This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with medical school applicants and students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at the med school application process. And now for a follow up interview with Andrea Wenzel who just completed her last year of med school and who will be starting her residency in June. (We first met Andrea last year – you can read our first interview with her here.)
Accepted: How does year 4 of med school compare to year 3?
Andrea: Fourth year is so different from third year! I really loved third year because it was the first time I actually felt like I was almost a doctor. I felt like I really contributed to the care of my patients and I was part of the team.
Fourth year is a huge change from third year because at my school, we only have three required electives. The majority of the year is spent applying for residency and traveling for interviews. I took a few electives along with my three required clerkships, but most of the year was spent doing things outside of the hospital or clinic.
Accepted: Congrats on your recent match! When do you start your residency and where and what will you be doing?
Andrea: Thank you! I matched into ophthalmology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
Ophthalmology has a required preliminary medicine or transitional year, which I will be completing at Mayo as well. Everything starts mid-June, so I’m getting ready to move and start my life in Minnesota!
Accepted: What would you say was the most challenging aspect of the residency application process? What steps did you take to overcome that challenge?
Andrea: The residency application process is long and tiring! First, you have to fill out the application which takes weeks of writing out all your activities, editing your personal statement, reading and re-reading your application to make sure it’s perfect. Then, you have to make sure all your letters of recommendation are in which can be challenging. I had to hunt down a professor to get my letter in on time!
After everything is submitted, you just wait for interviews invitations to come. That waiting period is excruciating!! Finally, you spend 2-3 months interviewing all over the country. The interviews are exhausting because most last all day and you have to be “on” all the time. You have to prepare to answer all kinds of questions, ask questions about each program, appear excited, and interested, it is such a blast, but also draining! I loved the entire process. There were days when I was filled with anxiety, but I just kept reminding myself that I was a strong applicant and everything would work out.
Accepted: In all four years of med school, what would you say was your favorite class or rotation?
Andrea: That’s such a hard question! During my second year I took a class called, “Introduction to Clinical Medicine” which was a year-long, 20 credit hour class. The class covered every topic in medicine from cardiology, OBGYN, and pediatrics, to psychiatry, pulmonology and nephrology. It was intense! But I felt like that class really prepared me for third year. I learned so much and really loved it. Also, all our professors for that class were MDs which made it enjoyable.
During third year, I honestly loved all my rotations. I think my two favorites were neurology and surgery. During those two clerkships, I really felt like I was contributing to the care of my patients which made me love coming in every day. I felt like I was a valuable member of the team.
Accepted: If you could offer incoming med students ONE piece of advice what would it be?
Andrea: One piece of advice that has helped me is to remember to be grateful. There are so many times in medical school that we all get burnt out and feel bitter about studying and missing out on other parts of life. But in reality, we are so blessed to be able to study medicine. We don’t have to spend our days working out in a field to provide for our family. We get to spend our days in a comfortable library learning how to care for the sick – that is amazing. Whenever I feel discouraged I just try to remember how lucky I am!
Accepted: In non-med school news, what’s been going on with you?? How are the food and fitness aspects of your life going? Any new health tips you can share with us?
Andrea: My non-med school life is great! I am getting married in May and I’m super excited about that. Health and fitness have also been wonderful! I’m currently doing a 30 day yoga challenge that requires me to go to 30 hot yoga classes in 30 days. I’m on day 17 and I love it! I already feel stronger than I did a few weeks ago.
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Thank you Andrea for sharing your story with us! You can read more about Andrea’s med school adventure by checking out her blog, A Doctor in the House: Food, Fitness, and a Splash of Science.
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