IU 2020 Series: Jayla French

Now that I am going into my senior year, it is interesting to reflect back on the past few years to see how my interests have been shaped and refined by my experiences at IU.

Before coming to college, I was very involved at my school and in my local community.

I now work as a Resident Assistant for the dorm I lived in my freshman year. I also have a part-time job working as a Women’s Rising Ambassador for the Career Development Center. The wealth of leadership opportunities on IU’s campus has afforded me skills and experience and that I plan on applying in my professional career after college.

Changing majors

I am still planning on going to medical school. However, through my neuroscience coursework, I have found that my main interest lies in learning about the brain and mental health. Because of this, I now plan to pursue a career in psychiatry. I can use concepts I learned in class in practice while simultaneously working in a field I am passionate about. I often reflect back on the “Madness and Melancholy” class I took my freshman year through the Hutton Honors College, because this class was my first introduction to mental health.

Although I no longer play competitive sports like I did in high school, I find it is still very rewarding for me to exercise throughout the week. Every year at IU, I play intramural soccer with friends. It’s one of the highlights of my week! Additionally, this semester I am taking both a weight lifting and a jogging class through the School of Public Health. It keeps me active and holds me accountable. I have found that staying active is very beneficial for both my physical and mental health.

Sorority life

My involvement in my sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., I would say now consumes most of my free time.

Although I am involved in clubs that were important to me my freshman year, such as MAPS, it is to a lesser degree. I feel like part of the reason for this shift is due to a change in my priorities. My freshman year, I focused on how important it was to base my IU experience off of being pre-med. Although this was beneficial for me professionally, I found that it is perfectly fine to step outside this identity and pursue other social interests.

Looking ahead to graduation, I am on track to graduate on time with a B.S. in neuroscience, a minor in global health promotion, and to graduate with honors.

I am still unsure about what I want to do with my gap year before applying to medical school. Right now I am looking into the Masters of Science in Medical Science program at IUPUI, which would serve as a bridge between undergraduate and medical school. I have realized how important it is for me to stay around my family in Indiana. They are my support system, and it would be very hard for me to move somewhere far from them, which is why I plan on staying in-state.

Jayla French head shot
Jayla French

Jayla is a senior studying human biology in the Department of Biology. She's one of 12 Indiana University students featured in the IU 2020 Series, a four-year documentary film produced by student interns in the Office of the Provost for the IU Bicentennial.

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