Meet Frances Imarhia (she/hers), a sophomore from Granbury, Texas. Frances is a Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME) candidate and plans to concentrate in Biomedical Engineering. She is also a junior representative for First-Generation/Underrepresented in Medicine (FURM). Read the full interview below:
How are you? How’s your year going so far?
I’m doing well surprisingly. My year has been really busy. I decided to take 5 classes this semester. So far, I’ve been managing it. You can say managing very loosely. I’ve been really busy but in a good way. I think I’m getting a lot accomplished and starting to really settle in here.
Can you tell me a bit about your work with FURM?
I’m currently a junior representative for FURM. First of all, I’m a PLME, which coming here I was really excited about. I quickly grew to notice as a PLME you’re surrounded by a lot of people who have been exposed to medical and higher education for pretty much their entire life.
For people like me who are first-generation, there are obvious differences in our experiences in the field and our comfort talking to physicians. When I heard about FURM, I saw it as something that was really necessary. I was looking for more ways to get involved. That’s how I became a junior rep.
My freshman year, I struggled a lot with imposter syndrome. Getting to know these people in the UFLi community and the FURM community and realizing that these intelligent and talented people also felt the same way, it made me feel like maybe I’m not the problem. I felt really comforted by that fact so I’m hoping to help other people who feel the same way.
Advice you’d give your freshman year self?
Learn to ask for help. It’s not a sign of weakness. Specifically in the STEM community for UFLi students, we typically come from schools that are underfunded or not well run. We don’t start off on the same playing field as our peers, so it makes intro classes very difficult. I struggled in multivariable calculus. Half the people in the class had taken it in high school. At my high school, the calculus class was basically just us watching Khan Academy trying to piece things together. It feels like you’re playing catch up, so it’s not wrong to ask for help. We’re the ones those resources are here for. We deserve to be here just as much as anyone else.