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, let’s follow up with Derin…
Accepted: Welcome back, Derin! The last time we spoke, you were in the process of applying to medical schools. Where are you currently attending med school? What year are you?
Derin: I am currently a first year medical student at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. Go Buckeyes!
Accepted: You had a quite a list of schools that you planned on applying to, as well as a top choice. Did you get into your top choice? Did you change your mind at any point through applying, secondaries, and interviews?
Derin: My application cycle was ROUGH. Although I applied early, I still had some weaknesses in my application, i.e. my MCAT score. I ended being rejected from almost all the schools I applied to. At the end of the cycle, I had received only two interviews. One of the schools waitlisted me for a while, and the other school (OSU) referred me to their postbac program. I decided to do the one year MEDPATH program at OSU and the following year, matriculated into the medical school. Doing the MEDPATH program has honestly been the best decision ever! Not only did I get a chance to work on my weaknesses and finally conquer the MCAT, but I gained a family (it’s a small cohort of 15 students) and access to various resources for the rest of my med school career. You can read a summary of my med school application cycle at my blog: www.curveballsandmedschool.com. I also have different posts about the MEDPATH program on there. MEDPATH offers a conditional acceptance so it’s definitely another avenue into medical school.
Accepted: You’re still blogging at Curve Balls and Med School! How do you manage all the aspects of life and school? Do you have any tips for the M1’s out there?
Derin: Honestly, it’s a balancing act. You really have to be good at time management. Between med school, the organizations I’m involved with, blogging, and flying back and forth to see my significant other (we’re long distance), I have to schedule everything to stay organized. I use daily to-do lists, my calendar app on my phone, as well as a physical planner to stay on top of things. I recently also got engaged over the Christmas break, so with wedding planning and all the other things going on, time management and organization is key!
Accepted: What has been your favorite part of med school thus far?
Derin: Ah, this is a tough question. Can I say two things? One part has been the people. My classmates are AWESOME! Friendly, collaborative, they’ve really made my med school experience a positive one so far. The second part has been the clinical experience. At OSU, we start getting clinical experience as early as first year – literally two months after we start. I was assigned to a family medicine practice where I go every two weeks and practice the skills we’re learning: taking a good history of present illness, giving a good physical exam, etc. I look forward to those days because it reminds me of why I chose medicine in the first place.
Accepted: What has been the biggest challenge in med school? How have you overcome it?
Derin: Balancing med school and my life outside of it. The volume of information you’re supposed to learn can be overwhelming, but at the same time I value my time outside of studying. I like to go salsa dancing, lie in bed and watch Netflix, and spend time (whether on the phone, Skype, or in person) with my fiancé. So trying to schedule everything so I succeed and that the same time, feel happy and fulfilled, was a bit of a challenge the first two months. It involved a bit of trial and error. Thankfully, I can say I’ve got the hang of things now – although, I’m always eager to learn ways to make it better. One book I’d recommend that helped me in examining how I spend my time is Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. I read this a month before starting med school and I’m glad I did. I highly recommend it!
Accepted: Lastly, can you share your top three tips for those currently in the application process?
Derin: This can’t be said enough, but apply EARLY. Especially if you know there’s a weak area or two in your application. Second, surround yourself around positive people. The application cycle can be tough mentally, and it helps to have people who will share positive, uplifting words and will support you in this process. Third, if your cycle isn’t going as well as you hoped, BREATHE, it’s not the end of the world. You can send letter of intents to medical schools, reach out to someone in admissions and see if they would be willing to talk to you about your application (the weak areas), look into programs that offer a conditional acceptance into the med school upon completing their requirements, or apply a second time around. Everyone’s path to med school doesn’t have to be the same, mine certainly strayed from the norm thanks to those curve balls, and there’s nothing wrong with that 🙂
You can follow Derin’s medical school journey by checking out her blog Curve Balls and Med School. Thank you for sharing your story with us – we wish you continued success!
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