Hometown: Hempstead, NY
Name of Undergraduate Institution: Binghamton University
Major(s)/Minor(s) in College: Biology Major, Africana Studies Minor
Name of Medical School: SUNY Upstate Medical University
Contact Info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Where are you currently at in your career path and why did you decide to pursue this career path?
I am currently a second-year medical student at SUNY Upstate Medical University. Although I've always been interested in science, and was a pre-medical student by default, I was fully committed to pursuing medicine upon taking a course entitled Psychology of Racism at Binghamton University. For class we read Medical Apartheid by Harriet Washington, and this book changed my entire perspective on the medical field. At first, it made me reluctant to commit myself to a field that has so much intrinsic racism and actually had a hand in formulating some of the prejudiced thoughts that circulate about Black people's minds and bodies. But, after some soul searching and conversation, I realized pieces like that are written not only to expose the truth, but as a call to action. We need to do better as a society in many ways, and I realized my calling to better society and my community directly is through medicine.
If you could go back and have a chat with your naïve college freshman self, what would you tell her?
I would tell her that the plan is already in motion. Every person you meet, challenge you face, opportunity you receive, and failure you experience is there solely to prepare you for the journey to come. Every step of my education I've thought to myself – it absolutely cannot get harder than this. Well, it certainly can. But, I'll also be smarter, more mature, and more prepared with each step to meet these new challenges. I'd also say to cherish all your friends, but particularly the ones who are not pre-med. Enjoying time together truly helps to take your mind off your respective studies for a while, and you can learn a ton from each other!
What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a similar path as yours?
Be sure! Do anything and everything you can to make sure there's nothing else out there for you. Going a different path and ending up at medicine only shows that you took the time and initiative to be sure that medicine is truly your calling before committing your life to it. Also, major in whatever you love. My Africana Studies minor made college so much more rich of an experience even though I loved biology. I got a ton of questions about it along my medical school interview path, and shaped many of my answers/conversations with interviewers!
What is your favorite thing about your medical school?
SUNY Upstate has incredible, incredible anatomy faculty. I really appreciate them for getting me through what had to be the scariest/most intimidating part of medical school for me so far. Truly angels.
What advice would you give to someone getting ready to start their application process to medical schools?
Your personal statement is key. It is the doorway for an application reviewer to see you in any capacity outside of numbers and other checkboxes. Take care to make sure your voice is captured as much as possible in that essay! It will be well worth the time you put in. Also, be confident during your interviews. You are interviewing the school just as much as they're interviewing you, that mindset makes a big difference.
Do you have any passions outside of school? If so, what are they?
Although I don't consider it directly outside of medical school, I do consider myself an activist in the making. I have thoroughly enjoyed studying how we can make a difference regarding the social injustices that plague our society from systemic poverty to the prison-industrial complex to reproductive justice and how these all connect. I'm also an avid reader when medical school isn't kicking my butt.
What do you feel is the most challenging part of medical school? The easiest part?
The most challenging part for me is the homogeneity of your day, especially first year. The amount of information is so vast that I couldn't really do anything all day except eat, study, eat, study, sleep and repeat. In college I was used to having a variety of classes, working as an RA, being in organizations, etc. That all changed when I got medical school, but I'm adjusting. There's an easy part? Lol
In regards to dating, what kind of qualities are you looking for in someone?
I think it's so important to have a partner that values and respects your time. As a medical student time is something we have almost none of, so carving out time for someone is a big deal in my opinion (our love language almost instantly becomes quality time). It's important for me to have a partner that will never make me feel bad for not being able to spend all my time with them, and encourages me to somehow also take time for myself through this process even if it's not always with them.
What did you do during the summer before you started medical school?
Just a lot of Netflix and a vacation or two. Also worked a lowkey ticket seller job to have a little pocket money to start with.
What do you do to get through the stressful nature of medical school?
I have a tight knit group of friends that have honestly carried me through this process. When we feel stressed, we get together and just us all in a room is really all it takes for me to feel at least a bit better.
What extra-curricular activities are you involved in at your school?
I'm currently the president of our school's SNMA chapter!
What is it like attending school in your city?
Syracuse is a super interesting place. It's ranked one of the cities with the highest concentration of poverty in the United States, and its history is fascinating. If there's any place to be interested in the connection between social determinants and the healthcare system, it's here.
What were some of your involvements in college? Have those involvements helped you in any way in medical school?
I was an RA, served various e-board positions for our MAPS chapter, worked in a research lab, and was a tutor for the EOP program at Binghamton. I was the busiest bee, but all of it prepared me for the even busier times of medical school. My main takeaways were learning to work with a team, solidifying basic science principles through tutoring, and overall how to be a leader and role model for others. Also taught me the importance of mentorship!
Who are some of your favorite musicians? Favorite books? Shows? Movies?
My favorite artist right now is Kehlani, I'm a sucker for a solid R&B track with good lyrics. Also a sucker for vocals, so Ariana Grande is also certainly up there. Also, hidden gem: D Smoke. Thank me later. My favorite book is The Color Purple by Alice Walker. My favorite movies are Dreamgirls, 13 Going on 30, and Aladdin (animated version, for sure.) My favorite TV shows are The Good Place, On My Block, and Jane the Virgin.
Thank you so much for all of your thoughtful answers Jada! We really appreciate you taking the time to share all this useful advice and interesting information with us! Keep up the awesome work and we wish you all the best as you continue to crush your studies and become a physician!
Posted on February 20th, 2021