Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight

This summer the spotlight is shining on two of our students from the Fall 2015 cohort. 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 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?
    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.