Hometown: Boston, MA
Name of Undergraduate Institution: Massachusetts College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences
Major(s)/Minor(s) in College: Biology Major
Name of Medical School: Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine (formerly The Commonwealth Medical College)
Favorite Quote: “Let your faith be bigger than your fear.” And “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.” by Maya Angelou
Contact Info: Michele.firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m in the process of starting my blog and it should be up in the next couple of weeks so if you’re interested in learning about my journey through medical school as well as my take on the combination of modern medicine and alternative medicine, check out my Instagram for more info.
Where are you currently at in your career path and why did you decide to pursue this career path?
I am currently a fourth-year medical student; however I haven’t gone through the match yet and will be doing this next year. Ultimately, I hope to end up in pediatrics. I decided to pursue medicine because I was always interested in science and I loved explaining it to people. My parents always bragged that I was going to be a physician and I took it and ran with it. Since I’ve gotten into medical school, there have been several experiences that have solidified this decision for me. I decided on pediatrics because it was one of the only rotations where I was excited for the next day even when I dealt with a challenging case. It definitely wasn’t what I had in mind when I first went to medical school but it’s where I see myself now when I think of my future.
If you could go back and have a chat with your naïve college freshman self, what would you tell her?
If I could go back and chat with myself, I would tell myself, “Don’t be afraid to take risks.” I would also say, “Put yourself out there more.” I am an introvert although a lot of people have a hard time believing it and I prefer to stick to my small circle. This has been a huge challenge for me to overcome but year by year I’m getting better and more comfortable with the idea of speaking freely and openly with others. I think if I would have started this when I was in undergrad I could have been farther than where I am now. This pretty much goes hand-in-hand with networking, especially in professional settings. I would also tell myself to take crazy courses, the ones that interest you because you’re passionate about a topic versus the ones that you should take to impress medical schools (BUT make sure you have those core requirements). And last but not least have fun, do crazy things and travel all throughout undergrad because once you get to medical school and beyond it slows down. It doesn’t all stop but it definitely makes you change your priorities.
What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a similar path as yours?
Find a mentor! Actually find several mentors! They can and should vary in their purposes in your life. You could have someone a year or a step in front of you, someone who can navigate you through medical school, someone in the specialty that you are interested in, someone who can guide you in life or just someone who you can just vent to. Also, do your research. Do your due diligence in learning about the process of medical school and know a bit about residency. You’re never going to know everything and that shouldn’t be the goal, but it is important to know about the general medical school process. Do not be afraid to ask for help and don’t ever think you’re burdening someone unless they say it. For the most part, medical students and physicians like to help others coming behind them. Also, just be flexible and open. You never know where an experience or a connection with a mentor or colleague can take you. You may know you’re interested in one thing, however you do a rotation, or even a day in another field and that may hook you and change your whole outlook.
What advice would you give to someone getting ready to start their application process to medical schools?
This is where having mentors will come in very handy because you will want someone to look over your application before you submit it. During the process, make sure that you are organized. I used an excel sheet and made sure to record the date that I applied, when I received my secondary applications and when I submitted the secondary applications. It helped me to keep everything in one place. Also, start early because you will be surprised how long it takes to upload all your information because the process is so tedious. Don’t invent the wheel; so when it comes to secondary applications it is perfectly fine to use the same response to a question if two schools have the same question. Even if the schools do not ask the same identical question, you can usually tweak your response to make it fit. This saves a lot of time and unnecessary headaches because it’s like you’re doing two or more secondary applications at the same time.
Did you take some time off before medical school? If so, what did you do during that time?
Before medical school I completed my Masters of Biomedical Sciences at my medical institution. Towards the end of undergrad, I knew that I wasn’t quite ready for medical school because I hadn’t studied for the MCAT nor had I looked into the application process. I found out about the MBS program from my pre-med advisor, applied, and received my acceptance just a few days later. The MBS program was pretty much a standard post-baccalaureate program in which we took several science courses and created a research project.
Do you have any passions outside of school? If so, what are they?
Outside of medical school I really enjoy mentoring, although I’m usually talking about medical school but sometimes it’s about life in general. I also have developed a passion for entrepreneurship and starting my own business. I’m literally obsessed with the idea of creating multiple businesses and if I’m not talking about medical school or the latest TV show that I’m watching, then it’s about my future businesses. I’m in the process of creating my business plan for my first venture. If you want to know what I have in the works please check out my blog when it’s up and running. Other than that, I am so passionate about my family, especially my three year old niece and my close friends who are pretty much family at this point.
What do you do to get through the stressful nature of medical school?
I have not always been good at handling stress and I’m far from perfect. But recently more and more I have been practicing self-love and self-care. I love watching movies and shows so usually during a break from studying I will catch up on a show that I like. I also vent A LOT to friends and family. Sometimes that helps and sometimes it doesn’t. I love massages and try to get one every month. I practice mediation daily and that has helped me a lot with some of my anxiety and stress. A lot of my strength though comes from my faith and my reliance on God. I know that He wouldn’t have brought me this far to leave me here, so I repeat that to myself whenever I hit a wall and that usually helps me to make it to the next wall.
What extra-curricular activities are you involved in at your school?
I have been involved in several different extracurricular activities at my school. Currently my biggest responsibility outside of school is the Student National Medical Association. I currently serve as National Vice-President of the organization. I have been a part of this organization for about seven years and have served in several different roles throughout my time. Serving as National Vice-President has taken up a lot of my free time but its rewards far outweigh its commitment.
Who are some of your favorite musicians? Favorite books? Shows? Movies?
Favorite Musicians: Beyoncé, Janelle Monae, Usher but I will literally listen to anything R&B and anything from the 90s.
Favorite Books: I do not read as much as I want to but I’m changing that this year. So my favorites right now are Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz and The Bible.
Favorite Shows: I can watch anything that’s filmed in Atlanta. I love Law & Order: SVU; I have watched it from the beginning to now. I also love anything from Shonda Rhimes.
Favorite Movies: Save the Last Dance, the Transformers film series and all the X-Men film series.
This is simply amazing Michele! Thank you so much for taking the time to share so much information with us, it really means a lot! I’m sure that the advice you shared here will positively impact many of the people who will come across this feature! You are much appreciated! Keep on shooting for the stars!
Posted on April 3rd, 2017