Get ready to read about our next med school blogger, Roheet Kakaday who blogs at The Biopsy and has applied to medical schools all over the U.S. Looking forward to hearing good news from you Roheet!
Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? What and where did you study as an undergrad?
Roheet: My name is Roheet Kakaday and I like to consider myself a technophile, amateur futurist, idea explorer, and a hot chocolate aficionado. I cobble thoughts together at The Biopsy, tweet with the handle @TheBiopsy, and correspond at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m from California and I earned a degree in Bioengineering with studies in Political Science and History from UC San Diego.
Accepted: Why did you decide to blog/Tweet about your pre med experience? What have you gained from blogging?
Roheet: I first started my blog as more of a personal learning platform than an avenue through which to share my premed experience. Though I do occasionally share some personal premed stories, the majority of my posts are opinions on modern medicine. I actually recently wrote a piece on why I blog, which answers your question more completely. To put it briefly, blogging has improved my thought process, communication skills, and awareness of issues.
I plugged myself into the Twittersphere and followed different health care thought leaders, curators, and creators in the hopes of broadening my horizons. Thankfully, it worked. Within three months of connecting with others online, I learned more about medicine in its entirety than I did in three years of college. As I learned, I began formulating thoughts and expressing them through my blog. Other people started sharing my thoughts through social media, and I started to become part of a larger online discussion. Now, I can say I have developed a fluency in the issues that matter in medicine today, which renders my medical school interviews much easier and more substantive. Moreover, blogging and participating in social media have taught me great lessons in both online and offline professionalism, which is crucial for the next generation of physician.
In hindsight, one of the underlying reasons why I started blogging was to demonstrate to medical schools that I am an accountable and dynamic learner who is passionate about medicine in its entirety. Medical schools are always looking for applicants who demonstrate a passion for learning, as medicine is an ever-evolving field. A professionally maintained blog is a great way to show that in a concrete fashion.
Accepted: What do you think are some of the pros and cons of taking time off between college and med school?
Roheet: Before I applied to medical school, I asked all the physicians I knew what they would do differently if they were to repeat medical school. The majority of them expressed regrets over not taking a year off before entering medical school. So, I decided to learn from them and took the year off while applying to medical school.
During my year off, I have been able to refocus my aim from the traditional “research-volunteering-grades” premed mindset to a more creative and entrepreneurial orientation. I have had opportunities to explore spaces, ideas, and interests that I didn’t have time for as a premed engineering undergrad. Through my social media presence, I have learned a lot about the health care’s diverse needs, which has led to a lot of innovative brainstorming sessions. I would absolutely recommend taking a year off so you can explore yourself outside of medicine. We are multifaceted and sometimes we can forget that in the premed race.
The only bad thing about taking a year off is the lack of pressure. In college, we’re used to deadlines and assignments that push us to stay on track and deliver constantly. If you take a year off, but don’t do anything, medical school’s time crunch will hit you like a freight train. It is important to keep busy during your year off to retain those time management skills.
Accepted: What stage are you at in the med school application process? What has been the most difficult aspect of this process?
Roheet: Right now, I’m at the interviewing stage. I think the most difficult part of this application process is not the medical school selection, essay writing, or the interview prep, but the waiting. After you submit your secondary or finish your interview, every day that goes by without an email from a medical school seems like an eternity. You start to fret, begin playing out worst case scenarios in your head, and start making alternative life plans. As premeds, we stake our dreams on medical school admissions committees’ opinions, so it is hard not to worry!
The best advice I have for those who have a natural inclination to brood is to keep busy. Once my year off started, I immersed myself in activities outside the application process – I founded a new community-based not-for-profit, took interesting courses from Coursera, gained programming skills from Codeacademy, kept volunteering, and more. Do things that will take your mind off your application and keep you productive.
Accepted: Have you taken the MCAT yet? Can you share some MCAT tips with our readers?
Roheet: I did take the MCAT. There are a lot of MCAT study strategies out there from some great bloggers, so do a quick Google search if you’re planning on self-studying. Learn from others’ lessons and start from there. Personally, I felt somewhat daunted by the concept of self-starting during the busy school year, so I joined a prep course. That investment paid dividends because it organized the information for me, which is a huge help when you’re already juggling extracurriculars and tough classes. Now that the new MCAT tests even more knowledge than the previous version, a prep course would be your best bet.
The most important MCAT tip I can possibly give is in regards to your mindset. I think nerves are the largest detractor to good performance. On the day before your MCAT date, do whatever you need to in order to convince yourself that you know everything the MCAT could possibly test. Build up your confidence, even if you have to fake it, so that when you walk into the testing center, you are at your calmest. If you don’t believe in your ability, you’re not going to do well on the test, regardless of how much you’ve studied.
What I did to build myself up was listen to epic movie trailer music while imagining conquering the MCAT. That works for me because I’m a visual thinker, but others may find more effective ways of energizing themselves. Whatever you do, make sure you have the utmost faith in yourself on test day. You don’t want to be second guessing your way through the entire test.
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