far beyond.
Having spent years wrestling through a number of academic and spiritual issues themselves, Cedarville University Molecular Biology seniors Ben Place and Isaac Seabra are determined to make a unique difference in the premed community by means of a special podcast. They call it “Unspoken Undergrad.”
The two friends were struck with the idea to create the podcast last summer when they spent many phone calls discussing some of the things they wrestled with through the years.
“Over the past three years of undergraduate school, we have both experienced and witnessed the toll that college in general, though specifically premedical studies, can take on an individual,” Place said when recounting the origin of the podcast. “We felt that we had something important to contribute to the conversation that would help people following behind us walk through this path in a lifegiving and healthy manner.”
Place and Seabra, feeling they held a natural chemistry and rapport, began formulating the ideas for making the podcast a reality. The two friends aim to create a format that puts listeners at ease, enjoying their friendly banter at the start, but encourages them to hang around for the deeper sharing and tackling of complex topics premed students can resonate with at the end.
“We get on and laugh a little bit, share a little bit, and hopefully address a topic that is specific and meaningful to help undergraduates walk their path in a more helpful manner,” Place said.
The hope Place and Seabra have for the podcast is for students to find it to be an escape to something enjoyable yet deeply impactful for the soul.
Some grander topics the duo is excited to cover include comparison against others, discerning whether the medical track truly is God’s purpose for one’s life, how to genuinely root one’s identity in Christ instead of medical or academic pursuits, and many more. The two also wish to cover other practical questions and common academic issues unique to premed students, such as preparing for the MCAT exam and finding practice opportunities for the career, as a part of the podcast’s grand scope.
Place and Seabra will also be producing a complementary blog to address the same topics in a written format as a supplementary tool to the podcast. Place and Seabra hope by sharing their wisdom and personal experience they can share the love of Christ through their weekly topical discussions in a way that premed students can feel loved and supported.
Place makes it very clear that their goals were to address the real struggles they and other medical students have commonly wrestled with over their time in order to help provide a clearer path of guidance for the next generation of students entering into those same pressures. Molecular Biology senior and supporter of the “Unspoken Undergrad” podcast Josh Jones affirmed many of the unique challenges harbored within the pressures of the community.
“Feeling like you’re by yourself is not talked about enough,” Jones said. “You can be stressed and drowning internally with all you need to do, and since premed is all about performance, if you’re not hitting that standard you can feel like you are by yourself.”
Jones believes that the podcast could be a great way for students to feel heard and supported in the midst of the competitive pressures which can make each struggling student feel as though they are fighting alone.
The first episode of “Unspoken Undergrad” drops before the end of October 2023, and will be available on all platforms. Place and Seabra hope to encourage the local student body as well as undergrad students across the globe as the podcast grows.
Luke Wiley is a senior Marketing major at Cedarville University. He enjoys lifting, video editing, hiking, spending quality time with friends and getting creative in the kitchen!