Chantelle Washington


Hometown: Warren, MI

Name of Undergraduate Institution: Michigan State University

Major(s)/Minor(s) in College: Human Biology and Microbiology in the College of Lyman Briggs with specializations in Health Promotion and Bioethics, Humanities and Society (BHS)

Name of Medical School: Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine

Contact Info:

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

I am currently an OMSII or second-year osteopathic medical student. I chose to pursue medicine because I always had a penchant for science and a strong desire to help others. It just so happened that once I started volunteering in various capacities, I enjoyed medical related opportunities the most; medicine was just the right fit. I chose osteopathic medicine in particular because the school of thought behind osteopathy—which is the belief that human mind, body and spirit are connected—really resonated with me. Not to mention, it would give me the opportunity to use my hands as a tool to heal people.

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

Besides the general tips like “learn how to study,” “study early for the MCAT,” “incorporate MCAT studying with your current course studies,” I would tell my naïve college freshman self, “TAKE OUT ALL OF YOUR DIRECT SUBSIDIZED LOANS, SILLY!” That would have honestly saved me so much money in the long run, especially since my undergraduate college was already paid for with grant and scholarship money. At that time, I didn’t know that graduate students didn’t get grants or subsidized loans and instead were only offered unsubsidized loans that accrue interest at the speed of light from the moment you accept them. So, a smarter freshman me would have taken out those subsidized loans that the government pays interest on until after graduation and put them in my savings or purchased some sort of short-term certificate to earn interest until I needed the money for medical school. But here I am…taking out the dreaded direct unsubsidized loans, racking up interest like nobody’s business.

What is your favorite thing about your medical school?

My favorite thing about my medical school is hands down my classmates. We have formed a strong, familial-like bond within our little community, and it’s exactly what I didn’t know that I needed to survive in such a stressful environment. Unlike undergrad, medical school isn’t something that you can do on your own. I’m truly grateful to have such a supporting community of peers cheering me on, sharing notes and friendly reminders to keep me on my A-game, and going through this sometimes-torturous experience with me. Because of them, I know that I am not alone.

What advice would you give to someone getting ready to start their application process to medical schools?

Apply early! When asking for letters of recommendation, be sure to ask if the person you’re requesting the letter from can write you a STRONG LETTER OF SUPPORT. Just because someone agrees to write you a letter, does not mean that they will write a good letter or that they will write one in support of you. Lastly, put in every experience that you’ve had on that application whether you liked it or not. There’s something to be learned from every experience, and each experience only makes you a better, relatable, and more well-rounded person in the end!

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

The most challenging part of professional school is retaining the volume of information you have to retain. The easiest part is learning the material. What I mean is, the topics that we’re taught aren’t hard concepts to learn; the hard part is remembering everything for the test.

What extra-curricular activities are you involved in at your school?

I am the president of my school’s chapter of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA). I am a general member of our Community Integrated Medicine organization (CIM). And I have blue-coated, or worked as a lab assistant, for our gross anatomy prosection and histology labs.

What were some of your involvements in college? Have those involvements helped you in any way in medical school?

In undergrad, I was a brother of Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity, the VP of the Honors College Dean’s Advisory Council (HCDAC) and of the W. E. B. Du Bois Society, a biology lab assistant for Biology I and II in the Lyman Briggs College, and the biology academic coach for the Engineering and Science Success Academy. Each of these involvements helped to mold me into a more well-rounded, young professional.

  • As a member of the service fraternity, I gained access to the community around me because I was given a slew of diverse opportunities to volunteer. These opportunities taught me the importance of giving back whenever and however you can and helped me form community connections that I still use today as a medical student.
  • Serving as the Vice President for the HCDAC and for Du Bois Society allowed me to grow as a leader, which has essentially primed me to fulfill my role as the current chapter president of SNMA.
  • Working as a biology tutor helped me to maintain my biology knowledge and was definitely an advantage when it came time to take the MCAT. More importantly, working as a biology tutor for Briggs and for ESSA made me become a mentor—something that I had never been before. I was able to share my experiences and what I had learned along my journey with students hoping to be in my shoes one day. While I continue to mentor students as a leader and member of the SNMA, I often reflect on my experiences with my former students and how I could learn from those interactions to become a better mentor.

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

I.AM. AN. AVID. TV WATCHER! No, seriously. I have an app and everything. And before you judge, just know, I’m the real winner here. My app tells me which episodes I haven’t watched yet and which ones I have, when shows are returning or when new seasons are premiering. It’s truly amazing and definitely needed considering I am keeping tabs on 15-30 different shows. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s how I escape the constant stress of medical school. Some people have yoga or the gym, cats or dogs (I also have a dog), or even art; I have TV. Anyways, I watch almost anything genre-wise. Some of my favorites are:

  • Everything created by Shonda Rhimes: Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How To Get Away with Murder
  • Shameless
  • Orange is the New Black
  • House of Cards (honestly anything with “Netflix Original” in the intro)
  • The Walking Dead
  • The Vampire Diaries
  • The Originals
  • The Night Of
  • Dexter
  • Breaking Bad
  • True Blood
  • Revenge
  • Charmed
  • Of course, trash tv: Real Housewives of Atlanta, Love & Hip Hop (Hollywood, NY, and ATL), and Bad Girls Club
  • YOU NAME IT! *Pastor Shirley Caesar voice* but seriously, there’s more…

This is marvelous Chantelle! I really appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughtful answers with us! And your tip about the subsidized loans isn't a bad idea at all…it's actually pretty ingenious, especially if you already know you're going to be going to a graduate school! Thank you for sharing some of yourself with us and for the great advice!

Health Career Spotlights Home Page

Posted on February 24th, 2017

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