Get ready to read about “A Hopeful Doc,” an anonymous second-year med student who shares her med school adventure, as well as tidbits about her love of French, physical activity, and moving her “fidgety fingers.” Enjoy our interview below, as well as A HopeFul Doc’s fun blog, HopefulDoc.com. Thanks A Hopeful Doc for sharing your story with us – we wish you loads of luck!
Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What’s your favorite non-school book?
A Hopeful Doc: I hail from the Midwest and studied biology pre-med at a small private college. As for favorites, Count of Monte Cristo would be my lazy summer pick. A Moveable Feast by Hemingway appeared on my “Must Read” list before studying abroad in France. His short stories are about his days in Paris and remind me a bit of modern day blog posts. I also think every med student would benefit from reading some Atul Gwande.
Accepted: Where are you in med school? What year? What is your favorite thing about your program? Least favorite thing?
A Hopeful Doc: My medical school happens to be in the Midwest as well. I am a lucky second year – lucky because I don’t have any clinical responsibilities beyond studying and second because I passed the first year, that awkward pseudo-adolescent adjustment year.
I ended up at an allopathic program. During my application process, I filled out forms for DO and MD programs. At the time, my dream school was Feinberg because they had this community garden research project at the time…but other schools called back, some even offered seats. I freaked out, in a good way, and ended up choosing an in-state school.
Despite how cheesy this sounds, the people are my favorite part. We have one of the largest class sizes compared to other medical schools yet exist within a smaller city. I get to rub shoulders with a diverse group while sharing the Midwest love.
Since most of our professors have taught for ten/twenty years, they contribute to the sense of community as well. They invest inside and outside school. They genuinely concern themselves with our health and future plans as much as they do our minds.
My least favorite part would be the lack of video lectures. I work as an AV tech loading the audio lectures online. How nice would it be to hear and see that talk on thoracic anatomy!?
Accepted: In your “About Me” section on your blog, you say you’re passionate about a million things – can you give us some examples?
A Hopeful Doc: Anything that requires my legs to run or bike or swim or dance. I recently started training for triathlons. Inspiring others to move also makes me really happy. So I volunteer at a pediatric exercise and nutrition program as well as do research on patient perspectives. My fidgety fingers play piano, garden, cook, bake healthy, bead earrings, knit, thrift.
Accepted: Looking back on the med school application process (if you can remember that long ago!), what would you say was your greatest challenge? What did you do to overcome that challenge?
A Hopeful Doc: Quite ironic for a blogger, writing my personal statement was my biggest challenge. I needed to stand out but not too rudely, to look like I saved the world but have so much more growing up to do, and to make myself sound like the first person to have thought of doctorly attributes like compassion and resilience. Sprinkle in my shadowing experience. Add my years of work as a surgical orderly.
I was frustrated – shouldn’t I want medical school enough to know why?
So I figured if God had brought me through physics and calculus and the MCAT, He might help me with my essay. I asked for guidance. And pretty soon, lots of helpful books and websites came my way. But my family and hospital family served as my greatest assets. Draft by draft, I made something comprehendible, genuine, hopeful.
Accepted: Can you tell us about your blog? When and why did you start blogging?
A Hopeful Doc: My blog serves as half-encouragement for readers and the other half for myself. School is hard – to gloss over that would trivialize our efforts. Dwelling on the difficulties gets plain discouraging. And to not process anything is detrimental. So I reflect via writing. From the feedback of other bloggers, tweeters, and classmates, I’ve realized I’m not the only one riding the struggle bus. In fact, some days, we push that bus uphill then drive back down.
I began this blog back in the fall of 2011. I was leaving the country to realize my childhood dream of learning French in France…and I thought my mom might want to know that her daughter was still alive. So I wrote about getting lost and finding pretty places. You can still find those posts buried under med school ones!
Accepted: Can you recommend a nice coffee shop on or around campus that you recommend for studying or meeting up with friends?
A Hopeful Doc: Confession: I live with coffee addicts but drink tea. Lots of med students, myself and my quizzing study buddy included, camp out in an adorable, organic coffee shop. So I guess I recommend supporting local businesses!
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