This interview is the latest in an Accepted blog series featuring interviews with medical school applicants and students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top medical schools and the med school application process. And now, introducing Angelica Villicana…
Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad?
Angelica: I am a 4th year UAG med student and mama! I know, what a combo. I studied Health Promotion & Disease Prevention while a premed at USC, Keck School of Medicine. I met my partner Jeremy at USC our freshman year in the dorms! And we had our baby girl at the tail end of my third year of med school.
Accepted: Where are you currently attending med school? What year are you?
Angelica: I am currently wrapping up MS4 with UAG, an international IMG school formally called Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara. We can elect to do our first two years of basic sciences in Mexico, then our hospital rotations in the U.S. I chose this school because I had shadowed many practicing physicians who attended UAG and knew quite a few Trojans who went to this school. Fight On!
Accepted: Looking back at the application process, did you experience any challenges? How did you overcome them?
Angelica: As with all big life decisions, there is always trepidation and EXCITEMENT. I really doubted my MCAT, grades, and even choosing to go to an IMG! But here I am in MS4, closing my med school journey strong, fulfilled, and with a baby! The first steps are scary, and so tedious, but the end goal is so thrilling once you get there!
Accepted: You recently had a baby (last week!) Congratulations on the little addition to your family! You’re on maternity leave currently, but what are your plans for returning?
Angelica: YES! I had one amazing li’l baby girl, while in med school. Crazy, I know. But just so amazing and yes, life-changing. But it did connect me with other parents in med school and other moms who had babies while studying. Life does get a bit harder, and there was less sleep (haha!), but the dedication to work harder to support not only your life but another human being’s becomes so much grander! My school was really great in being flexible with scheduling my rotations and allowing me to dedicate time for both the hospital and my new little family. Luckily, MS4 is full of elective and non-core rotations so it feels a bit lighter, but also more adult as you realize you’re close to graduating and entering the real world… with a baby.
Accepted: Pregnancy is hard enough! How was balancing pregnancy and med school for you?
Angelica: Please don’t hate me, all moms / future moms, but my pregnancy was a breeze! No symptoms, baby arrived at 40 weeks and I did rounds till I was 37 weeks. I wanted to work longer! But standing all day and working hard can actually induce contractions so my attending sent me home!
The best was on my OBGYN rotation when I was treating pregnant women and having them get excited to ask all the same questions about my bump too.
Accepted: You share a lot of your life on your instagram. What made you want to start sharing your med school journey with others?
Angelica: I follow a lot of people on social media who are mothers, people in medicine, international bloggers, and of course foodies (drool) and they have helped me with so many questions or inspiration. I only hope I can provide 1% of the same help and inspiration on my own page @actuallyangelica!
I actually have had quite a few people reach out to me about UAG and my experience in Guadalajara, MX because it is a huge leap to decide to move to a foreign country, and add medicine on top of that. It’s been an honor to help people make a big decision.. and help them find an apartment in Mexico! haha.
I also think it’s important to show that you can have a great life (and family life) while in med school. I actually had a bit of backlash after posting so many restaurants or cocktails or festivals. I had quite a few people ask me, “Um… are you even in med school??” And to that I reply “Uhhh.. I just had a two-hour exam in Pharmacology… of course I am going out and celebrating!” Of course I am going to post my run after being cooped up studying for six hours. You have to look for good moments in your day to day to celebrate your hard work, good scores or bad scores, and take a break from the intensity med school can be.
Accepted: Lastly, any words of wisdom for upcoming applicants or M1s?
Angelica: If you really do love medicine, you are going to LOVE Med School. I promise. It is hard, but the material is SO great and SO fascinating. Everything about the body, diseases, physics, and medical innovation is absolutely invigorating. So you’re going to LOVE going to lectures, score great on your exams, and four years will fly by and you won’t want it to end! Okay, it really doesn’t end because there’s also Residency afterwards. But don’t be scared, be excited! You worked so hard in undergrad, you won’t have to work that hard in med school because it’s no longer work – it’s your passion. It’s your everything. I’m so excited for you!
Thank you, Angelica, for sharing your story and advice with us – we wish you continued success! You can continue following Angelica’s story on her Instagram (@actuallyangelica).
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Do you want to be featured in Accepted’s blog? If you want to share your med school journey with the world (or at least with our readers), email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.