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 Kaity Brown…
Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad?
Kaity: I guess I’m currently from Alabama, but I grew up in California and Colorado before moving to the Huntsville area in high school. I attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham for undergrad, where I double majored in biology and French with a minor in chemistry.
Accepted: Can you share three fun facts about yourself?
Kaity: Oh man, I’m the worst at coming up with interesting things about myself! But let’s see…
1. I’ve had a lifelong desire to learn French – the origins of which I really don’t know. I started taking classes freshman year of high school, and I’m now the proud owner of a French degree that I wish I had more opportunity to use on a regular basis.
2. I’m afraid of moths. My friends and family all love to make fun of me for this, but I really can’t handle the creepy little things. Butterflies, however, don’t bother me at all.
3. One of my big interests and passion projects is reproductive rights! In undergrad I actually had the opportunity to lobby Alabama congressmen both in Washington, D.C. and in our state capital (Montgomery) in favor of two different laws seeking to reform various aspects of sexual health education both nationally and on a state level.
Accepted: Where are you currently in med school? What year?
Kaity: I’m currently a second year allopathic student at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.
Accepted: Why did you choose this program? How are you a good fit?
Kaity: That’s not an interesting story by any means – this is where I found myself accepted! I had an unexpectedly rough time with the application process (more details in a later question) that wound up with everything delayed and me finally getting interview invitations in March, so I really was thankful to find myself going anywhere. I applied widely and ended up only interviewing at the two in-state schools, and of the two options I infinitely preferred my current program. The class size is smaller, the people are friendlier, and the interview experience itself made such a vastly different, more positive impression on me.
My original desire was to leave Alabama for medical school, as all of my extended family still lives in the western half of the country and I would love to be closer to them, but regardless I’m incredibly pleased with where I’ve ended up.
Accepted: What’s your favorite class so far? Module? Rotation?
Kaity: My school works on an organ systems based curriculum, split up into 2 more foundational modules + 7 systems (cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, digestive, endocrine and reproductive, musculoskeletal, and neuroscience and behavior). I’ve enjoyed pretty much everything we’ve covered so far, especially once we got past the intro modules, but there’s no question that our endo/repro class is my favorite. I’ve been interested in reproductive health/biology for about as long as I’ve been interested in medicine.
I wish I could say I had a favorite rotation! Obviously I’m overly impatient to get to third year.
Accepted: Looking back at the med school application process, what would you say was your greatest challenge? How would you advise other applicants who may be experiencing similar challenges?
Kaity: I was a fairly average applicant, which presents quite a few challenges in its own way – there definitely wasn’t anyone breaking down my door to recruit me to their program. I did well in my classes in undergrad, I was active with volunteering and leadership projects, but my MCAT score was nothing remarkable; I spent a lengthy amount of time picking out schools that I felt were in reach of my statistics to accommodate for this.
My biggest problem was with the act of actually submitting my application. I was using the summer term to finish up the last bits of my coursework, so I waited until August to make sure that my transcript would be up to date to reflect this – I found out sometime in spring that this hadn’t happened. Then I discovered in November that my committee letter hadn’t been submitted because no one had bothered to inform me that the prehealth office was missing part of my paperwork. Then I had trouble getting in touch with my last letter writer, who didn’t upload her letter to AMCAS until January.
So all in all there were quite a few timing issues that delayed my application being processed, which delayed every subsequent step in the process and left me freaking out for a solid chunk of the year.
So I guess my biggest advice is to start everything as early as possible; I talked with my letter writers and handed out my forms and information months before I was planning to submit my AMCAS and still had problems getting them to remember to turn everything in.
Accepted: Can you share some tips on the life-school balance? How do you make sure that med school doesn’t totally take over your life, but still ensure that you’re getting all your work done and making the most of your experience?
Kaity: I’m admittedly terrible at life-school balance (erring on the side of life more so than studying), so I’m definitely not the best person to ask. I do like to start off each day with a concrete list of things I want to achieve – attend class for this long; rewatch these particular lectures; clean this part of my apartment; run this errand; re-write these notes…etc. Then I can fill in the in between with things I think of as I’m going through my day.
One of the first things the second year students told us during first year orientation is that you’ll have more free time in medical school than you would expect, and I strongly believe that’s a true statement. Medical school is a tough endeavor, but it’s only going to take over your life if you let it.
I keep up with my classwork without a problem and still find myself with time to cook semi-elaborate meals and work out and watch something on Netflix and read a little for fun before going to bed.
There’s also a lot of figuring out how you work best that goes into balancing your time. I’ve discovered that I kind of hate trying to study in the afternoon – I prefer morning and evening instead. So most afternoons I find myself catching up on other things before diving back into productivity after the sun goes away.
As far as making the most of my experience? I like being an active person. I attend a lot of interest group meetings and I volunteer for a variety of things every semester. I’m actively involved in our student-run free clinic for Mobile’s homeless population. I’ve helped do blood pressure screenings at the flea market on Saturdays. I got selected as an officer for our AMWA chapter, so now I’m contacting women physicians in the area to create our event schedule.
When it comes to being a busy student, you need to figure out what you want to accomplish with your time and then work for it. That’s all there is to it.
And never forget to do something for yourself every day – be it an hour of running at the gym or an episode or two of a TV show, or making a nice dinner. Your health (physical, mental, emotional, whatever) should always be your first priority – otherwise you won’t be able to make anything else happen.
Accepted: Can you tell us about your blog? Any Spring fashion advice to send our way?
Kaity: I started my blog almost five years ago (which is crazy to think about!), when I was getting ready to travel to France to study abroad and wanted a good means to record my activities and memories of the experience. Suffice it to say, I fell down the blogging rabbit hole a bit! I discovered so many interesting bloggers and writers doing such cool things with the internet during those first few months of figuring things out that I got hooked. I decided to keep my blogging going after I returned home, and my content has expanded and evolved based on what’s going on with my life. I love talking about clothes (major overspender here) and I love talking about my education, so those two themes have kind of emerged with time as the major talking points.
As far as spring fashion advice – I’m not a fashionista by any means, I love to wear what makes me happy! And I’d advise pretty much anyone out there to do the same. Find things that make you want to get dressed in the morning. Be yourself, and let your style reflect that. And maybe try out something a little floral – I hear that’s pretty groundbreaking this time of year. 😉
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