Hometown: Likasi, Democratic Republic of Congo
Name of Undergraduate Institution: Geneva College
Major(s)/Minor(s) in College: Biology Major/Chemistry Minor
Name of Medical School: Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine
Favorite Quote: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” (Psalm 23:1)
Where are you currently at in your career path and why did you decide to pursue this career path?
I am a first-year medical student at Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine (CCLCM). CCLCM is a 5-year MD program within Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.
Reason for choosing medicine. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, we don’t have formal medical residency/fellowship programs yet. As a consequence, there is a shortage of specialists, such as cardiologists, oncologists, surgeons. However, the number of patients suffering from communicable diseases is growing at a fast pace. Seeing the need for cardiac care in my community, I wanted to become a cardiologist who can hopefully fill the gap in the future.
If you could go back and have a chat with your naïve college freshman self, what would you tell him?
I would tell him: enjoy the moment, knowing that there is time for everything.
What is a major challenge you have had to overcome and how did you do so?
Medical School Application. As an international student, I knew that it would be difficult to study medicine in the US since most schools don’t accept foreign nationals. In addition, I was pretty clueless about the application. Thankfully, I met a medical student who coached me through the entire process. If I could give an award for best mentor, it’d definitively go to him.
What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a similar path as yours?
For international students interested in pursuing medicine in the US, I’d advise them to:
- Have a solid record (high GPA, MCAT scores, extensive research experience)
- Make a list of schools that accept international students. Call them to confirm their policy.
- Apply widely.
- Be prepared financially. For visa purposes, schools may require you to have enough funds in an escrow account or secure a loan.
- Be flexible and open.
- Enjoy the journey.
What is your favorite thing about your medical school?
At CCLCM, there are only 32 students per class. I know my classmates very well, and feel comfortable working with everyone. The school is also very supportive and open to student feedback.
Did you take some time off before medical school? If so, what did you do during that time?
After college, I worked as a research assistant at the University of Pittsburgh for 3 years. In my free time, I was able to participate in extracurricular activities, such as shadowing physicians, volunteering, and studying for the MCAT.
What do you like to do for fun?
I try to run at least 2 times a week to stay in shape physically and mentally.
What did you do during the summer before you started medical school?
I went home to renew my visa. During the trip, I had the opportunity to see my family, refresh and recharge before medical school.
Who are some of your favorite musicians? Favorite books? Shows? Movies?
Denzel Washington is my favorite actor. I particularly like his performance in the movie ‘’Fences’’.
Thanks a ton for taking the time to participate in this feature series Lubika, you are greatly appreciated! The advice and experiences that you have shared here will be very useful to those who read this! Your unique perspective is an incredibly important one that deserves to be heard! Best of luck to you as you continue on your medical journey!
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Posted on March 1st, 2019