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Northwestern College Preparation Program

Student Stories

Darby Billing

It was the best time of my life!

Darby Billing
Q: Why did you choose to participate in a summer program or go to overnight camp? 

A: I really wanted to do something with medicine but the area I live in had limited opportunities. One day I got an email about college preparatory programs and decided to look into it. At first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to miss part of my summer at home, but it was the best time of my life! I made amazing memories and friends that I still keep in touch with!


Q: How did you decide which program or camp was right for you?

A: I had always been interested in medicine and the Northwestern University Insight into Medicine program was a perfect fit! I learned about the path to become a physician, different types of healthcare systems in the world and a great look at the Northwestern campus! I was interested in applying to Northwestern University, and the program really helped me to make that decision. The two week long program I did was essentially two weeks at college. I am so glad I got to experience that before I went to college, because now I know what to expect, what to bring, what it is like.


Q: What was a typical day in your summer program or at camp?

A: My program typically had class in the afternoon, unless we went to the Chicago Feinberg School of Medicine. I woke up in my dorm, got ready and headed down to get breakfast with my roommate at the dining hall. Every meal there was different food and cereal. After eating we headed back to the dorms to hangout, or went to the recreational center to workout. After a couple hours we would walk to the dining hall to get lunch, then walk to class. Our class was about two to two-and-a-half hours per day. We learned about the path to becoming a physician, did a research project of our choice, and talked to many medical students and doctors about their experiences and advice. After class we would walk back to our dorms, do homework if there was any, and hang out with friends! Everyday there was optional activities like going to a Cubs game, seeing a movie, going to Chicago, seeing a concert, and many more. After doing that, we would walk to the dining hall to grab dinner and dessert. The chocolate frosted marble cake was my favorite! After dinner we walked back to our dorm to watch movies and make popcorn with friends. I would shower in the community style bathrooms and go to bed, excited for a new and eventful day!

Q: What was the most memorable moment of your summer?

A: The most memorable moment of my summer was when we went to the Feinberg School of Medicine on the Chicago Northwestern campus. We met with a researcher to help with our independent research projects then went down to where the medical students work. We split off into groups to learn how to check vital signs and work with Harry, a heartbeat simulator. The most interesting and memorable part of this visit was working with standardized patients in clinical rooms. We would act like a resident and interview the patients. One of the main reasons I love this program so much, is how many opportunities we had to truly see what life as a doctor is like. We talked with a multitude of doctors and medical students to see their perspectives and ask questions.

Q: What advice do you have for teens looking at summer programs or camps? 

A: I would recommend looking at a program that interests you, and going to a university you’re interested in too! That way, you get a real taste of what life is like on campus. Also, don’t let your summer hold you back. These opportunities are once in a lifetime and you will learn so much from it. I made so many friends and had an amazing time! I would love to go back. Go into the program with an open mind and ready to try new things.

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