Hometown: Tampa Bay, Florida
Name of Undergraduate Institution: University of Miami (BS, 2014)
Major(s)/Minor(s) in College: Double Major: Religious Studies & Biology; Minor: Chemistry
Name of Medical School: University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (MD, 2021)
Residency Program: Harvard Combined Dermatology Program
Favorite Quote: “What’s for you, absolutely will not miss you!”
Contact Info: IG: @VictoriaSHumphrey
Where are you currently at in your career path and why did you decide to pursue this career path?
Hi everyone! I’m Victoria and I’m a fourth-year at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. On Match Day, I found out that I’ll be heading back to South Florida for my internal medicine preliminary year at the University of Miami – JFK GME Consortium before moving up to Boston to join the Harvard Combined Dermatology Program family! So right now, I’m just preparing for the transition from medical student to intern and making the absolute most of my last moments of medical school.
Dermatology is truly just the most amazing field and I feel so fortunate to have had such phenomenal mentors along this journey – I love the mix of medicine, infectious disease, procedures, psychiatric health, and counseling! I’m passionate about skin of color dermatology, reducing disparities in dermatologic access and treatment, advocating for increased diversity within the field (it’s currently the second least diverse specialty in medicine), and working with medically underserved communities. Additionally, I’m passionate about medical journalism and mentorship, so if you have any questions about medical school, pursuing dermatology, or life in general, please don’t hesitate to reach out!
If you could go back and have a chat with your naïve college freshman self, what would you tell her?
A smooth sea never made for a skilled sailor. Ebbs and flows in life are inevitable, but at the end of the day remember to have faith that what’s for you, absolutely will not miss you!
One exam score does not define you – one scholarship or summer program rejection does not define you nor mean that you will not be a phenomenal physician one day (trust me, none of us have had seamless journeys!)
What advice would you give to someone getting ready to start their application process to medical schools?
Know your brand and stay true to yourself!
Did you take some time off before medical school? If so, what did you do during that time?
Yes, I did. I took three gap years before matriculating to medical school, primarily because my father unexpectedly passed away. During my time off, I took the MCAT, continued to work, spent a lot of quality time with my family, and traveled with my mother (she’s a flight attendant).
What do you like to do for fun?
- Spending time with my family and friends.
- Working out – I’m always down to try a new HIIT workout, but running and lifting weights are my go-to workouts!
- Traveling – in non-pandemic times, of course!
- Thrifting, trying new ice cream spots, visiting local farmer’s markets, and buying things I probably don’t need in the dollar section at Target.
What do you feel is the most challenging part of medical school? The easiest part?
Aside from the overwhelming amount of new information you’re expected to absorb and apply quickly, I think two of the most challenging aspects of medical school are 1) figuring out how you study/learn best (and being willing to adjust that method at the drop of a hat) and 2) the never-ending battle of seeking “balance.”
Studying in medical school isn’t the same as studying in high school or undergrad; there’s so many resources out there, it is often very challenging to figure out which resource(s) or method(s) will get you the results you want! Furthermore, you have to be willing to quickly pivot if what you’re doing isn’t working for you.
Balance is truly a never-ending uphill battle in medical school. But I remember I once read an article that equated balance to juggling act with both glass and rubber balls. If you drop a glass ball it will shatter, but if you drop a rubber ball it will bounce. You just have to be cognizant of what in your life is a glass ball at the moment and what is a rubber bouncy ball. Anytime I get overwhelmed, I try to remember this analogy.
As for the easiest part, I don’t know if I can truly pinpoint one. Every block of medical school is a new challenge and I’ve just tried to accept every challenge in stride. It’s so important to remember to run your own race in medical school and not to slow yourself down by always “looking back” by comparing yourself to those around you. What may be easy for one person, might not be so easy for you (it actually might be a complete struggle for you). And, that’s okay.
What do you do to get through the stressful nature of medical school?
Working out is usually my “stress reliever” of choice. For me, taking 20-30 minutes for myself in the morning to go on a run, do yoga, or a workout video is not only an opportunity to clear my mind before the stress of the day piles up, but let me tell you those endorphins are truly unmatched!
Even when I had to be at the hospital at 4:45/5 am during my surgery rotation, I still made the time to wake up early and get my morning workout in, because for me those 20-30 minutes of “me time” are truly priceless in the whirlwind that is medical school.
What extra-curricular activities are you involved in at your school?
I’ve been the student government treasurer for all four years of medical school and had the opportunity to work side-by-side with a phenomenal group of girl bosses to plan events ranging from the annual Halloween Party fundraiser to our hybrid (virtual + in-person) 2021 Match Day celebration – we’re all extremely proud of pulling that one off!
I’ve also been involved with the Student Dermatology Clinic for the Underserved (SDU), the Dermatology Interest Group (DIG), the Student National Medical Association (SNMA), the American Medical Association (AMA), and the Committee on the Learning Environment (ELEAP).
What is it like attending school in your city?
The University of Pittsburgh was my number one choice going into the medical school application process, because my mother’s side of the family is originally from Pittsburgh and at the time both my grandmother and great-grandmother were still alive, so spending as much time as possible with them (and the rest of my family as well!) was exceedingly important for me.
Pittsburgh definitely has small town vibes with big city amenities (including museums, a bustling art scene, trendy restaurants, and lots and lots of sports – Go Steelers!) and better yet, it’s the only city that greets you with a “grand entrance” – if you’ve ever driven from the airport into Downtown Pittsburgh, you know exactly what I’m talking about!
Being a medical student at Pitt is great, because given that we are the only medical school in Western Pennsylvania, there’s never a shortage of clinical or research opportunities for us to pursue. Also, we have our own children’s and women’s hospitals, so our clinical experiences are bar none. Aside from the clinical and research opportunities, I’m truly blessed to have found a supportive community in Pittsburgh that helped me to not just survive in medical school, but thrive! I’m so incredibly grateful to everyone who has poured into me throughout this journey.
What were some of your involvements in college? Have those involvements helped you in any way in medical school?
I started competing in pageants/scholarship programs as a senior in high school, because to be honest I was so sick of just writing essays to earn money to pay for my education (coming from a single-parent household, I knew that all of the responsibility surrounding financing my education would fall to me). When I found the Distinguished Young Women of America (formerly America’s Junior Miss) program in a Princeton Review Scholarship Guide, I knew that I had to give it a shot!
Going into my first competition I had minimal expectations, yet somehow, I managed to win my state title and earn the opportunity to represent the state of Florida at the National Finals in Mobile, Alabama. Although I didn’t win (or even place at the national competition), I still had a phenomenal year left ahead of me serving the state of Florida.
Through pageantry/ scholarship competitions, not only did I have the opportunity to earn money towards my education, but I also got to perform my talent (I’m a dancer – lyrical is my choice style), serve as a goodwill ambassador to the community, and take on mentorship roles. I was hooked! And when I got to college, I continued to compete in the Miss America system (Miss University of Miami 2011, Miss Coral Gables 2014, Miss Pasco County Fair 2015, Miss Winter Park 2016) and eventually placed 2nd runner-up to the title of Miss Florida 2016 and won the title of Miss National Sweetheart 2016.
As a titleholder, I also launched my community service organization entitled Apples 4 Education through which I have donated almost $12,000 worth of supplies, graduation regalia, prom gowns, and backpacks to students at Title I Schools throughout the states of Florida and Pennsylvania. As a medical student, I co-founded Snacks for STEM to provide snacks, along with exposure to the field of medicine, to students whose families struggle with food insecurity.
I’m aware that many stereotypes/misconceptions exist in regards to pageantry and the young women who choose to compete in the many systems that exist. However, pageants are so much more than sparkly dresses, heels, and swimsuits – in fact, what I think I value the most from my time in pageantry (aside from the sisterhood I joined and the relationships I formed) is the “art of the interview.” What most don’t realize about pageantry is that at least 25% of our cumulative score comes from the “personal interview” portion of the pageant in which we are tasked with convincing a panel of 5 or more judges to give us a job for a year. Oh, did I also mention that we have 10 minutes or less to cinch the deal?
These skills have certainly helped me with throughout my career as a medical student and I’m sure they’ll carry through into my career as a dermatologist as well.
Aside from pageantry, I was also a President’s 100 Tour Guide and a College of Arts & Sciences Dean’s Student Ambassador. I spent a semester studying abroad in Rome, Italy through the Department of Religious Studies and also spent time in Ecuador on a global health brigade.
Who are some of your favorite musicians? Favorite books? Shows? Movies?
I like reading autobiographies and I really enjoy watching trash tv (seriously, I love all the reality tv shows!), whatever the newest documentary is on Netflix, and House Hunters/most shows on HGTV.
My playlists (especially my workout ones) are all over the place from Prince and 80’s rock to Florida rap music, reggaeton, and Celine Dion.
This is amazing Victoria! Thank you so much for spending the time to share such helpful and thoughtful answers with us! There is a lot that we can learn from your eclectic experiences! You are very much appreciated and we wish you all the best as you press forward through your intern year and your career in Dermatology!
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Posted on July 12th, 2021