Spotlights

Spotlights

Our student spotlight continues to shine on our students. May you be inspired by their experiences! Click on their name if you would like to correspond with them to learn more about the program from their perspective.

 What was your academic and career background prior to this program?
I graduated from Centre College in the spring of 2016 with a double major in Behavioral Neuroscience and Spanish.  Although after graduating I went straight into the post-bac program, I had previously spent 3 summers during college interning in the human resources department at a hospital and originally thought that I would find a career in human resources after I graduated.

What led you to pursue medical school at this time in your life?
During my internship we were assigned a career coach.  He suggested that I pursue a career as a doctor, but I always thought that being a doctor wasn’t for me.  It wasn’t until my last semester of undergrad that I took a class on how drugs affect the brain. To me it was fascinating to learn how different substances affected the brain and the body, and how the brain and the body worked.  This class along with some shadowing experiences really helped me to see that medicine was a field that I was truly interested in pursuing.

Please share what challenges you’ve faced and/or adjustments you’ve made while in the program.
I came straight from undergrad into the postbac program, so there was not a big adjustment to get back into the school mindset.  However, the school I went to for undergrad was very small.  I knew most people in all my classes, and always had someone to ask for help if I needed it.  When I first started this program I was a little overwhelmed by how big the school and my classes were, but I quickly found that everyone in the program was super friendly and willing to help if you had a question.  The hardest part for me became when I had classes that didn’t have any of my fellow postbacs in them.  However, I learned that there was always someone in the program who was able to answer questions when I needed help.

What are some experiences you’ve had in the program so far that have proven beneficial?
Having other students in the program that can offer advice has proven to be extremely helpful.  Whether those students are in the cohort above and offered advice about classes or professors or previous program members that are currently in medical school that have shared their experiences so far, everyone is so willing to help each other because we are all reaching for the same goal.  Additionally the enrichment sessions with the physicians from different specialties have helped expose me to the different areas, problems, and strengths of the medical field.

How have you remained motivated and not given up on your dream?
Some days when I’m sitting in the library studying for a big test, I question why I really want to be a doctor.  Then I think about how close I am to reaching medical school, and how fast my time in the program has already passed.  I also think having such good relationships with the other members of the program helps me to stay motivated as we encourage each other to do well and finish strong.  Finally one of my biggest motivations stems from my tech position in the hospital.  I interact with all these patients and keep reminding myself that one day I’ll be a doctor who will be able to impact not only these patients but also my community in a positive way. 

What is your favorite quote, motto and/or song to keep you moving forward?
There are two that I really like the first is “It’s always too early to quit,” and the second is “do your best, be your best, no regrets.”   

Share some advice you’d give to a prospective applicant or newly accepted student to the program.
Everyone in this program is working towards the same goal, and we all want each other to achieve that goal!  Each member of this program is so caring and so quick to help.  We volunteer together, study together, and celebrate successes together.  There is always someone who has already been in your shoes and can offer advice when you need it whether that be a current student, past student, or one of the program coordinators.  The path to medical school can be challenging, but the support you receive from the program makes it a little easier.

 

 What was your academic and career background prior to this program?
I graduated from Miami University as a double major in Marketing and Kinesiology, with a minor in Chinese. I have previously worked as a strategic planner at an advertising agency, a rugby coach, and a strength and conditioning intern at Miami University.

What led you to pursue medical school at this time in your life?
Near the end of my time as an undergrad, I experienced some health challenges. This led to an extended time viewing various aspects of the medical profession through the eyes of a patient. By the time medicine gave back my normal life, I found it left me with a desire to provide for others what was provided to me. Volunteering at the local emergency department further cemented my decision to pursue a career in medicine.

Please share what challenges you’ve faced and/or adjustments you’ve made while in the program.
There is definitely an adjustment period as you get back into the school mindset. I have found that one of the hardest things to do, is to keep focused on the current task in this lengthy process. It is easy to get caught up thinking about all the hurdles to overcome down the line in our journey. The difficulty comes in remembering you’ll have time for that later, because you have a physics exam and a chemistry lab tomorrow.

What are some experiences you’ve had in the program so far that have proven beneficial?
Being surrounded by people at different stages of the process is immensely helpful. You’ll have people in your classes with you, those who have just finished those classes, and those who have graduated and moved on to medical school. This allows you to gain a unique perspective and learn from them as you progress.  

How have you remained motivated and not given up on your dream?
There are going to be some tough days, find time to reflect on what this all leads to. Make use of the numerous opportunities to get exposure to medicine, serve the community, or hear from doctors and medical students over lunch.

What is your favorite quote, motto and/or song to keep you moving forward?
"There is more to life than increasing its speed." You’re signing up a lot of hard work ahead. Sometimes all you can do is the task at hand, to the best of your ability. Put forth the effort, and don’t forget to enjoy yourself. Be proud of how far you’ve come and be ready to put in the work again tomorrow.

Share some advice you’d give to a prospective applicant or newly accepted student to the program.
Don’t think you have to do this alone. Your cohort and the staff will be an invaluable resource each step of the way. From someone to study with, a place to grab coffee, or figuring out what comes next. You will be surrounded by great people invested in your success.

 What was your academic and career background prior to this program?
I graduated from the University of Kentucky with a B.A. in Psychology and with a focus on social psychology research.  While working at the UK Disability Resource Center I became interested in medicine. Before the program I moved to Louisville to work as a scribe and for a home-based primary care company. 

What led you to pursue medical school at this time in your life?
During my time as an undergraduate, I found myself fascinated during the behavioral neuroscience classes; however, I was never ready to commit to a career in medicine as I had such a variety of academic interests.  After scribing in the emergency department and working in health care, I was confident in my decision to apply to the program. 

Please share what challenges you’ve faced and/or adjustments you’ve made while in the program.
Switching back to student mode is challenging, especially if most of your friends are working a typical 9-5 day.  Also, the subject material was drastically different than what I was used to.  That’s why this program is so amazing; you don’t have to go through these challenges alone.

What are some experiences you’ve had in the program so far that have proven beneficial?
The cohort, program coordinators and faculty at UofL have been incredibly supportive and encouraging in this endeavor. This support really does make all the difference when pursuing a goal that can be very daunting at times. 

How have you remained motivated and not given up on your dream?
I think back to my experiences as a scribe.  During that time working in the hospital, I was learning and seeing so much.  It was during that time I fell in love with medicine.  When I start to feel discouraged, I think of how this program is providing me the opportunity to be a successful physician.

What is your favorite quote, motto and/or song to keep you moving forward?
“When the going gets tough, the tough get going” is definitely my favorite quote.  It became so after dancing in Dance Blue, a 24 hour no sitting, dance marathon to raise money for the pediatric oncology unit. 

Share some advice you’d give to a prospective applicant or newly accepted student to the program.
Lean on the members of your cohort, mentor, faculty and staff.  They truly are invested in your success and well being.  Also, pay attention to negative self-talk.  Everyone is here to support you, but you have to cheer yourself on too!

 What was your academic and career background prior to this program?
I graduated from The University of Florida in 2003 with a B.A. in English.  Soon after completing my undergraduate degree, I moved to Lexington to be closer to family and enrolled at The University of Kentucky College of Law.  I’ve been practicing law at a small civil litigation firm in Lexington since earning my J.D. in 2007, and I continue to practice part-time while pursuing my post-bac studies at U of L.   

What led you to pursue medicine at this time in your life?
I’ve had a strong interest in medicine and healthcare for as long as I can remember, but for personal reasons, I chose to take a different path after college.  I considered going back to school for the better part of the past decade, but it wasn’t until I discovered the post-bac program that I felt like my dream was realistic and attainable.  Between that and the loving encouragement of family and friends – including several physicians who gave me invaluable guidance and shadowing experiences – I finally worked up the courage to take the next step.

Please share what challenges you have faced in the program.
Before starting at U of L, I had a set work schedule and plenty of free time to enjoy with friends and my wife and daughter.  Even though my family is fully supportive of my goal of becoming a physician, commuting to Louisville for school while finding time for my job and personal life has been quite an adjustment and balancing act.    

What are some experiences you’ve had in the program so far that have proven beneficial?
My cohort and the staff and faculty at U of L have been very welcoming and encouraging, and it’s made all the difference in the world in terms of helping me get back in the groove of academic life after being away for so long.  The program culture is very collaborative and we are all invested in each others’ success, which has been very helpful when the going gets tough. 

How have you remained motivated and not given up on your dream?
I try to be appreciative of all of my successes, no matter how big or small.  Whether it’s getting a good grade on a test or making time to take my daughter to see Star Wars, being mindful of the little things helps the process itself feel like an important part of the goal.

What is your favorite quote, motto, and/or song to keep you moving forward?
Before every exam I put my headphones in and listen to “My 1st Song” by Jay-Z! It’s about staying humble and treating everything you do like it’s your first project, even if you feel like you’ve done it all before. That song always gets me focused and calms my nerves when I’m feeling stressed.

Share some advice you’d give to a prospective applicant or newly accepted student to the program.
Don’t be scared to reach out to students or anyone involved in the program if you need help, advice, or just someone to talk to.  A big part of what makes this program special is that we aren’t competing against each other and we all want to succeed together.  Also, don’t lose sight of what makes you you – do your best to make your hobbies and interests outside of school a priority.

 What was your academic and career background prior to this program?
I received a Bachelor of Arts in Violin from the University of Connecticut. Since I graduated in 2013, I have been performing, teaching violin and viola lessons, and practicing as a Birth Doula.

What led you to pursue medical school at this time in your life?
I developed an interest in medicine when I took anatomy and physiology my senior of high school, but, I wasn’t ready to commit to medicine at that point. I chose to focus on music for my undergraduate degree; then, to learn more about medicine, I spent a year volunteering at clinics and hospitals in South East Asia and the United States.

Please share what challenges you’ve had to face while in the program.
My biggest challenge is maintaining relationships with my family while I am a student. I moved from Maryland (well, technically Texas, but, I am a Maryland resident) to go to the U of L. In order to help cover the cost of school, I have been working at UPS as part of their Metro College program. It’s a great opportunity, but, it is difficult for me to get enough time-off from work to visit my family. Thankfully, they have been able to make the trip out to Louisville a few times this past year.

How have you been able to strike a balance between your personal and academic life or is it a work in progress?
Since I live on my own and have no family in the area, I have the privilege of not being accountable to anyone else in my day to day life. I question it, because I do miss my family, but I think having so much autonomy is largely what makes the schedule I keep-up possible. Setting aside my free time in manageable units really helps. I have a white board where I write down my daily/weekly schedule with commitments and things that I need and want to get done. This includes things like calling my family or  friends that don't live in Louisville. It also helps me keep moving forward in areas that aren't medicine. For example, scheduling the time to study Japanese for 15 minutes everyday and practice violin for an hour has really helped me to continue making progress with these even if it is comparatively slow.

How have you remained motivated and not given up on your dream?
Knowing that being successful in the program is part of earning the privilege to serve my community as a doctor is enough motivation for me. The support of my family and cohort help me when things get difficult.

Share some advice you’d give to a prospective applicant or newly accepted student to the program.
The best advice I have ever been given actually came from one of the first year medical students I met through our program. He said that becoming a doctor is like running a marathon, and you have to run it at your own pace. Throughout my first year in the program, this metaphor has helped me keep things in perspective. Sometimes, when I see the intensity with which my classmates are pursuing their studies, I feel like I am doing this whole medicine thing…. wrong.  Let be clear: I am very hardworking and completely devoted to becoming a physician, but that is not my whole identity. There is the part of me that is an artist, and a musician, and a part that really just wants to traipse from city to city trying new things. Sometime, I second guess my choices (everyone else is taking cell molec and 242 this semester… am I slacker for only taking 242? Should I quit my job and take 12 credits a semester instead of only 10?). So, I have to step back, take a deep breath, and I remember that I have to pursue medicine in a way that will allow me to be the best version of myself. After all, it is an amazing gift that I can be a musician, and an artist, and a world traveler, and a birth doula, and package-handler at UPS, AND STILL be the physician I have always wanted to become.  You can do it, too. Whatever the beautiful distractions are in your life, let them make you stronger and more complete. As long as you are running at your own pace, you will find there is time for them all.

 

 What was your academic and career background prior to this program?
Prior to the program I was a student at the University of Chicago. I graduated in June 2015 with a degree in English and environmental studies. Throughout undergrad I had a wide array of internships and work experiences, primarily roles in education and environmental advocacy.

What led you to pursue medical school at this time in your life?
I started undergrad as a premed, but quickly abandoned it for my other academic interests. Looking back I’m very happy with that decision. However, after working in quite a few different roles/fields I still found myself attracted to a career in medicine. So, I decided to just continue my schooling and jumped straight from undergrad to the post-bacc program.

Please share what challenges you’ve had to face while in the program.
For me, the hardest part has been adjusting to a city and school where I initially didn’t know anyone. I was used to my tight knit friend group at the U of C, and at first it was hard to adjust to the increased independence.

How have you been able to strike a balance between your personal and academic life or is it a work in progress?
I think coming straight from undergrad has made this easy for me. It was a simple transition to continue balancing school and extra-curriculars.

How have you remained motivated and not given up on your dream?
I really enjoy the continued challenge of this process. Its easy to stay motivated when there’s always a test coming up, or an assignment due. Focusing on accomplishing the smaller tasks has made the bigger task (becoming a doc) more approachable.

Share some advice you’d give to a prospective applicant or newly accepted student to the program.
Make sure you know the entire process of post-bac > applying to med school > med school > being an actual doctor. It’s a very long, and at times, confusing, process. It would be unwise to commit or invest in it without fully understanding that.

Other than that I would say try and focus what’s at hand in the current moment. It’s easy to get caught up in all that’s ahead of you, but try and focus on the current moments as much as you can. Don’t over stress about the future; enjoy the process as it happens!

Recent update: Tommy graduated from our program in December 2016.  He's been accepted to the University of Louisville entering 2017 medical school  class of 2021!

 What was your academic and career background prior to this program?
Prior to returning home to Louisville, I attended the University of Richmond where I earned a dual degree in Leadership Studies  and PPEL (Philosophy, Politics, Economic, and Law).  My degree took me to New York where I worked in the banking industry for a fantastic bank called M&T.  As much an I loved the people I worked with and the city I was in, I knew very quickly that finance was not a career I would find fulfilling.

What led you to pursue medical school at this time in your life?
Growing up, I always said I wanted to be an Orthopaedic surgeon, but upon arriving at the University of Richmond I decided to pursue a pre-law degree and leadership degree, forgetting about my love for medicine until senior year when I took a biomedical ethics class and began working in research labs. However, I had already signed my contract, and wanted to give banking/finance a try and follow through with my year long commitment I made to them.  After being in New York, and quickly realizing finance wasn't for me, I began researching my options and eventually returned to my original passion -- medicine.  Finding a structured Post-Bacc program in my home city that offered assured admission was a dream come true, and it has exceeded my expectations as I look back at my time in the program thus far.

Please share what challenges you’ve had to face while in the program.
I'm one of the lucky ones that didn't have too much of a gap from leaving school to coming right back, so study habits and balancing time were never an issue.  However, the subject material was drastically different than what I was used to, and without the support of my cohort and the program in general, successfully completely the pre-med requirements would have been daunting. 

How have you been able to strike a balance between your personal and academic life or is it a work in progress?
This is a work in progress. And I hope it always remains a work in progress because that means you're doing something right by challenging yourself and changing things up.  I find myself constantly adjusting the scales between working, socializing, and studying, with some semesters much easier to find that balance than others.

How have you remained motivated and not given up on your dream?
Being surrounded by people who are in the same boat as me definitely helps my motivation.  Whether it's studying for the MCAT or keeping your eye on the end goal, this program and my cohort in particular have been extremely motivating.  Additionally, seeing the success previous post-bacc students are achieving, and having the opportunity to talk to them about it, is also significantly helpful.  

Share some advice you’d give to a prospective applicant or newly accepted student to the program.
First, congratulations.  Changing up a life plan is scary, but this is a place and a program that will support you throughout that change.  Second, it'll get tough, but pursuing your ambition/dreams is always worth it.

Recent update:  Shelly graduated from our program in December 2016.  She has been accepted to the University of Louisville entering 2017 medical school class of 2021.

 John Dickens

    What was your academic and career background prior to this program?
    I graduated from Centre College in 2012 with a BA in International Relations. Following that, I worked for several Healthcare IT (software and web-based) companies and helped to design, build, and install lab software for hospitals and healthcare organizations in the US and the UK.

      What led you to pursue medical school at this time in your life?
      My previous career exposed me to a variety of clinical specialties where I got to interact with administrators, doctors, and other healthcare professionals in real patient care settings. The more I worked with doctors making the tools to help them do their jobs, the more interested in a career in medicine I became. The tipping point was probably when I was assigned to several operating theaters during open heart surgeries. I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen.

        Please share what challenges you’ve had to face while in the program.
        Switching back to student-mode and not having the same level of income were difficult to adjust to at first but having peers in the program helped a lot.

          How have you been able to strike a balance between your personal and academic life or is it a work in progress?
          Each week, month, and semester/academic term have been different in terms of outside commitments and academic workload so I would say it has been and will continue to be a work in progress. Academic responsibilities will always come first.

            How have you remained motivated and not given up on your dream?
            Keeping the long-term goal in mind is extremely important for sustaining my motivation, especially when academic stress is high or when I feel like a particular class or assignment is irrelevant to the goal of becoming a doctor.

            Share some advice you’d give to a prospective applicant or newly accepted student to the program.
            It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Commit yourself to success and put in the hours to excel and you will. Utilize the program resources and your peers in your cohort to stay motivated and successful. Also, most importantly, take full advantage of the snacks in the office.

            Recent update:  John graduated from our program in December 2016.  He was accepted to the University of Louisville School of Medicine for the entering 2017 medical school class of 2021!