Hometown: Northport, AL
Name of Undergraduate Institution: The University of Alabama
Major(s)/Minor(s) in College: Biology Major
Name of Medical School: The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine
Favorite Quote: “Be where your feet are.”
Contact Info: Jwatson1@uab.edu
Where are you currently at in your career path and why did you decide to pursue this career path?
Medicine is a career path that my twin brother, Jeremy, and I have wanted to pursue since we were 5 years old. I developed a love for science at a young age, and was also influenced by my mom’s career as a nurse and my father’s previous experience as an ER tech. There have been many influences on my decision to pursue medicine, but perhaps my biggest influence was growing up witnessing many of my family members suffer from many of the health disparities present in our country today.
If you could go back and have a chat with your naïve college freshman self, what would you tell him?
I would warn the younger version of myself about overextending. Also, I would tell myself to consider majoring in a different field. Many students believe that they must major in a biology or chemistry of some sort in order to go to medical school.
What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a similar path as yours?
Because I was a student athlete for a significant portion of my pre-med education, my path to medicine was a little different. I often dealt with schedule conflicts with practice and some of the classes required for me to graduate. Balancing school and a college sport can be grueling. The major advice that I can give to anyone following this path is to develop time management skills early. Also, be sure to develop relationships with your athletic AND pre-med advisors EARLY.
What is a major challenge you have had to overcome and how did you do so?
A major challenge I faced in school came as soon as I gave up my last year of eligibility to focus on school. My first actual conversation with my pre-med advisor was via email. In short, he informed me that I would never make it to medical school. Instead of becoming discouraged, I let it motivate me. Anytime I feel complacent, I take a look at that email as a reminder of how far I’ve come.
What is your favorite thing about your medical school?
By far, my favorite thing about my school is my classmates. My first year of medical school was full of challenges that had nothing to do with my medical education. My classmates are extremely supportive and were always willing to be there during difficult times.
Do you have another professional degree? If so, how has it impacted you?
Before beginning medical school, I earned my master’s degree at UAB. I was a part of the first cohort of the Biomedical and Health Sciences Program. This program was designed to help students interested in healthcare professional schools achieve their dreams. This program provided entrance exam prep and also modeled UAB’s first year medical school curriculum. It was extremely beneficial to my medical training and I would recommend a program like this to anyone who would like an extra foundation before beginning medical school.
What advice would you give to someone getting ready to start their application process to medical schools?
I would highly recommend having your packet completed and ready to submit before the application cycle begins. I submitted my application within minutes of the AMCAS cycle opening and my application was processed and accepted before the end of the day.
Did you take some time off before medical school? If so, what did you do during that time?
After earning my master’s degree, I spent a year working in research. I was a part of Dr. Bamman’s exercise physiology lab at UAB. It was an extremely rewarding experience! I learned a lot about the finer details of medical research.
What do you like to do for fun?
I love to be active! For fun and stress relief I work out. I also play on intramural sports teams with my classmates.
What do you feel is the most challenging part of medical school? The easiest part?
The most challenging part of medical school for me is time management. I don’t find the material much more challenging than what I learned in undergrad, it’s just that there is a ton of it to learn at once! I find the easiest part of medical school to be our patient encounters. It gives me the opportunity to put what I’m learning to use. Also, I feel that I’m able to genuinely to connect with others easily.
What do you do to get through the stressful nature of medical school?
During stressful days, I either work out or take naps. Medical school is stressful. It’s critical that you find healthy outlets for relaxation.
What extra-curricular activities are you involved in at your school?
I am a member of Student National Medical Association, the president of UAB’s Ortho Interest Group, a diversity ambassador, member of the Code of Conduct Task Force, Christian Medical Ministry of Alabama, and a member of White Coats Black Doctors.
What is it like attending school in your city?
Birmingham is one of the biggest cities in the state of Alabama. There are a lot of fun things to discover here without many of the distractions that living in a larger city can cause. It’s also very easy to travel from Birmingham. There is an airport and we are also just a few hours away from bigger cities like Atlanta, Nashville, New Orleans, and even the beach.
What were some of your involvements in college? Have those involvements helped you in any way in medical school?
The majority of my time outside of class was spent in football practice. My experience playing football has made a direct impact on my medical training. Medical school is very demanding and requires discipline. College sports helped me to develop many of the traits needed in order to be successful in my field.
Who are some of your favorite musicians? Favorite books? Shows? Movies?
I’ve never been much of a reader outside of school, (trying to do better about that) but some of my favorite shows are The Walking Dead, Power, and Breaking Bad. I plan on starting GOT eventually, but I’ll put that off until after Step 1. I’ve had friends tell me that Westworld is really awesome too, so I’ll have to check that out!
Thank you for taking the time to share your unique perspective with us Jared, we really appreciate your honest and thoughtful responses! The readers of this feature will certainly be inspired by your journey into medicine! Keep on doing great things as you continue on your journey in medicine!
Posted on December 19th, 2018