I had such a fun time talking about my journey to medicine with Jenn on the “How Did You End Up There?” podcast the other week! It’s definitely not typical to start out in politics and end up a (almost) physician, but I can’t imagine any other path. I learned many valuable lessons along the way and had the opportunity to delve into interests that I might not have as a pre-med at 18 or as a medical student in my early 20s. We sacrifice a lot to find the time to learn all we can to save and improve lives. You can listen to the episode here – be sure to check out all of the other episodes too! It’s so interesting to get glimpses into other winding career paths.
I was also interviewed by my medical school magazine about my interest in public health and advocacy as a medical student and future physician. As I mention in the article, it is so important for medical students (and all health professionals) to see beyond the four walls of the clinic. Our patients exist in vibrant communities and we have a responsibility to understand how their social interactions and environments impact their health. It’s the main reason I started this blog – to educate and empower the next generation of physicians to do the most good for their patients.
Over the summer, I was interviewed by Accepted for their “What is Medical School Really Like?” series. I talked about my journey from legislative affairs to medicine and gave some insight into how medical school is going so far! If you’ve never heard of Accepted before, you can check them out here. They offer consulting services for students applying to college and graduate school in addition to a podcast and blog that break down the world of admissions and school life.
In my interview, I shared about being a career changer, applying smart, valuing your story, and why medical students should care and be involved in health advocacy. Yep, I definitely got on my soap box a bit! You can read the whole interview here!
Here are some other great interviews to check out:
We’re at the beginning of another medical school application cycle so today’s post is all about deciding where to apply! It’s a personal, stressful, and expensive process but I hope my thoughts can help guide you if you’re struggling to start or just don’t know how to narrow down your list! And a quick caveat to start — everyone has their own priorities when deciding where to apply to school. These were mine and it’s ok if yours are different.
Before you reach the end of your post-bacc, there is one big decision you will have to make: pursue a linkage that takes you right into medical school or choose a “glide year” while you complete the full medical school application process. (There was a lot of ice cream and traveling during my glide year!)
Some medical schools have an arrangement with post-bacc programs to conditionally accept some students to medical school for the fall that follows the completion of a post-bacc. Students apply though AMCAS (the medical school application system) in the fall (one year before they intend to matriculate in medical school through the linkage), interview with the medical school if the schools determines they meet specific criteria set forth by the school, and may be conditionally accepted. This conditional acceptance hinges on completion of the post-bacc (and there might be some grade requirements) and achieving a certain MCAT score.
Real quick reminder: a post-bacc program allows students that have already attended college to complete all the prerequisites for admission to medical school, physical therapy school, veterinary school, and other health professions schools. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has an extensive list of post-bacc programs. Programs have some variation in extra courses and program length, but they all get you the core basic science classes required for medical school and to prep you for the MCAT.
During my senior year of college, I took a class called Man’s Food, which was a basic nutrition course and it made me question everything I knew about healthy eating. I became a bit too regimented in what I ate for a few months — oatmeal or eggs for breakfast; a sandwich, carrots, and an apple for lunch; and then it was up in the air for dinner– but I lost a good, and needed, 10 pounds. Then I started walking on the treadmill every other day and eventually, ran my first half marathon. It was an incredible accomplishment and also some of the worst physical pain and exhaustion I have ever felt.
Running 13.1 miles in Orlando in October can be brutal — it was still so hot and humid and my longest training runs had been during D.C.’s lovely crisp fall. But I did it, recovered, and then wanted more. I even convinced a group of colleagues to run a half marathon with me! [Yes, we’re still friends!] I eventually reached a point where I started running less and joined a the gym so I could try out Bodypump class, which I learned about years ago from Julie of Peanut Butter Fingers. I went to that class twice a week until I moved to Philadelphia — the first time I took it, I was so sore I couldn’t walk without pain for nearly a week!
I need to thank the Clare at Fitting It All In for blogging about her experiences in a post bacc premed program. When I learned that this type of program existed for people like me — career-changers who wanted to go to medical school (or other biomedical or health sciences careers) with no science background — I got onto Google and typed in “post bacc premed blog.” Her site was one of the first to come up! Now I’m in medical school after five years in the professional and graduate school worlds, a year in a post bacc, and a glorious year spent as a nanny for the cutest two year old. So, I think it’s time to pay it forward.