Next up in our series of featured med school bloggers is Natalie, aka Doctor Model, a medical student, mother, fashion model, and blogger at doctormodel.wordpress.com. If you’ve ever wondered how someone can combine medicine, motherhood, and modeling – and even if you didn’t – you’ll enjoy Natalie’s thoughtful perspective. Use it to help you make your way through the med school admissions process.
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?
Natalie: I am from Utah, graduated with a Bachelor of Science from the University of Utah in Chemistry and Health Promotion and Education. I also attended the Masters of Public Health program at the University of Utah that I will complete upon my graduation from medical school.
Accepted: What year are you in med school?
Natalie: Entering my second year.
Accepted: I know you are keeping your med school’s name private, but can you still tell us what factors led you to choose this program?
Natalie: I chose the school I am attending for several reasons, but the most important was the people. I knew that I would be spending a lot of time with the people – students, faculty and staff – in a very close environment for four years. Four years is a long time, so I wanted to make sure that I fit well into the community. I also chose a program with an excellent reputation and a history of excellent board scores.
Accepted: How do you juggle being a med student, mom, and model? Do you plan on continuing your modeling career after you become a doctor? Which is the most challenging of your three roles?
Natalie: The juggling is difficult. Sometimes I have completely lost my mind, or broken down crying. I very rarely cried before medical school (and it wasn’t because of a lack of reasons). I very often remind myself that medical school is just a job, and a job is never more important than a person, especially family. My priorities are first to my family, then to medical school, and then to modeling. Because of this, my grades are not as high as they could be, I have modeled very little since I began medical school, and while I have missed out on a lot of time with my daughter, I think she is doing very well.
Modeling is a tricky business. Because I live in the northwest I may be able to model longer than other markets, but at 24 years old I am already very old for the business. There have been many times I claim to be quitting modeling and I always come back, so who knows, time will tell. Modeling has always been a means for me (a very fun one), and not an end. Being a physician is the career I chose and that will take precedent over my work in the fashion world.
Being a mother is by far the most challenging and rewarding of my three roles. Closely followed by my new role as a wife. The responsibility and consequences are paramount in both. Medical school is challenging in a different way. It is more mentally and physically exhausting and has forced me to push myself to limit academically. Modeling is also uniquely challenging and a more difficult job than people give it credit for, but still much easier than my other jobs.
Accepted: What is your favorite class so far?
Natalie: This is a difficult question to answer. I have loved many of my classes, but the one I loved most was also the most challenging: Neuroscience. The brain is absolutely fascinating and I loved the challenge and difficulty of the course. A close second would be head and neck anatomy lab.
Accepted: If you could change one thing about medical school, what would it be?
Natalie: The testing and grading. I don’t believe that knowledge is best assessed by multiple choice questions. I understand that this is the easiest way to assess masses of students, and it prepares us for our board exams, but I don’t believe it best prepares us for patient care. I would prefer oral or essay exams, especially on clinically relevant topics.
Accepted: What motivated you to pursue a career in medicine at this stage in your life?
Natalie: My answer is the classic boring one: I have always wanted to be a physician. My other paths in life are my hobbies, becoming a physician (and being a mother) are my vocations. It is never too late to start the path to medical school, and there is no “good time” to attend medical school. If it’s something you want, you go when you get in and thank God for the opportunity.
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