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 Rafid Rahman….
Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad?
Rafid: Good Ol’ Honest Abe and I share the same hometown – Springfield, IL. I double majored in Biological Sciences and Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Accepted: Can you share three fun facts about yourself?
1. When Dr. Sanjay Gupta retires, I’m going to be the first one to take his job!
2. Although many people have not heard of it, Bangladesh is the world’s eighth-most populous country and that is where I was born.
3. I’m a modern car guru and can name the make and model of almost any car just by seeing the body shape or headlights from 50 feet away.
Accepted: Where are you planning on attending med school?
Rafid: The University of Toledo Medical Center in Ohio.
Accepted: How did you know that school was the right “fit?”
Rafid: Even though I’ve researched at medical institutions like Harvard, Rush, and University of Nebraska, the College of Medicine at Toledo had the most cutting edge technology to teach its students, such as a virtual immersive reality center. However, the best selling point is that it has underground tunnels and heated above-ground pathways throughout the campus so you’ll never have to step outside during the frigid, windy winters.
Accepted: How was the med school application process for you? What did you find was the biggest obstacle to overcome in the entire process?
Rafid: I was accepted through an early assurance program called MedStart. You apply during the fall of your junior year of college, interview in the winter, and receive an acceptance during the spring – a year earlier than a typical applicant. However, you still need to finish your senior year of college. The biggest obstacle was not knowing what the future holds… sometimes, uncertainty is the biggest challenge in the application process.
Accepted: You have a blog and YouTube channel called MedSpeak! What is MedSpeak and what inspired you to start journaling tips for med students?
Rafid: MedSpeak is a spoken and written forum where future physicians at any stage of their careers – high school, undergraduate, graduate (medical school), post-graduate (residency), or practice (attending) – can go to learn more about the field and get verified answers to common questions we all have faced on our journeys. We use YouTube as our spoken platform and Journalism as our written platform to document the questions we answer.
As a first generation medical student hopeful, I found it very difficult to find reliable information from a singular source on the internet and I sometimes felt lost with all the conflicting information in different forums (where everyone and their mother would be an expert); thus, I decided to create MedSpeak as a solution to those problems. Furthermore, the ideas we present are reviewed by other medical students, physicians, journalists, admission committee members, or people who have experience in the topic we are presenting so people watching can have a better idea of what is expected in the current environment.
MedSpeak has recently also branched into reporting on current medical news in a concise, chuckle-worthy manner to inform future physicians about unique stories unfolding in healthcare. We also plan on having physician/medical student guest speakers on the channel to inspire others to keep working towards their goals!
Accepted: What were your secrets to success for the MCAT? Can you share your top 3 tips?
1. Practice Questions
2. Correct and Review
3. Repeat Steps a and b
I think the biggest mistake some doctor hopefuls make is that they spend too much time studying the material and not enough time practicing. Studying for the MCAT is like prepping for your driver’s test. Yes, you need to know the rules of the road to pass your driver’s test, but you aren’t going to pass if you haven’t spent adequate time actually driving and practicing on the road. Book knowledge is important but practice also has its place.
Accepted: Lastly, what advice would you give to a student on how to get accepted to medical school?
Rafid: Do things you love, never do something because you think the admissions committee will think it is impressive. Every medical school is different and is looking for unique people. Yes, MCAT and GPA are important. However, your passions will really distinguish you from the thousands of other applicants vying for the same seat. Passion is the drive that will push you forward when normal people would give up, and continuing to persevere towards your goals will really be the true marker of success.
You can follow Rafid’s journey by checking out his YouTube channel, his website, MedSpeak, or by following him on Twitter (@Rafid_Rahman). Thank you Rafid for sharing your story with us – we wish you the best of luck!
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