Hometown: Winston-Salem, NC
Name of Undergraduate Institution: University of North Carolina Wilmington ‘16,
Major(s)/Minor(s) in College: B.S.—Biology, Minors: Chemistry and Neuroscience / M.S.—Biomedical Science
Name of Medical School: Wake Forest University Graduate School ’17; Wake Forest School of Medicine
Favorite Quote: “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.” – Booker T. Washington
Contact Info: Email: email@example.com
Where are you currently at in your career path and why did you decide to pursue this career path?
I am a second-year medical student at Wake Forest School of Medicine with interests in many different specialties of medicine. I originally decided to pursue medicine after attending a youth pre-medical camp during the summer of my junior year of high school. Attending this camp gave me an early exposure to the medical field which I found to be intellectually stimulating, while also meshing with my love for science and working with people. As such, having this experience early in my development had a profound impact on my decision to pursue a science major as an undergrad, and later, choosing to apply to medical school.
If you could go back and have a chat with your naïve college freshman self, what would you tell him?
Don’t lose focus of your purpose in life! During the first half or so of college, I lived too much in the moment and became complacent in the fact that I made it to college. I lost sight of the main reason as to why I wanted to attend college and pursue my future career goals. Basically, I let off the gas some once I was in college. If you have a desire to attend medical school, or any other professional school, it is imperative to remain focused on your goal and to put in continuous effort throughout college until you achieve that goal. College—not medical school—is really the starting point towards achieving your dreams of becoming a physician. So start early in living with a purpose, but still have some fun too!
What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a similar path as yours?
The most valuable piece of advice that I would give to anyone wanting to become a medical student and a physician is to believe in yourself and be fully committed to the long journey. Applying to medical school and then succeeding through the coursework is without a doubt very rigorous and, at times, discouraging. In order to succeed through those darker times and obstacles that we all must face on this pathway to practicing medicine, it is vital to refrain from second-guessing yourself; but instead, maintain focus on what you’re most passionate about and never give up! If you remain determined and true to who you are, there is much success to be gained, in addition to experiencing the wonders and privileges that come with this great profession.
What is your favorite thing about your medical school?
At my medical school we are exposed to the clinical part of medicine very early on throughout our pre-clinical, didactic years. For me, this has been my most favorite part of my medical school. It’s great to be able to learn and practice my clinical skills by seeing real patients in our hospital from day one, as opposed to traditionally waiting until our third year. Also, our curriculum integrates clinical ultrasound throughout our first couple of years of education, so we are able to apply what we are learning in the classroom to gaining viable skills in using ultrasound machines to diagnose and treat patients.
Did you take some time off before medical school? If so, what did you do during that time?
I took a year off in-between graduating from undergrad and attending medical school to complete a post-baccalaureate program where I received my Master’s Degree in Biomedical Science. During this year of graduate school, I completed full-time biomedical science coursework and research in preparation for applying to medical school.
Do you have any passions outside of school? If so, what are they?
I am really passionate about helping and working with underserved youth in my community. Whether that involves mentoring, participating in play, or volunteering, I enjoy spending my time to provide guidance and support in order to connect with their interests and needs.
What do you like to do for fun?
Whenever free time presents itself away from studying and coursework (like hardly ever!), I enjoy painting, basketball, exploring new restaurants and breweries, and hanging out with friends.
What do you feel is the most challenging part of medical school? The easiest part?
I believe the most challenging part of medical school is maintaining control of the growing mountain of coursework that is given while also managing the limited amount of time you have. Essentially, the volume and intensity of medical school can be very overwhelming at times. It can become frustrating when you realize that it’s nearly impossible to always feel fully ahead of what you’re responsible for knowing. Fortunately, this is something that the vast majority of medical students endure, and becomes easier to manage over time as you become more acquainted with the academic environment, your study-skills and time-management.
The easiest part of medical school is finding passion and enjoyment in what you’re studying. Before attending medical school, I think many people aren’t always been super passionate about the day-to-day school; more so we saw the different levels of education as a necessary hurdle in life. I believe this all changes for most people once they begin medical school. Being able to easily have a genuine interest and passion about what you are learning and doing makes all of the tough times in medical school worthwhile.
What did you do during the summer before you started medical school?
I relaxed! Other than moving and getting things together, I did absolutely nothing and enjoyed my time off with friends and family.
What do you do to get through the stressful nature of medical school?
The best way for me to deal with the stresses of medical school is to get away—in the literal sense. I make sure to remove myself away from my studies often in order to involve myself in activities that I enjoy, such as painting, exercise, volunteering, and spending time with friends and family. Taking an adequate time-out for myself has been important for me in maintaining a relatively low level of stress while in medical school.
What extra-curricular activities are you involved in at your school?
I am currently involved in leadership positions within SNMA and a male-mentoring program, called SYSTEM, where I help to mentor young minority males at a local elementary school. Furthermore, I volunteer and help lead our medical school’s free community clinic for low-income families, known as DEAC Clinic.
Who are some of your favorite musicians? Favorite books? Shows? Movies?
My favorite musicians are Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, and Damian Marley. My favorite book is East of Eden—Great read with an intricate story! Currently, Narcos on Netflix is my favorite show. And my favorite movie is Rush Hour.
Thanks a ton for all of your insightful responses Victor! Your words definitely ring true and I'm sure that many medical students can relate to what you've said! Best of luck to you as you advance through your second-year and beyond!
Posted on September 17th, 2018