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, introducing Allie…
Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Do you hold any other degrees?
Allie: I am from a very small town in Indiana. I earned my BS in Biochemistry with a minor in Honors Research from Indiana University, and a Master of Arts in Bioethics and Medical Humanities from the University of Louisville.
Accepted: Where are you in med school and what year are you in?
Allie: I am a first year medical student at the University of Louisville School of Medicine.
Accepted: Did you go straight from college to med school, or take time off in between? What do you think the advantages are of taking time off?
Allie: After college, I worked for a pharmaceutical company and attended graduate school in a subject area that interested me. After graduating with my Master’s, I got married, worked in two research labs for two years, continued to take science classes that interested me, volunteered with hospice, and traveled.
Taking time off may not be the best option for everyone, but I’m glad I had that time to get a firm foundation in my marriage and grow personally and professionally before entering medical school. During grad school, I found a passion for pediatric ethics that has given me a slightly different direction for my long-term career plans and interests which are very different from what I thought I wanted the first time I applied to medical school.
Accepted: What sort of doctor do you want to be?
Allie: I’ve always wanted to be a pediatrician – I love the excitement that children exude, and their resilience is astounding. During graduate school, my focus was on pediatric bioethics, which led to a project on enhancing the use of bioethics committees for complex cases in the NICU. Because of that experience, my long-term goal is to become a neonatologist. The science behind the etiologies of congenital disorders fascinates me, and I love communicating with families.
In dealing with bioethics, there is a lot of time spent in discussing end-of-life care, which especially triggered my interest when it occurs at the beginning of life. I found that I was skilled in communicating in difficult situations with families, and I found that I could make a tangible difference there.
I’d love to work in an academic setting where I could teach while seeing patients and conducting research. I am also participating in my school’s Global Health Distinction Track, where I hope to work on projects investigating underserved women’s access to prenatal care and involving pediatric ethics.
Accepted: Can you tell us about your upcoming summer program? (I also see you’re expecting your first baby this summer – congrats!)
Allie: I have accepted a position in the Pediatric Externship Program that is presented by my school’s Department of Pediatrics for the upcoming summer. In this program, we are matched to a unit in our children’s hospital for one month, and we are expected to take H&P’s, present patients during rounds, and function as part of the medical team. We also get a small stipend and a pediatrics textbook. I am definitely looking forward to working in a hands-on environment and improving my clinical skills and knowledge!
Yes, I am! Thank you! Our baby girl is due in mid-summer, so for the month of July I plan on learning how to be a new mom while working on my research project for the Global Health Distinction Track. I plan on thoroughly enjoying this “last summer” between MS1 and MS2.
Accepted: Looking back at the med school application process, what would you say was your greatest challenge? What steps did you take to overcome that challenge?
Allie: My first application cycle was not successful. Reapplying came with its own set of challenges: even though I was familiar with the process, I now had to deal with my own feelings of inadequacy and ineptitude. My confidence was rattled. I was second-guessing every step of the process, from my personal statement to my interview answers to which schools I considered. The self-doubt was the most grueling part of the process, even after I was offered acceptances.
Another challenge that I did not expect was deciding among schools. I realized I was so fortunate to be in that predicament (especially after being unsuccessful previously) but now I had my husband to consider as well. What school was the best fit for me? What school was best for his job prospects? Where would both of us be happiest? The decision was a lot more complicated than I had thought it would be, especially because each school had a variety of things that I wanted in a medical education. In the end, we would up at the school closest to home and that has been a great decision.
Accepted: Can you tell us about your blog? Who is your target audience? How have you benefited from the blogging experience?
Allie: I started my blog just over two years ago as an outlet for writing. Since I was working and no longer a full-time student writing 30-page papers every week, I craved the creative outlet. One of my passions is helping others to achieve, I thought that maybe my story could help others who may be in the same position – unsure what to do about my passion for medicine but having an unsuccessful application cycle. I thought it was important to share not only my successes but also my failures and my missteps. Even though I’ve been successful, it wasn’t seamless – I wanted to share the truth about the struggle.
My target audience has primarily been other premed students, but I also write about my travels and (mis)adventures, to share a bit more of my life besides the student aspect. I’ve met some great people through my blog, and I’ve had several reach out to me to say that my story gives them hope, which is great since that was my goal!
You can read more about Allie’s journey by checking out her blog, Paging Dr. Allie. Thank you Allie for sharing your story with us!
Do you want to be featured in Accepted.com’s blog, Accepted Admissions Blog? If you want to share your med school journey with the world (or at least with our readers), email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.