Ashley Serjilus


Hometown: Miami, FL

Name of Undergraduate Institution: University of Miami

Major(s)/Minor(s) in College:

Major: Microbiology & Immunology (Minors: Chemistry, Psychology, Public Health)

Name of Professional School: Meharry Medical College

Favorite Quote: Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.” – Maya Angelou

Where are you currently at in your career path and why did you decide to pursue this career path?

I am currently a first-year medical student at Meharry Medical College, and I decided to become a doctor because I want to help the underserved and work toward reducing the incidence of preventable ailments in low-income communities. Being a first-generation Haitian-American, I have had firsthand experience to a culture that tends to look for other avenues for healthcare because of lack of access and lack of knowledge. Eventually, I want to open a health clinic in Haiti, with the hopes of providing consistent healthcare to the citizens of Haiti.

If you could go back and have a chat with your naïve college freshman self, what would you tell her?

If I could talk to my freshman self, I would say that you need to be more open; explore more, place yourself in at least one position where you can develop into the leader that I know you can be, and most of all have more fun and be yourself- things will work out as long as you put yourself in the position where things can happen. So, you need to keep up with your grades, develop better study habits, and find ways to push through the midday tiredness (because you know that when you nap that it extends to three to four hours).

What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a similar path as yours?

Stick to your dreams- do not let anyone tell you that you are not capable of achieving your dreams. If it gets rough, find some support whether it is friends, professors, mentors, or parents. Having support during your journey makes it easier to get through any type of obstacle. If things do not go as planned, do not think that it is the end of the road for you. More often than not, the traditional route is not the most common route when it comes to medical school, so do not think the straight route is the only route possible.

What is a major challenge you have had to overcome and how did you do so?

The transition from undergrad to medical school has to be one of the hardest things I have gone through. Going to school in a different state is tough. When you are used to going to school in the same state as your parents, it is hard knowing that you cannot go home whenever you want, especially being over 800 miles away. Adjusting to being homesick was pretty quick, especially when you have to focus on learning and doing well in school. I believe having to study for long periods of time and learning a semester's worth of material in a two-week span had to be the toughest thing I have done. Even for the most experienced “studier”, it was a struggle. To overcome this, I had to ask for help with the learning resource center on campus to see what I needed to do to adapt to the large influx of information that was coming my way. Using the tools that they gave me, I was able to study more effectively.

What do you like to do for fun?

I love watching basketball and discussing statistics and players with my friends. I have recently tried to pick up playing basketball to relieve some stress after stopping for a couple of years. Additionally, I love to bake and cook and I enjoy having friends taste-test my creations.

What do you feel is the most challenging part of medical school? The easiest part?

The most challenging part of medical school is time management. I'm used to juggling a full class load, research, and extra-curricular commitments from my undergrad experience, but that is nothing compared to the work and study load that you have in medical school. The human body is a complex system, and it is not something you can cram for.

The easiest part of medical school is networking. By attending health fairs, seminars, and conferences, you meet a lot of people who want to help you achieve your next goal, whether it is residency or research. Even though I am about to complete my first semester in medical school, it is important to maintain those relationships for when I am ready to take the next step in my journey.

Who are some of your favorite musicians? Favorite books? Shows? Movies?

Favorite musicians are: Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Beyoncé, and Usher.

Favorite shows: How to Get Away With Murder and Chopped

Favorite movies: Love & Basketball, The Notebook, Titanic, and Remember the Titans

Fantastic! Thanks a lot for sharing a piece of yourself with us Ashley and for your words of wisdom! They are very much appreciated! Congrats on finishing your first semester of medical school and best of luck on the journey ahead!

Health Career Spotlights Home Page

Posted on December 16th, 2016

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