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 Laysay (a.k.a. [Future] Doctor Dursteak)…
Accepted: First, some basics: Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What is your favorite book (fiction or non-fiction)?
Laysay: I am from a town south of Fort Worth called Burleson, Texas. I studied at a small liberal arts college in North Texas called Austin College where I got BAs in Biology and Psychology. I just recently graduated in 2014.
My absolute favorite book is the Perk of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. I have never felt so connected to a character before as I do with the main character, Charlie. I first read Perks when I was a freshman in high school and I don’t believe I would have made it through those years had I not had someone to feel “infinite” with like I did with him.
Accepted: Can you tell us about your blog? When did you start blogging? What have you gained from the experience? And what do you hope others will take away from it?
Laysay: My blog is primarily about the highs and lows of pursuing a career in medicine. I have been writing since the fourth grade (when I was taught creative thinking and critical reasoning skills in the Talented and Gifted program at my elementary school). I decided to start blogging when I was looking for a blog about the LIFE of a med student and not the “tips and tricks” of getting accepted. By writing for my blog, I have started reflecting more on the goals that I have for my future and the things that are important to me in my life.
By reading my blog and following me on my journey to become a physician, I hope that others can be reminded that there are so many other important and unspoken aspects of medicine that aren’t necessarily covered in premed and med school courses.
Accepted: Congrats on your acceptance to med school! Which program will you be attending?
Laysay: Thank you! I am attending Texas A&M’s College of Medicine as the graduating class of 2018.
Accepted: How many med schools did you apply to? How did you choose Texas A&M’s program?
Laysay: I actually only applied to six of the nine medical schools in Texas. I was really hard on myself during my application cycle and gave up on secondary applications before I had completed the last three that I had to do because I didn’t think I was competitive enough to get in.
I ended up choosing to attend Texas A&M because it was the only place where I felt completely welcomed, accepted, and very much at home. Those were all things that I figured where exactly what I needed to have in medical school.
Accepted: What was the most challenging aspect of the admissions process? What steps did you take to overcome that challenge?
Laysay: The most challenging part of the admissions process was WAITING. Waiting for the application to open, waiting for transcripts to be sent, waiting for schools to review your application, waiting to hear back from schools, waiting for interviews, waiting outside the door of an actual interviewer.
Oh, it was painfully dreadful having to wait for everything!
The only way I was able to survive all of the waiting was by turning off my WiFi and the push notifications for my email during the day (when I was in my undergrad courses) so that I was not obsessively checking to see if I had anything from medical schools!
Accepted: Thank you so much for sharing your personal statement on your blog! Can you walk us through the process of writing this important essay?
Laysay: No problem. 🙂 Yes, writing your personal statement is by far one of the most stressful things that you do when filling out med school applications. What I found beneficial was spending much time reflecting on the moments where I thought to myself, “Yes. There is absolutely nothing else that I want to do besides this [being a physician].” For me, it was the experiences that I had with a very influential physician that I shadowed in pediatrics. I would say to start with figuring out what made you excited to pursue medicine and open your personal statement with a specific story that will engage the readers and show a bit of your personality to them.
Everyone has different life experiences that make them want to become physicians – my best advice for writing your PS is to be personable, avoid clichés, and let as many people as you can read and re-read your paper before submitting it.
Accepted: Will you be heading straight to med school from college? What do you think the advantages and disadvantages are of going this route?
Laysay: I am a traditional student, meaning that I started med school the summer after I graduated from college. What’s interesting is that there are not as many traditional students as you might expect there to be in medical school. Many of my peers have been graduated from college for several years before they started medical school. Many of them have spent some time in the workforce, completing higher education in different fields, or starting a family.
I don’t think there is a specific set of advantages or disadvantages for being a traditional or nontraditional medical student. Everyone has different goals in their lives and mine just so happened to be to go straight into medical school (if I could get in). Some people take time off to travel or work in different fields. It all just depends on what you want to do with your life and what your specific goals are.
Accepted: When did you decide you wanted to go into medicine? What were some of the experiences you had that led to that moment?
Laysay: I decided I wanted to go into medicine when I was very young, but I deviated from that path until I started college. I wanted to be a zoologist, a marine biologist, an artist, an author, a psychologist, and everything in between. I have always loved science and people, and am a total dork because I have also always loved school. I decided that I wanted to go into medicine when I realized that not only to physicians help and teach people, but they are also lifelong learners. For me, that is the best of both worlds. 🙂
You can read more about [Future] Doctor Dursteak’s med school journey by checking out her blog, Doctor Dursteak. Thank you Laysay 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.