Med school interviews

Meet Jessica – A 1st Year Med Student at The Ohio State University

A first-generation high school graduate, college graduate, and now medical student, Jessica certainly has an inspiring story! Born to Mexican immigrants, she serves as a role model not only to her family members but to people in her community. She’s a good friend and classmate of mine who recently started Inspire Hope, a YouTube channel targeting high school and college students interested in the premed track. I’m very excited to share her story on my blog and hope you will be as inspired as I am!

A few key points from the interview:

  • It wasn’t until her senior year of high school that she decided to pursue medicine
  • She went through the medical school application cycle twice
  • The MCAT was a challenge for her, but after a couple of retakes, she beat it
  • She created her YouTube channel to inspire high school students

Free MCAT prep courses mentioned in the video:

Check out our video interview to learn more about her story!

Staying Encouraged in the Storm

It can be incredibly hard to stay encouraged in the middle of a storm. In my application cycle, I had many moments where I felt discouraged, helpless, angry…I mean literally crying and asking God (okay I’ll admit, a few occasions yelling to God about how angry I was) why things weren’t going as planned.

Yea.

This application cycle was a roller coaster of emotions.

glass case of emotions

I’m someone who applied to 19 schools as early as June of last year (see relevant post here) and filled out 15 secondaries. Out of the 15 schools my application was complete at, I received only 2 interviews. One interview was held the 1st week of October and the 2nd interview exactly 6 months later (to the exact date). I mean the application cycle was ROUGH.

Add in the fact that the first school I interviewed at deferred me in November up until the last week in March, when I received the final decision. Rejected. 6 months of waiting. Hoping. Refreshing my emails. Checking my mailbox.

Every.

Single.

Day.

It was freaking hard.
charlie-brown-waiting-by-mailbox
During this period there was one particular song that really encouraged me when I had those dark days. It’s a Nigerian gospel song.

In the video, the protagonist’s (artist) significant other is sentenced to be killed. She’s devastated, sobbing, feeling helpless, but then she begins praising God: “Jesus you are worthy, Savior thou at worthy…Kene nu Jesu o (Give Jesus thanks)…” In the midst of her praising God, her situation turned around. The man’s life was spared.

Every time I watched the video, listened to the song, I was reminded to praise God regardless of what I’m going through. To find God in this situation. Yes the wait is frustrating, but guess what, my patience is way higher now. I know all about waiting. Yea, I only had one interview for a very loooooooooong time, but hey, at least I got one. That was a miracle on its own considering my stats and how competitive this application cycle was.

I listened to this song and was reminded to be joyful. To counteract my negative thoughts with positive ones.

It worked.

In the midst of this incredibly challenging application cycle, I was blessed in so many ways. I got into a relationship with an awesome guy (who supported me immensely during this process), I got a promotion at my job, and several other things happened that I’m thankful for.

I’m saying this to encourage someone out there. You might be in the middle of your “storm,” you might be frustrated, angry, perhaps feeling helpless…

Stay encouraged.

Lift your head up.

Find God in your situation.

Find reasons to be thankful.

A heart of praise does wonders for the soul.

Updates: “Where You Been Girl?!”

It’s been exactly 6 weeks since my last post, YIKES! It’s not that I have nothing to write about or update on, it’s just…well, a combination of different things:

  • Been really busy – a promotion means more work. And boy, have I been working!
  • The healthcare management course – Absolutely love it! I have so much to write about on this but alas, see above obstacle.
  • My mood – I’ve had my share of ups and downs, writing means coming face to face with my feelings. Sometimes I’ld rather just squash them and pretend they don’t exist than face them head on.

So yes, these are the three main reasons for the hiatus. On that note, time for updates!

This med school journey has had me feeling like:

IMG_9091

Image source: Unknown

Hilarious, but in all honesty, I’m STILL waiting on an acceptance (yes, even till now!). I also have one interview coming up. This has been a loooong journey, and I am just TIRED. This process has been so draining, particularly emotionally. Mayne! I don’t know how others can go through this process without a support system. I’m thankful for the encouragement from friends and family, Definitely. It’s nice to have someone knock some sense into me when I start sinking into a hole of self-pity.

I do have some *exciting* posts coming up:

  • Writing update letters
  • Post-bac programs and SMPs: What to consider
  • Another med student spotlight
  • Where I’ll be going in the Fall – To be determined!!

On a different note, I’ve been learning a lot about the money side of healthcare. For those who aren’t aware, it IS a business. A huge moneymaking business. Quite fascinating.

Financial health

Image source

I personally believe it’s important for providers to understand how the health system works – some knowledge on the business side of things. From what I’ve learned, it really does affect your ability to care for the patient, and it can be frustrating if you have little to no knowledge in this area (Also note: Majority, maybe 90% of the students in my class have parents who are physicians and were highly encouraged to study this area of healthcare. Could also be a selection bias though – Wharton students). I have a few things I’ld like to write about based on what I’ve been learning (someone hold me accountable please!)

  • Payment models for physicians – fee for service is terribly outdated. Should we be moving towards a capitation model? And then there’s this thug of war with health insurance companies…will write my thoughts on this later!
  • Patients having more “skin in the game” – the move towards cost-sharing and promoting health literacy in the U.S (this is on health insurance)…I have some mixed feelings about this.

And of course, whatever else comes to mind 🙂

The journey continues!

Med School Interviews: Dressing The Part

So before I go any further, I’m going to put a disclaimer: This post is more so for people on a budget. So no, I won’t be talking about designer suits or name brands – that’s frankly not how I live. However, if you’re really money conscious or not exactly rolling in dough, and wondering what to do about your suit situation, well then, please read on.

As we all know, first impressions DO matter. I recently attended a med school interviewing workshop held by my alma mater’s pre-health/ career services and here are my take-aways on dress code:

  • Keep it classy – Black and dark colored suits. This is not the time to rock that white “Olivia Pope” suit, you think is so fly or that bright colored suit you think still looks professional. Nope, not the time. Remember your audience, the individuals interviewing you are most likely older and conservative. Keep it traditional. If you want to add some spunk, add color to your dress-shirt/ button-up underneath or tie.
  • For the ladies: watch the shoes. Most interview days have a tour, don’t torture yourself by wearing heels you know very well you can’t last 8 hours in. The goal is to feel comfortable throughout and that most likely means wearing flats or low heels.
  • Keep the accessories and make-up to a minimum. Again, all the flashy stuff, unnecessary. Remember your audience. Keep it professional and conservative.

Now, where to get your suit.

If you’re on a budget like I am, there are just some stores, you don’t bother going into – I’m just saying. But hope is not lost, you CAN buy affordable and trendy looking suits. In August, I was shopping at Ross (a clothing store with amazingly affordable prices) when I saw this pantsuit. It wasn’t the exact cut I wanted but at the same time, it was too good not to pass up, and so I bought it. I’m definitely glad I did that way in advance.

charcoal suit

Sorry for the bad lighting/ picture quality!

The original/ compare price is $179.00 but I bought it for $69.99. Amazing. So I would definitely recommend checking out Ross, TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, and Burlington Coat Factory for affordable and stylish suits.

Another option is thrifting. Yes, going to the thrift store. Like I said, this is for those on a budget. A couple of years ago, I bought this suit from a local thrift store and I’ve received several compliments on it in the past (Note: this is just an example, I would still recommend a darker grey suit for interviews). The high-waisted pant and blazer were purchased separately (different brand), so I was lucky enough to find a shade that complimented both. And hey, no one can tell where I bought it. It looks great!

thrift suit

So yes, it is possible to buy affordable, stylish suits. Shop around. There’s really no need to break the bank.

Ciao!