Hometown: Miami, FL
Name of Undergraduate Institution: University of Miami
Major(s)/Minor(s) in College: Major: Neuroscience, Minors: Chemistry and Sports Medicine
Name of Medical School: University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine
Favorite Quote: “Try not to become a person of success, but rather try to become a person of value.” – Albert Einstein
Contact Info: Instagram: @viviz27
Where are you currently at in your career path and why did you decide to pursue this career path?
I just finished my first year of my MD/MPH program at the University of Miami and it was truly some of the best times of my life. I really became interested in medicine when I joined the Minority Association of Pre-Med Students my freshman year of college and started shadowing and seeing all the amazing work that physicians do. I developed a passion for the medical field and I honestly couldn’t see myself doing anything else. I also have always been interested in global health and health disparities, many of which I saw firsthand while visiting my family in Peru, thus making the MD/MPH program a perfect fit for me.
If you could go back and have a chat with your naïve college freshman self, what would you tell her?
Not to sweat the small stuff, and to focus on the bigger picture. I remember I was always stressed about school and extracurricular deadlines and many times I didn’t take a step back and enjoy being in the moment. I’m getting better at that in medical school; by focusing on the big picture of becoming a physician, it makes me even more motivated to work harder now but not stress out so much about getting 100% on everything, and it also helps that everything we learn is extremely interesting.
What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a similar path as yours?
Don’t let little failures get in the way of achieving what you want. I didn’t do so well in one of my science classes my senior year and instead of thinking “there goes my chances at medical school”, I worked harder than I ever worked and ended up doing really well the following semester and I think medical schools really appreciated seeing that.
I would also say to reach out to as many people as you can for help. No one in my entire family is in the medical field and I would have been so lost in the application/MCAT process if it wasn’t for the many people that gave me guidance throughout the way.
What is your favorite thing about your medical school?
Learning something interesting and amazing every day. In undergrad, I definitely had moments when I thought “why am I learning this? I will never use this!” But in medical school, every day I learn something that will help me become a better physician and it is unbelievable to learn all the amazing things a human body is capable of.
Do you have another professional degree? If so, how has it impacted you?
I’m working at the same time towards my MPH degree and it has been so valuable to learn about all the ways clinical medicine and public health interact and depend on each other. It has made me look at medicine and patient care in a new light and has made me aware of all the different disciplines that go into making a change in the way healthcare operates.
What advice would you give to someone getting ready to start their application process to medical schools?
Start early! Best advice I have ever gotten, get your application in ASAP and all the necessary materials the first week it opens up. Also, don’t go on online forums that much, I just got so stressed when people were posting their 99 percentile MCAT score and 4.0 GPA but that’s just a part of your application. You made it this far; don’t let random people on the Internet tell you you’re not good enough. Because you are!!
Did you take some time off before medical school? If so, what did you do during that time?
I took a year off and it was probably one the best decisions I’ve made! I worked as a medical scribe in a geriatrics clinic and did neurocognitive research but I had a lot of time to relax, watch Netflix and join a Crossfit gym.
What do you like to do for fun?
I am a HUGE sports fan so I love going to Miami Heat and Miami Marlines games. I get very passionate about sports so it is a great outlet for me outside of medical school. I also love going to the beach and exploring new restaurants in Brickell and in Wynwood.
What extra-curricular activities are you involved in at your school?
This year I am super excited to be the President of the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA)! It is an organization that I am very passionate about and hope to do great things in this year. I am also a Student Admissions Ambassador and Activities Director for my academic society. I am also very interested in pursing neurology so I am involved in the Student Interest Group for Neurology (SIGN).
Awesome, thank you so much for sharing some of your words of wisdom with us Vivi! You are very much appreciated, and your advice will be taken to heart by many readers! Congrats on getting through your first year of medical school and best of luck to you as you continue to excel as a student-leader!
Posted on July 12th, 2017