Next up in our series of featured med school bloggers is “A”, an anonymous East Coast med student who blogs at The Hero Complex. Enjoy reading A’s life and med school experiences!
Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? Where did you go to school and when did you graduate? And what prior degrees do you hold?
A: I would first like to say that unlike some bloggers, I choose to stay mostly anonymous. I like being free to write what I like, and not attracting attention (positive and negative) from my classmates and institution. Just some background though, I was born and raised in Charlotte, NC. For undergrad, I attended the College of Charleston in South Carolina, where I graduated with a degree in biology in May of 2012. I am attending medical school at a public institution in the Carolinas, and I love it.
Accepted: Is med school anything like you had expected it to be?
A: Yes and no. Before starting medical school, I was warned by everyone about “how much material” is presented each and every day. However, I naively thought med school would be like a hard semester of college. I was wrong. Trust me, there is a ton to learn, more information than you have ever been exposed to in your life. We pretty much covered all of my biology and biochemistry courses from college in a span of 4 weeks. It is hard, and at times all-consuming, but there is time for fun and balance. I didn’t expect medical school to completely take over my life, and (knock on wood) it hasn’t.
Accepted: How many medical schools did you apply to? How did you decide on your chosen program?
A: I applied to 9 schools, all on the East Coast. My decision came down to 2 factors: where would I be happiest? And what is financially reasonable? After interviewing at most of the schools, I had a good idea about what each school had to offer and what I liked and disliked about the school, curriculum, community, city, etc. After that I just waited for financial aid packages to come in so that I could make an informed decision. Luckily, the school I liked the most offered me a scholarship and I immediately committed.
Accepted: Was attending a “name brand” program important to you? What role did popular med school rankings play in your decision process?
A: In my opinion, medical school rankings are largely overrated. An MD is an MD, no matter where it comes from in the United States. The vast majority of patients will never ask where their doctor got their degree, much less care if it was Harvard or a public state school. Obviously, there are benefits to attending a top-tier medical school, such as making useful connections, but the quality of education will be very similar across the board. I do, however, think attending a top residency is important!
Accepted: What do you like best about your medical school so far?
A: Our professors are top rate. No matter the topic, the professors find a way to tie it into the practice of medicine. Studying is a lot easier when you are learning relevant material. Learning how to take a patient’s history and conduct a physical exam have also been highlights.
Accepted: Are there things about the program that you would change?
A: The pacing of the schedule can sometimes be a bit odd. We will be incredibly busy one week, with no afternoons off. The very next week we may have 3 or 4 entire afternoons completely free. This probably has to do with classroom and simulation lab availability, but the change of pace sometimes throws me off my game.
Accepted: What courses or experiences or people motivated you to go into medicine?
A: I never really had a life-changing or single moment that led me to medicine as a career. Going into college, I knew that I didn’t want a desk job, and that was about it. The summer after freshman year of undergrad, I was a patient transporter and really loved working in a hospital. I was a college kid who actually loved his summer job…that was a big sign to me. I am also one of those people that loves to read and constantly learn so medical school seemed like a great path for me to take. Now that I am here, I know I made the right decision. The human body is fascinating.
Accepted: Do you have any application advice for our medical school applicants?
A: Get your completed application turned in during June. I can’t tell you how much of an advantage it is to apply early. Don’t wait and procrastinate; be organized and proactive with your application! I was interviewing at schools before many of my friends had even completed a single secondary. It is also crucial to be genuine in your application and personal statement. If you aren’t, it will show at your interview.
Accepted: Why did you decide to blog about your med school experience?
A: I was inspired by Dr. Zac who used to blog regularly at Agraphia.net. He had such a way with words; it made me excited about one day being a part of the medical community. I wanted to be able to write like him. I also love to teach and tutor. My blog is a great way to help (I hope) a lot of pre-meds out with MCAT prep and medical school application tips. Although I don’t write as often as I’d like, working on my blog is relaxing and a nice break from the rigors of med school.
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