SMDEP

Meet Stacy – A 2nd Year Med Student at American University of Antigua

drConsidering a Caribbean medical school? Then check out Stacy’s story. Stacy is a second year medical student at American University of Antigua (AUA). We met Summer 2010 through SMDEP (college freshmen and sophomores, I encourage you to APPLY!). She certainly had her share of curveballs on her journey to medical school. During her sophomore year of college, she fell ill with Lupus, a systemic autoimmune disease. Despite this and other challenges along the way, she refused to give up on her goal. I’m in awe of her story and very excited to share it with you all!

What led you to pursue medicine?
My parents were great motivators for me to look towards a career in medicine. At a young age, they were able to assess my characteristics and really guide me towards the field.

What was your major in college and how did that prepare you for medical school?
I majored in Biology at North Carolina A&T State University. My major assisted me with understanding the foundations during my first year of medical school. The courses such as genetics, virology and cell/molecular biology are just a few courses that I really recommend undergrads take seriously if they plan on attending medical school.

Did you ever consider giving up on your dream? What obstacles or hurdles did you have to overcome in your medical school journey?
Oh yes! After my MCAT scores remained below average, I looked at several other options within the health field. To tell you the truth, every time I considered another option a little life escaped from me.

Like many students, I had my education and career goals planned out up. I planned on graduating Summa Cum Laude, within 4 years and heading straight to medical school thereafter. During my sophomore year in undergrad, I fell ill with SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus), which was my first detour in life. Missing a semester (especially according to my education plan), threw off my course schedule which wouldn’t allow me to take the MCAT during my junior year. Therefore, I had to re-evaluate and adjust accordingly. I registered for summer classes and took a large load during the semester because I really wanted to graduate in the year 2011, even if it would be a winter graduation.

By the grace of God, I successfully obtained both my goals of graduating in the year 2011 and Summa Cum Laude.

The MCAT: I wanted to use the self-study method because I wanted to save my parents’ funds for when medical school actually approached. Unfortunately, this option didn’t allot me the scores necessary to gain acceptance into a U.S college/school of Medicine.

It’s really cool that you’re attending med school in the Caribbean, can you tell us more about that? What’s the experience like for you? Any advice for students considering this option?
Attending school in the Caribbean is a really great option for those who are still determined to pursue their medical career despite their trials. I am starting my second year at American University of Antigua (AUA) and I am extremely blessed for the opportunity to be here. One thing I enjoy about my school is that it’s comprised of students from different nationalities, all with the same goal. The classes are large (about 200 students) per semester, but the journey is worthwhile. I personally have not “enjoyed” the island because I am focused on the goal ahead of me. The culture of the local Antiguan residents is slower than most are used too, but I enjoy it.

For anyone planning on considering this option I would suggest you first pray for guidance on such a huge decision, and then find students who have attended that particular school and inquire of their particular experience. Attending a Caribbean school should never be considered an “easier route”!! One must now supersede their American counterparts board scores to be considered a spot for residency and the like.

So how was the application process for you?
Since I had all of my documents from the AMCAS system, the process was fairly easy and swift.

How is your first year of medical school going?
It is going (LOL). Or shall I say “it went” since I am entering my second year this February. It was a lot of hard work, and the pressure is always apparent. I had to find ways to relax and not stress out because medical school is a journey, not a race.

What do you enjoy most about medical school?
I love learning about how the human body functions. It intrigues me how well put together our whole body is and how we are able to self sufficiently compensate in times of stress (if all is normal).

Please describe any activities you are involved in at your school
I am actively involved in an organization called “Doctors for Christ” where last semester I was the Praise and Worship leader. We come together once a week to fellowship, pray and encourage one another through our medical school journey. I also volunteer for our campus health fairs that we hold for the local residents within the community.

How do you balance your personal time with medical school?
What personal time? LOL just kidding! I had to learn how to allow personal time in my schedule because I actually endured “burning out” and it was the most nonproductive experience ever. Since calling my family isn’t an easy option due to long distance charges, I have to find other things to do. Candy Crush was a very helpful remedy. I created time to attend a local church and spending time with the Lord in prayer has never failed me

Do you have any advice for students considering a career in medicine?
If you really have the passion for medicine take time to pray about your decision, research your options and literally surrender yourself to the journey that God Almighty will take you on. It may not be the one you planned on but If the Lord is with you, He will definitely see you through.

Thank you for sharing your story Stacy. Very inspiring!
Any questions for Stacy? Leave a comment below and she’ll get back to you.

Do also check out the other Med Student Spotlights!

Reflecting on 2014: A Year of Greater

It’s that time of the year when I sit and reflect on the year – the highlights, the lessons learned, the challenges, and the celebratory moments. To do this, I use my journal and scan through the many months of writing, laughing, “oOoo’ing” and “Awww’ing” all through the exercise. It is in this moment I realize how much I accomplished this year, the lessons learned along the way, and how much of an impact certain events had on my life. In the beginning of 2014, I sought to embody my church’s theme for the year: “2014: Year of Greater.” Below is an excerpt from my January 2nd, 2014 journal entry:

Words can’t begin to describe how excited I am for this year. Like forreal. This is my year of greater favor, greater blessings, greater miracles. I mean God is seriously about to work in my life.

And God did work. In a mighty way

Here are a just few highlights from the year:

January
I launched my fitness instagram: @fitandfine_withdee which promotes fitness, health, and nutrition.

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February
I created my Afrobeat cardio video which now has 6000+ views on YouTube. Never would have thought!

March
I felt extremely overwhelmed and exhausted working full-time and taking classes in the evening. Taking Immunobiology may not have been the smartest idea.

I also joined my church choir 😀

April
I felt exhausted for most of the month. A lot of late nights, not much sleep. I was working 40 hour weeks and taking two classes in the evenings (I also took Biochemistry during my gap year by the way). My plan was to take advantage of the tuition benefit at my job – taking up to 2 classes for free. Lesson learned for those thinking of working full-time and taking classes to boost your med school application: I should have stuck with one.

May
Traveled to Chicago for a friend’s wedding. Awesome time!

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June
Started blogging again! Turned in my med school application (AMCAS) early – oh yeaaa!!

Led a month long boot camp as an instructor for SweatU

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Also published my first med student spotlight. It was on Naya, a second year med student. The post received a lot of positive feedback and has become the second highest viewed post on my blog at 548 views (as of today).

My cousin visited me from South Africa – awesome time!

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July
Wrote a lot of secondaries for med schools

Got my braces installed – I am now team metal mouth 😛

Competed in my second Spartan Obstacle race

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August
Took my MCAT again – no more!

Taught my first college seminar (preceptorial): “Say NO to the Freshman 15!

September
Invited to be a campaign manager for Memunatu Magazine’s Indiegogo campaign

Accepted high school cross country coaching position!

Got my first med school interview invite!!!

Presented at a conference on research I’ve been working on at my job (I was a co-presenter)

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October
My birthday! Had a blast ALL week

Med school interview!

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November
Got into a relationship with the most awesome guy 🙂

I attended the RWJF Scholars Forum and SMDEP Alumni Summit – great time!

My first radio appearance!

December
I published my post: “#WhiteCoats4BlackLives: Acknowledging The Political Determinants of Health” which became the most viewed post on my site. In just less than a month, it has 1,122 views!

My post on the national white coat die-in gets published on “The health Care Blog.” This was a major accomplishment for me!! You can check it out here.

I get a promotion at my job!


All this to say, this year has certainly been a year of greater. I challenged myself more than I had done in the past and definitely pushed through several obstacles. I am thankful for an AMAZING year and very thankful to you, my readers, for reading each post, sharing them, and accompanying me on this journey. I am extremely excited for what 2015 has in store.

Cheers and Happy New Year Folks!

RWJF Scholars Forum & SMDEP 25th Anniversary Alumni Luncheon

This past weekend I was in Washington, D.C. for the SMDEP Alumni Summit and 25th Anniversary Celebration. Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP) is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded program for underrepresented minorities and disadvantaged students on the medical or dental path. It offers academic enrichment, clinical exposure, career development, health policy seminars, and development of study and learning skills. It is 6 weeks long and is held at 12 different sites in the country. I participated in this program in 2010 at Howard University College of Medicine. If you are a current freshman or sophomore in college reading this, I HIGHLY encourage you to apply. It was an amazing experience and hands down one of my favorite clinical experiences. You may notice that two of the med student spotlights featured on my site are also SMDEP alumni.

Hey it’s me!

The alumni summit takes place every year, but this was my first time attending. It started out with the “RWJF Scholars Forum: Disparities, Resilience, and Building a Culture of Health” on Friday Morning. The first part of the event was a “Why We’re Here” session with three speakers. One poignant point that came up with all three speakers was the importance of looking at systems that relate to social determinants of health, access to quality care, education, and more instead of health policy. In other words, focusing on health systems to address health disparities.

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The highlight of the forum was “A Conversation on Health Disparities” which was moderated by the Director of Hopkins Center of Health Disparities Solution, Thomas LaVeist, PhD, and included four panelists:

It was a very stimulating and interesting discussion and I ended up live tweeting the event. Topics that came up included: the importance of data and research in effecting change; the importance of engaging the right key holders when doing research – essentially the importance of doing community participatory research; the importance of including (and possibly mandating) cultural competency courses in medical education; and the current political and social justice climate with the non-indictment of Eric Garner, and how this is relevant to the discussion on health disparities (there needs to be a focus on political determinants of health). The conversation ended with the conclusion that community resilience can be learned and modeled. The question is how can we build resilient communities to tackle/ eliminate these disparities in health care.

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Next was the SMDEP 25th Anniversary Alumni Luncheon

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Darrell kirch, MD, President & CEO of the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), as well as Richard Valachovic, DMD, MPH,  President & CEO of the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) spoke during the luncheon. One statement particulary stood out to me from what Dr. Valachovic said:

“SMDEP doubles your chances of getting accepted into dental school..It’s a game changer for dental school.”

Again, if you are a freshman or sophomore in college, I highly encourage you to apply. With such a strong statement from the president of ADEA, and with data to back it up, SMDEP is definitely a summer program worth participating in.

Other speakers also gave their perspectives. One of them was James Gavin, MD, PhD, Founding Director of SMDEP. He took us on a journey of how SMDEP was founded and how it progressively changed over the years. It was very fascinating.

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Lastly, there were reflections from two SMDEP alums, Richard Ansong, DDS and Tyeese Gaines, DO. They talked about the impact SMDEP made on their lives and the importance of the program. It was encouraging to listen to their journey and success story despite the obstacles they faced. You can read more of Dr. Gaines’s story here.

All in all, I had a great time at both events. I met some really cool people, including a physician from UTHealth at Houston. We had a long discussion on primary care mental health integration, my research, his work as a psychiatrist, and more. Furthermore, I ran into some old friends from my program – Nailah and Kathryn. Kathryn (featured as a med student spotlight) gave a poster presentation later that night on research she conducted over the summer.

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In conclusion, it was definitely a packed first day. Unfortunately I couldn’t stay for the entire conference and had to leave the next morning. Regardless, I had a great time. FullSizeRender

Building a Culture of Health: The RWJF Vision

The gap year chronicles continue. About a month ago, I had the opportunity of listening to Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey MD, MBA speak at the University of Pennsylvania. This particular event was part of a seminar series being held by The Center for Public Health Initiatives at Penn. Who is Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey? She is the CEO and President of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care. When I found out she would be speaking on campus, I was more than excited to attend this event for several reasons:

1. During undergrad, I did the Summer Medical Dental Education Program (SMDEP),  a national program established by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It’s goal is to increase the representation of minorities in the medical and dental workforce to address the gaps in health disparities.

2. I LOVE what the Robert Wood Johnson foundation is about – providing grants to examine social and economic factors that can impact health, poverty, and access to health care, among other things. As I may have mentioned in the past, this is related to the work/ research I currently do full-time. I mean just awesome work in general.

3. Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey is the first woman and the first African-American to head the foundation. Um what? A black woman in power? I’m with it!

4. Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey is also a fellow alum of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Business school) – woot woot!!

5. I’m tryna get like her – yep, she’s my career crush.

I got to chat with Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey! Clearly in the moment.

She shared the new vision of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Building a culture of health and delved into what that meant. She also shed light on some of the health issues we currently face, one being childhood obesity. Despite these stark realities, she provided hope – it is up to us, the people, to change our current trajectory. It is up to us to build a culture of health and it starts with a vision. Her talk was very inspiring and as she gave examples of everyday people and community leaders striving to change their community, I felt empowered. You can read more about these individuals here: The RWJF Culture of Health Prize Winners.

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I’m incredibly glad I went to the talk. What made it even more awesome, is when a few weeks later during my last med school interview, my faculty interviewer brought up the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She mentioned she loves the work they do and would love to get a grant for a current community project she’s working on. You can imagine how thrilled I was. I was freaking ECSTATIC! One, because I could actually talk about this topic (note: My interest in the RWJF is not mentioned anywhere in my application, it came up organically due to my interest in health disparities) and two, I was like YES! My faculty interviewer and I have similar interests.

You can learn more about the RWJF vision of building a culture of health in the video below. Ciao!

 

Meet Kathryn – A 2nd year Med Student at Meharry Medical College

“You have to fail a little in life to be able to survive and thrive and I am no longer afraid of failure. If I never fail, it just means that my goals aren’t high enough.” – Kathryn

An MIT alum and 2nd year med student at Meharry Medical College, Kathryn is a testament that when it comes to pursuing your dreams, giving up is NEVER an option. I’m very excited to feature my fellow SMDEP alum! Check out Kathryn‘s journey to med school, the obstacles along the way, her advice on choosing post-bac programs, and more!

So what led you to pursue medicine?
My father is an OBGYN. From a very young age, I was extremely familiar with the hospital. On days when I would be too sick to go to school, I would often wait for my daddy to get off work in the doctor’s lounge or his personal medical office. The summer of my freshman year of high school, I became involved with volunteering at the hospital in which my mother worked. I met tons of patients through the emergency department and the gift shop. These patients and their families were flustered about where their procedure was being done in this busy hospital, and I would smile, reassure them, and help them find the correct room. Through that patient interaction, I eased their worry, and I think from that moment I knew I wanted to pursue a career in healthcare where I could make a positive impact on someone’s life in one of their most vulnerable moments.

That’s really cool. What did you decide to study in college and how did that prepare you for medical school?
In college, I studied Nuclear Engineering at MIT. In high school, I took a tour of MIT’s nuclear reactor and was fascinated by the research being done there on terminal cancer patients with Boron Neutron Capture Therapy in the 1950s. It had since been discontinued, because of cases of pneumonia and the need for an MD/PhD to oversee the project and I knew that I wanted to be that person. I went back home excited about the possibility of becoming a Nuclear Engineer and a radiation oncologist someday. I shadowed a radiation oncologist, which further solidified my passion for it.

Nuclear engineering was a great major for me. I enjoyed learning the material. The great thing about engineering is it gives you the problem solving and the thinking skills that you can apply to a wide range of future career options. The future is limitless for a great engineer. However, it was extremely stressful trying to fit in my premedical classes with the classes for my major (no overlap at all). I spent my summers learning more about medicine by doing research in medicine and SMDEP at Howard University School of Medicine. I became an EMT on campus. I tried to get all the exposure that I could to medicine.  Ultimately, I still didn’t feel prepared to start medical school after graduation and so I applied and was accepted to a post-baccalaureate program at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, NC.

Please tell us about your Post bac program
Post baccalaureate programs are not created equal. In undergraduate I was able to take all my premedical courses, so I was looking for a post baccalaureate program that would build on my prior knowledge, I did not want to retake the prerequisites. At my post baccalaureate, 10 other minority students and I took classes in anatomy, biochemistry, problem-based learning, systems physiology and pharmacology, microbiology and neuroanatomy. This is essentially the first year of medical school. Doing well in my post baccalaureate gave me the confidence that I would to do well in medical school. We were also required to be active in SNMA at Wake Forest and do community service. I volunteered once a week at the Brenner’s Children’s Hospital in the hematology/ oncology playroom. The purpose of the program was to bring diversity to Wake Forest. I definitely benefitted immensely from the connections I made there. All of the students in my post baccalaureate class were accepted to Wake Forest School of Medicine the following year and most are attending that institution. I loved my post baccalaureate experience, and I would recommend one to you if you feel like you need some time before medical school, but be sure to do your research and pick the right one for you.

That’s great advice. So during this journey did you ever consider giving up on your dream? What obstacles or hurdles did you have to overcome in your medical school journey?
One of my biggest obstacles in my medical school journey was during my senior year of college. I chose to pledge a Sorority, play varsity basketball, do radiation oncology research, and serve as president of the Black Women’s Alliance, which is one of the organizations on campus for black women while taking the biggest course load I had ever taken at MIT. I definitely spread myself too thin. I thought by waiting a year to apply to medical school, I could bring my GPA up a few points, but instead it dropped. Not only that, I wasn’t sleeping most days and I got extremely sick during my last few months of school and almost failed a literature class that I needed in order to graduate. All that being said, my second semester of senior year had some of my worst memories of undergraduate. I remember crying in a bathroom at the end of first semester senior year after reading that I received a 12 out of 200 on my Organic Chemistry 2 final. I thought my medical school dreams were over. In retrospect, I’m not sure why I stressed myself out and put all the pressure on myself during that year. I think you have to fail a little in life to be able to survive and thrive and I am no longer afraid of failure. If I never fail, it just means that my goals aren’t high enough. So I am grateful for those experiences that I had. All things being equal, if I could do it again I would have had the courage to apply to medical school during my junior year of college.

That’s a very interesting journey. So how was the application process for you?
The application process was stressful for me. I applied later than most people, around September. When I applied I was not one hundred percent sure of my application. I think the only reason I applied when I did was that it was a requirement of my post-baccalaureate program to apply to medical schools. I chose a wide range of medical schools that were in close geographic proximity to home irregardless of the school’s ranking. I studied for and took the MCAT the summer that I was doing research before my senior year. I received a good score but I would advise you to study for the MCAT better than I did. I would also advise you to start early and have your application ready to submit for the July 1 date. I think interviews may have been the most stressful process for me because I don’t think I interview too well. But ultimately, the process was everything I expected. Just an inside tip, if you get waitlisted or don’t hear back from a school that you would really like to go to call or just show up and introduce yourself. People are likely to give you a chance if they have met you or know you are hungry for the position. A lot of medicine is about who you know.

You just completed your first year of med school. What was that like?
My first year, I really hated being in the cadaver lab. The formaldehyde smell never leaves your hair or your clothes. For an entire semester I was taking 3-4 showers a day. It was ridiculous. But it was also my most hands-on class, so it gave me a little joy. Finding a nerve or deep vein was our little accomplishment and made that class bearable. Every other class was mostly rote memorization and 9-5 classroom learning.

What do you enjoy most about medical school?
I enjoy the people. Medicine is a cooperative sport. You have to deal with personalities that are unlike your own and many people are going to be type A gunners. So, I love learning how to deal with other people. I also like some of the classes, specifically physiology and pathology. I like learning how the body works and using my problem solving skills to diagnose what could be wrong with my fictional patient.

Could you describe the activities you’re involved in at your medical school?
Currently, I am involved in the SNMA as treasurer. This national organization is founded at Meharry Medical College and focuses on the needs and concerns of students of color. I am also involved as the secretary of the Ladies of Fortitude, a group of members of my Sorority who volunteer and fellowship together. I love playing intramural sports at my school. Last year, I played softball and coached/played basketball. I am also involved with volunteering through Project Dream and Room in the Inn. Project Dream is a Meharry student-led program, which provides mentorship and raises funds for book scholarships for students at Pearl Cohn high school. Room in the Inn is a local Nashville non-profit, which supports homeless men and women. This year, I will be a TA for anatomy classes, and I am interested in getting involved with research.

Cool. It sounds like you’re busy! How do you balance your personal time with medical school?
My first year of medical school was exciting. I was in a new place, Nashville, TN with new faces. I spent a lot of time studying but I was also extremely involved in the community at Meharry and in Nashville. Don’t lose your passions in medical school, develop them. I spent my Friday nights helping to shuttle homeless men, women, and families to churches during the winters. I volunteered with members of my Sorority on a regular basis. Regular community service was a requirement of my post baccalaureate program and I think it definitely kept me grounded throughout medical school thus far. I would recommend it.

It is often hard to keep in touch with your family and friends outside of medical school. But you need them to be your support. I have a Groupme for all of my girlfriends from college, my sisters, and my line sisters so that keeps me connected with them everyday, but other than that you may need to just explain to them that you will be busy for a while. In terms of relationships, I am a fan of pursuing romantic relationships while in medical school. It can keep you grounded because your significant other is often another support system. However, a boyfriend can also be detrimental to your success and focus if he is not on board with your career in medicine, so take it with a grain of salt.

Do you have any advice for students considering a career in medicine?
My advice is to find your mentors now. They can be doctors, medical students, anyone who is doing what you would like to do. Ask them questions. Be proactive in your education.

Thank you for sharing your story Kathryn. Very inspiring!
Any questions for Kathryn? Leave a comment below and she’ll get back to you.

Meet Stephen – a 3rd year Med student at Tulane and Naval Officer

20140611_045634Stephen is a 3rd year medical student at Tulane University School of Medicine. We initially met in 2010 through the Summer Medical and Dental Education program (SMDEP) at Howard University College of Medicine. As a good friend of mine, I’m very excited to have him share his story about his journey to med school and the lessons learned along the way. 

So what led you to pursue medicine?

I participated in a 3-year health sciences academy program at my high school from 2005-08. I got a lot of shadowing experience in several hospitals, saw some cool procedures and learned how to question patients.

 What was your major in college and how did that prepare you for medical school?

My major in college was Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology. I had always liked the brain and the nervous system since my teen days, so this major attracted me. I felt that the difficulty of my junior and senior neuro classes were similar to some of the neuroanatomy classes I took during my 1st year of med school.

Did you ever consider giving up on your dream? What obstacles or hurdles did you have to overcome in your medical school journey?
I wouldn’t say that I ever considered giving up my dream, but I had thought about what life would be like had I pursued some of my other passions like geography, history, or the electronic industry. Hurdles that I had? My freshman year in college was quite a crazy time, and my grades weren’t hot after my 1st year. I worked hard at improving myself both in and out of the classroom and brought my grades up by the end of sophomore year.

How was the application process for you?
The application process was expensive (I applied to 30+ schools), full of paperwork (submitting and resubmitting forms from october to december 2011) and a little tiring. I applied LATE – I didn’t start submitting my mcat scores and amcas materials until early October. (Don’t do what I did! Submit your stuff during the summer!) I didn’t take the mcat until August and by the time I applied, I already missed out on the deadlines to some schools in competitive areas like California and Texas.

What was your first year of medical school like?
My first year of medical school was actually pretty enjoyable. It started with 8:30 AM anatomy classes that lasted for about 2 months. I had so much fun in anatomy, it was an interesting time. Biochemistry and genetics came next and I had never taken them up to that point but they were pretty manageable and great to learn. Soon came 3 months of physiology and then came neuro and then the first year ended with immunology (which people said was tough but really wasn’t).

What do you enjoy most about medical school?
I enjoy how helpful the instructors are and how relaxed and friendly most of my medical school class is. There is no competitive/backstabbing atmosphere at Tulane Med. Everyone works hard and enjoys their time outside of class/clinic. It’s a good balance.

Activities you’ve been involved in during med school:

  • I was an after school tutor for elementary aged kids (during 1st year)
  • I worked on a nutrition paper for a group in a public health school (during summer after 1st year)
  • Volunteered at local men’s clinic (several times during 2nd year)
  • I was mental health co-ambassador of the Tulane Med School chapter of AMSA (from Jan 2013-Feb 2014)
  • I was the secretary for the Tulane Med School chapter of SNMA (from Feb 2013- Feb 2014)
  • I participate in Volunteers of America, New Orleans chapter as a “big brother” to a kid from New Orleans (since Oct 2013)

How do you balance your personal time with medical school?
I make sure to enjoy my weekends. I understand that there’s a time and place for studying (during the week) and everything else (certain weeknights, Saturdays, part of Sundays). I’ve learned to settle into a routine. Life in med school is very manageable when you take a breath and realize that you’re expected to be a well-balanced individual. (It helps to have a group of people who you can go to dinner with or go see a movie with or go to a bar with, etc.)

Do you have any advice for students considering a career in medicine?
Start talking your professors in college early. Don’t be afraid to get to know them and make a good impression on them. You will need letters of recommendation from them. Also, understand that being a well balanced individual is important. Don’t just live in the classroom or lab. Get out and join a sports team, or volunteer. Play music. Jog. Dance. Do what it is that you like to help you through stressful time and always strive to do the best you can. Also- use advice you get from websites like studentdocter.net very cautiously!

Tell us about being in the Navy
Well, I’m in the US Navy and I’m on scholarship. That means that the US Navy is paying for my entire med school tuition (no debt!) but I will owe them 4-6 years after I graduate and finish my training. Understand that this is a program for people who are generally interested in serving our country. DON’T DO IT FOR MONEY. Unless you plan to do family med, going through the military will generally pay less than just being a civilian doctor. I have always been interested in the military way of doing things and that’s why I joined the Navy.

Thank you for sharing your story Stephen. Very inspiring!
Any questions for Stephen? Leave a comment below and he’ll get back to you.