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 top medical schools and the med school application process. And now, introducing Eniola Prentice…
Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? And can you tell us about your book?
Eniola: I am originally from Nigeria and moved to the States when I was 17. I went to the University of Illinois at Chicago.
I hate answering the question about who I am. The answer usually depends on the time of the day and my mood. I do know a few things about my life. I am sure of the following. I know I am a child of God. I know I want God to use my life as He pleases to help others through my novel. I finished my novel still when I was in the fourth year of medical school. I started writing it in my third year of school. It was definitely one of the most challenging times of my life but I believe God brought out the best in me and connected me with people that are my lifelong friends. It is based on my experiences, friendships and connections in med school. I also used some of my own painful and joyful life experiences. I feel that writing still allowed me to be vulnerable. It’s a lesson I am still learning, allowing myself to be open and let other young women learn from my experiences.
Accepted: Where did you go to med school? What was your favorite thing about that school? And if you could change one thing about the program, what would it be?
Eniola: I went to Howard University in Washington DC. My favorite thing about Howard was the camaraderie and the family atmosphere. I truly had a group of friends that truly supported and loved one another. A lot of my book is based on my true life experiences with my groups of friends. We called ourselves the 210 group because we always studied in room 210. LOL. We still call ourselves that. I would probably change how struggling students were handled.
Accepted: Where are you doing your residency?
Eniola: I am doing my residency in INOVA Fairfax hospital in Virginia.
Accepted: Why did you choose that program?
Eniola: I choose it because of proximity and familiarity. Washington was just 45 minutes away and I had quite a support system nearby. I think that’s one thing that no one really gives you advice on when choosing a residency. Everyone wants to go to the most competitive program or the big name program but fails to realize that residency is demanding. The days can get dark and very lonely. You want to at least enjoy the people you are working with or have a trusted group of friends/family to vent to.
Accepted: Does your family still live in Nigeria? Do you plan on returning home once you’ve completed your studies?
Eniola: Most of my family is here. I don’t think returning to settle down is in my future. However you never know where God leads you.
Accepted: How does religion play into your passion to be a physician?
Eniola: It played a big part in my early years of deciding to study medicine. It took holding on to my faith in God and believing what He said rather than how my situation looked or what I felt or what everyone was telling. Everyone told me no but God told me yes. I listened to God and I am where I am today. Now my Christian religion pushes me to be an excellent resident, and then physician. I always remember the word of God that says “I should do my works to please God and not men.”
Accepted: What are your top 3 tips for residency applicants?
1. Location, location, location. Until you apply you don’t realize how big a factor this is. Then you realize that most of the big city programs have the most applicants and are most competitive. You should research any potential residency interview location keeping in mind that the location will be your home for the next few years and potentially more if you choose fellowship.
2. Ask the residents currently in the program what life is really like. Email them. Notice everything. Does the residency program allow you to talk to a few select residents or you talked to all. Do the residents look genuinely happy? Observe, observe, observe.
3. Support system. Yes you are going to this big name program but will it be a place everyone puts you down instead of building you up? Do they put a spot light on your weakness. It gets very hard in residency and if you don’t have that support system it makes a difficult situation unbearable. I think in medical school and with the competition of residency, you lose sight of the most important things. Find a residency that will encourage you to grow past your weakness and find a support group there. Pray for one. It’s so important.
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You can follow Eniola’s residency adventure by checking out her blog, Eniola Prentice: Apprentice of God, Half baked Medical doctor, Aspiring Writer. Thank you Eniola for sharing your story with us!
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