Learn how real students navigate their way through the medical school admissions process and med school itself with our What is Medical School Really Like? series.
Meet Reuben, an NYIT student who uses motivational words to “speak things into existence.”
Reuben, thank you for sharing your story with us!
Was there a particular person or event that inspired you to become a doctor?
Reuben: There was one moment in particular that really solidified my desire to become a physician. It was during my sophomore year at Boston University where I was shadowing in the hospital. I had the opportunity to meet a patient who at the time was working three separate jobs part time. She had a lot of stressors in her life, particularly being uninsured and a single mother taking care of 2 boys. I watched closely how the physician interacted with this woman, how he made her feel cared for, how his empathy was conveyed well and the level of trust he has gotten in such a brief moment of meeting. It was really in that moment that I knew that I was called to become a physician and help serve people such as this woman and provide them the best care possible.
How did you select medical schools to apply to? What do you love about NYIT?
Reuben: When applying to medical schools I was really looking at the school’s mission, their average grade point average, and the MCAT to see if I could really fit into the school. The fit more so came along during the interviews I went on. I wasn’t really picky about where I wanted to go to medical school, my goal was just to get in!
What I love most about NYIT is honestly the faculty and staff. They really have a student-centered approach and have our best interests in mind. I feel there is a very open relationship with the students and that just makes things very transparent and easy to reach out if something comes up.
Did you experience any bumps in the road during the medical school application process? How did you identify and overcome these issues?
Reuben: There were so many bumps in the road when applying to medical school, specifically the MCAT. I feel that the exam is one of the biggest hurdles that a lot of students face and for me, I had to take it multiple times. The first time applying, I had a weak MCAT paired with a subpar application and it was a recipe for disaster.
I sat down with my mentor and he and I recognized my weak areas. I retook the MCAT, added more research and volunteer positions, and the second time applying I was able to land some interviews and get multiple acceptances. My mentality was to understand what was lacking and build upon the weakness and make it into something better and I did just that.
To this day, my mentality has always been “ How bad do you want it?” Life is all about sacrifices in order to get to where you want to be and so if I want it bad enough, I’ll do whatever it takes to get there.
What appeals to you about the osteopathic approach to medicine?
Reuben: The most appealing aspect of osteopathic medicine is the hands-on approach to care. Along with the standard medical school curriculum, I have the opportunity to utilize OMM as an adjunct tool to care. It is the versatility of osteopathic medicine that really drew me in.
What’s second year like so far? How do you plan to tackle studying for STEP 1?
Reuben: It’s really fun so far, definitely better than first year by far! I think what I like most about second year is that we are in systems and so you focus on that one system. For example during our cardio block, it would focus on all the disease processes related to the cardiovascular system. It really allowed me to hone in on the current system and get a deeper appreciation of the pathophysiology of that system and its effects on other systems.
I plan to tackle study for Step 1 by utilizing First Aid, Pathoma, Boards and Beyond, and UWorld. During the spring semester, I plan to ramp up my board studying!
Listen to our podcast interview with Gina Moses, NYIT COM Director of Admissions:
What keeps you motivated when things get tough?
Reuben: Honestly the thing that keeps me motivated is my family. There are definitely moments in medical school where you will feel defeated or upset about some performance – it’s really something every medical student goes through.
I personally had a tough first semester of med school. It was a very steep transition for me but I’ve gotten a much better handle on it.
My motivation comes from my drive to be the best-trained physician I can be and I’m determined to make that happen. My mentality is to be prepared, confident, and know that all this work I’m putting in will pay off. Tomorrow is a new day with new opportunities to improve so I always look forward to how I can do better and continuing to improve.
What are your favorite study tips for med school?
Reuben: The best tips I can offer for medical school is getting ahead of the material. Personally, I like to review the material the night before and skim through the lectures so I can have a broad understanding of what is going to go on during lecture. Also having at least three passes at the material is something that I strive to do at the minimum. Questions are another huge point in helping to solidify material as well and it’s definitely the best learning tool. I use the questions I get wrong to help mold what topics I need to review and understand better.
How do you juggle a heavy courseload of classes, board prep, and personal interests… and still have time for self-care such as meal preparation and exercise?
Reuben: I think there has to be that balance of where you can perform well academically and still have the time to do other things that you want to do. Right now I try to do at least one hour of board prep every single day no matter what’s going on.
Additionally, self care is another important thing within my life and I try to accomplish that by exercising 4-5 days a week and making time with friends. It’s really all about time management and making time for things that are important to you. I always say, if it’s important to you – you’ll make time for it
I understand you hold an MPH degree. Do you hope to be involved with healthcare policy as a physician?
Reuben: There are so many avenues that I can use my MPH for, and healthcare policy has definitely been an interest of mine. I plan to get my MBA after I graduate from medical school and start residency in 2022. It’s my hope to bridge the gap between healthcare and business and to use my background in public health to bring about sustainable change to the delivery of care within a hospital setting.
You indicate on your Instagram page that you believe in the power of words to inspire others. Who do you hope to inspire, and how?
Reuben: I really hope to inspire premed students. I believe in speaking things into existence, and using these words to bring life into other people is really such a powerful thing. I want people who see my Instagram and know that they are capable and they do have the ability to hit those goals and become the physician that they want to be. Oftentimes, people project their insecurity on others and I want those who see my Instagram to know that those insecurities that others try to put on you do not define your work ethic, your ability to succeed, or your power to be great.
What clinical rotations are you most looking forward to during third and fourth years?
Reuben: I’m really looking forward to my third-year rotations that I start in July 2020. The ones I’m looking forward to the most are emergency medicine and surgery. I’m very interested in emergency medicine right now especially with the possibility of a fellowship in critical care medicine.
If you could offer one piece of advice to premed students what would it be?
Reuben: The one piece of advice I’d offer other premedical students is to stay in your own lane. Don’t let other people rush you and make you feel that you have to hit a certain timeline to get to med school. Medical schools are not running away and you don’t need to fit in a specific mold to get into medical school. Likewise, do not compare yourself to other students around you. You are on your own timeline and there’s nothing wrong with taking a little extra time to get to where you want to be. We are all making moves, just taking different steps
Do you have questions for Reuben? Questions for us? Do you want to be featured in our next What is Medical School Really Like? post? Know someone else who you’d love to see featured? Are there questions you’d like us to ask our students in this series? LET US KNOW!
You can learn more about Reuben by following him on Instagram.
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• Med School Admissions: What You Need to Know to Get Accepted, a free guide
• How to Get Into NYIT’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, a podcast episode
• What’s Medical School Like for This MS4, Mom & Cookbook Writer? a medical student interview