New York Medical College
Kitae Park grew up with an interest in science, a desire to help people, and a love for working with his hands, whether playing piano or building with Legos. He studied biochemistry, physiology and other scientific topics as an undergraduate at Northwestern University, solidifying his medical path.
A stint as a lab technician after graduation, where he focused on small-animal surgery, sparked a specialty interest that would put his hobbies to good use. Kitae is currently a student at New York Medical College; he took the HMX Biochemistry course in early 2017.
What was your experience taking HMX Biochemistry?
I actually signed up for the course because I was taking biochemistry at my school at the same time, and I wanted to use the HMX Biochemistry course as sort of a concurrent review system, where I learned things in my class and then could look at it from a different perspective.
I feel like the core of the HMX Biochemistry program was that it presented information in an interesting manner through the involvement of patients and through the various drawings, and it forced you to review the material through the practice questions and the flashcards. That is the kind of approach that I have been using for my normal studying as well – not that our classes teach it that way, but after learning something from class, I force myself to review through flashcards and practice problems. So in that way, the HMX program was similar to my own study method.
The way that it was different was the involvement of patients. I feel like when I’m studying – or when anyone is studying – hard sciences and biochemistry, it can get boring easily, so people lose focus. But what was unique about the HMX program was that in each of the cases, they brought into the big picture some kind of historical event or some kind of actual patient that you could in a way relate to and sympathize with. For example, when we were learning about the production of nucleic acids and the example of the patient with gout, it really made me feel like I want to learn this so I can treat patients like that in the future. It really motivated me to absorb the material better. That kind of motivation factor isn’t really seen that much in traditional classrooms, I think, but I think that’s one of the strongest points of HMX.
Any other elements of the course that you found useful?
I really enjoyed the animations and the way they illustrated difficult concepts with simpler analogies. One of the ones I remember was the whole analogy of a river, and the flow of a river to glucose metabolism – what kinds of points of the energy process are reversible, and what kinds require a high jump at the energy state and therefore are irreversible. That was a concept that I knew already because we’d already covered it in class, but the analogy of a river was really fresh to me. If I were to learn this over again without any kind of base knowledge about glucose metabolism, I would much prefer to learn it through that kind of analogy, rather than just plain science and steps.
Would you recommend HMX courses to other students?
I think this would be very helpful for students who are struggling with the concepts in class, mainly because the strength of the HMX program is that it explains difficult concepts in more easily understandable language. I think this would also really be helpful for students who are learning material for the first time because then this can explain things more easily and serve as kind of the base of the knowledge.
Any other thoughts you’d like to share?
I really appreciate [the courses] tying these concepts in with interesting historical events or clinical cases and actual patients. You know when you’re studying, your focus just goes in cycles, It’s really heightened at the start of your studying process, and then it just drops. After your lunch it goes back up a bit, and then it drops again. You get a cup of coffee and it goes back up a bit, and then it goes down. But I feel like the clinical cases constantly popped up throughout the course at random times, and that really helped my focus stay at the peak level.