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 Jenny…
Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? When did you graduate?
Jenny: Hi! I’m Jenny, and I’m originally from Chicago, but moved to Shanghai, China when I was in junior high. I went to the University of Chicago and studied biology as an undergrad.
Accepted: Where are you currently attending medical school? What year are you?
Jenny: I currently attend an allopathic medical school in New York City, and I’m in my last year!
Accepted: What motivated you to pursue a career in medicine?
Jenny: I really enjoyed my upper level biology classes as an undergrad, and always wanted to work in the healthcare industry to some capacity. I ended up loving my shadowing experiences, and knew I ultimately wanted the autonomy that comes with being a doctor. As physicians, we can truly make a difference in people’s lives, and that’s such a privilege and honor.
Accepted: As an MS4, your time in medical school is almost complete! What have been some of your favorite moments thus far?
Jenny: Submitting my ERAS (residency application) was so liberating! I felt like everything I worked for led up that moment. But I’m also loving my medicine sub-i. It’s hard work for sure, but I actually feel like I’m part of the team and am doing real work! It’s great to feel like you’re actually contributing. Fourth year is the best year by far.
Accepted: Have you been able to balance your personal life and medical school?
Jenny: That’s always a struggle. I’m lucky that I have a supportive husband who is incredibly understanding of my schedule and workload. But I can’t say that it was always easy. I definitely wish I was able to keep in touch more with my friends outside of school. You really have to prioritize friends and family while in medical school.
Accepted: Let’s take a look back at your application process… How did you organize yourself for applications and secondaries?
Jenny: Excel was my life. I categorized the schools I applied to as “safeties,” “matches,” or “reaches.” I think you need to apply broadly, both geographically and in terms of school caliber, to guarantee a positive outcome. When secondaries come around, organization is key. I basically allocated two to three weeks for each secondary, and made sure I didn’t submit an essay beyond that time frame.
Accepted: How did you prepare for the MCAT? Did you feel like the best prepared test taker on exam day?
Jenny: I did take a Kaplan course… but I really don’t think I benefited that much from it. I found the online resources to be extremely helpful though. I’m someone who needs to churn through multiple practice questions and practice tests to get a good feel for an exam. So I would recommend procuring as many exam questions as possible and timing yourself with questions. Also, the Kaplan practice exams are pretty good at predicting your actual score. So if you’re doing worse than you’d like, you probably need to study more. And I don’t think anyone feels super prepared to take the MCAT, and NO ONE feels good about it afterwards. Everyone feels like they missed so many questions, and that’s totally normal. Don’t freak out. You gave it your best shot and now it’s time to enjoy the rest of your year 🙂
Accepted: Lastly, if you could tell MS1’s anything, what would you tell them?
Jenny: Enjoy your time as an MS1! Things will only get busier. You have way more flexibility in your schedule during 1st and 2nd year (if it’s preclinical), because when you start your clinical rotations, it’ll be like a full-time job. You’ll have less time to go to doctor’s appointments, make weekend plans, etc. But also, realize that things get much better on the wards. I hated studying so much during my first two years, but just remember that third year is when you finally get to talk to patients, be a real student doctor, and apply all of the knowledge you accumulated over the years. Happy studying, and remember that you’re on an amazing path!
You can continue following Jenny’s story on her blog, The Vibrant Med, Instagram (@thevibrantmed), Twitter (@TheVibrantMed), and on her YouTube Channel (The Vibrant Med). Thank you Jenny for sharing your story with us, we wish you much success!
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