Hometown: West Chicago
Name of Undergraduate Institution: Saint Xavier University
Major(s)/Minor(s) in College: Biology Major/Spanish and Chemistry Minors
Name of Medical School: The Ohio State University College of Medicine
Favorite Quote: “Unless someone can look into the core of your heart, and see the degree of your passion, or look into the depths of your soul and see the extent of your will, then they have no business telling you what can or cannot achieve. Because while they may know the odds, they do not know YOU. Nor do they know the power of your angels.”- Sandra Kring
Facebook: Jessica Fidens Muñoz
Additional Links: Inspire Hope YouTube Channel
“Inspire Hope”, is a YouTube channel about my faith in God and the courage that He constantly gives me to persevere. The main focus of the channel is my journey in medicine but I also talk about everyday life struggles and how I overcome obstacles. Inspire Hope also explores the struggles of a first-generation student, anxiety, social justice and much more.
My hope is to inspire students around the world to educate themselves and believe in themselves. Through my personal experiences I hope to inspire students to follow their dreams.
Where are you currently at in your career path and why did you decide to pursue this career path?
I will be starting my second year of medical school this August.
Due to financial and cultural obstacles, both of my parents were unable to finish elementary school. So, they were extremely proud of their oldest daughter graduating high school and being trilingual. My father wanted me to find a full-time job as a secretary and help him pay bills. Therefore, college was never something I envisioned for myself. Looking back now, I realized that my parents wanted me to succeed but they were afraid of not being able to support me along the way. As a senior in high school, I was taking advanced placement classes and was excelling in all my classes. I decided to take anatomy and physiology as an elective and fell in love with the material. It was the first class in my entire life that made me want to study more. So, after taking this class and hearing my counselor saying that I was crazy for not applying to college with a 3.98 G.P.A., I decided to go against my parents’ beliefs and apply to a university. Needless to say, it was difficult to apply without having their support but I knew that a career in medicine would enable me to help empower my community. I would be able to advocate for their health and fight for social justice in the realm of medicine. Fast forward, seven years after high school graduation my parents cannot wait for the day I become the first female physician in my family. They have learned to support me in their own ways and I would not wish it any other way.
If you could go back and have a chat with your naïve college freshman self, what would you tell her?
I would tell that freshman to take advantage of every opportunity they can to learn and live. I would remind them that timing is key and when things don’t go your way it’s because God has something better for you. Please learn not to stress the small things in life because it only gets worse with age. Make sure you enjoy your undergrad career and don’t make school your life. Getting into medical school should not be your life, and it shouldn’t be your purpose because there is so much more to life. Do whatever makes you happy, be responsible and never give up! Also if you have to retake the MCAT, don’t sweat it; honestly IT IS NOT the end of the world. I had to retake the MCAT multiple times and look at me now! I had professors tell me I should do nursing or perhaps pick a different career but I knew in my heart medicine was for me. So, follow your heart and find people who will support you along the way. One last thing, if you don’t get into medical school right after college PLEASE DON’T GIVE UP. Trust me, I know it’s hard because I’ve been there done that, but hey I’m about to start my second year of medical school and if you want this BAD, so will YOU! I didn’t get into medical school right after college because quite frankly I wasn’t ready for it and God had the perfect timing for me; He had the perfect school, and the perfect friends waiting for me at OSUCOM. So don’t rush it, don’t stress it and leave it to God’s timing because that my friends is the BEST timing.
What is a major challenge you have had to overcome and how did you do so?
The MCAT was definitely my biggest challenge. The first time I took the MCAT was a hot mess, I didn’t enroll in a Kaplan course or even take practice tests. So please don’t do that!!! I was naïve to think that having an amazing undergrad G.P.A. would get me a stellar MCAT score. I had to jump through loop holes but I finally found a free MCAT Kaplan course at the University of Miami. I got accepted into the program, studied my derrière off, took multiple practice tests, made my weaknesses (VERBAL) my strengths and I reapplied to medical school. I also took care of myself emotionally. I tried my best not to stress by praying and doing yoga. My score improved by nearly 60 percentiles because I believed in my heart that it was time to get in. I was emotionally and spiritually ready to accept the challenge. So, believe in yourself and fight for your dreams.
Do you have any passions outside of school? If so, what are they?
As much as I hate politics, I love to be informed about policy and advocate for minorities. My goal is to one day make it to Congress and be someone who is in charge of legislation. We need people who look like us to represent us in our government. I am also very passionate about community service and medical mission trips.
What do you feel is the most challenging part of medical school? The easiest part?
I think the hardest thing is not comparing yourself to others. In medical school or any professional school, you are surrounded by highly motivated and smart individuals who appear to be perfect. Please remember that no human is perfect, we all have flaws and insecurities. It’s hard not to compare yourself to your classmates but you have to learn how to do so. Set your own goals and be happy with “YOUR BEST”.
The easiest part about medical school is sharing the struggle with caring individuals who want to change the world. My friends in medical school are extremely motivated and encouraging. I couldn’t get through medical school without them. They are my second family and we are there for each other when we are most vulnerable.
What did you do during the summer before you started medical school?
I travelled to Costa Rica with my siblings and also went with my mom to Colorado. I’m all about travelling and do so whenever an opportunity arises. I made sure not to study and that was the best decision ever!
What do you do to get through the stressful nature of medical school?
I spend time with my friends whenever I can even if it means just studying with them. I also try to treat myself to something such as going to the gym after a few hours of studying. My biggest stress reliever is definitely praying and speaking to God!
What extra-curricular activities are you involved in at your school?
- President of Latino Medical Student Association
- Volunteer and Referral Specialist at La ClínicaLatina
- SNMA member
- Phi Delta Epsilon
You are incredibly inspirational Jessica! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story with us and for helping to inspire hope in the people you come across, including the ones who will read this feature! Your advice is spectacular as well! Congratulations on finishing up your first-year and please continue to provide inspiration to those of us who need it!
Posted on June 14th, 2017