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 Ajibike Lapite…
Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
Ajibike: Hi all! I was born in New York City but I spent all but a couple of years in Monroe, Louisiana – a relatively small town approximately five hours north of New Orleans. I went to Princeton University (in Princeton, New Jersey) where I studied Molecular Biology and Global Health and Health Policy.
I went to an ice cream shop in Denver and tried Rice Krispie ice cream. Absolutely phenomenal! Definitely my favorite flavor.
Accepted: Congrats on your acceptance to Tulane’s MD/MPH program! Why did you choose that program? How is it the best fit for you?
Ajibike: Thank you! I wrote a blog post about what sparked my interest in the Tulane MD/MPH programs. I’ll share a few of those reasons here! (1) Tulane is close to home but not *too* close, (2) Tulane, like the city, has a very relaxed easy-going culture, (3) the first two years are pass/fail, and (4) the MD/MPH program is a four-year program. I know, awesome!
Accepted: Now that school’s begun…how’s it going so far? What’s your favorite thing about the program so far? Least favorite thing?
Ajibike: Let’s start with my least favorite aspect of Tulane SOM. Here, we take anatomy as sort of an intensive course. From August until early October we took anatomy and embryology. It was super fast! Although I appreciated not having to deal with the smell of formaldehyde for an extensive period of time, I do think there is some benefit to studying anatomy alongside physiology.
I love the flexibility here, and part of that is attributed to the supportive nature of administration as well as the pass/fail grading system. And so, I’ve been able to take two pretty exciting electives: (1) Sexual Health Elective and (2) End of Life Elective.
Accepted: What do you think the advantages are of going straight from college to med school? Do you sometimes wish that you’d taken time off?
Ajibike: A lot of people are unsure of whether or not a gap year is the right choice. For me, it wasn’t. I spent my senior year of college in a laboratory and knew that I did not want to spend an additional year in a laboratory and I was unsure of what I would want to do in a year (or two) after college. If you have an interest that you want to pursue before medical school begins, take the gap year and go for it! You’ll be glad that you did.
Accepted: Had you ever lived in New Orleans before now? How do you like the city? Can you recommend a cozy coffee shop, or some other favorite place, where you like to study or hang out with friends?
Ajibike: No I haven’t! Although my home town is not terribly far from New Orleans, I had only visited the city three times before I was an official Tulanian. The city is very musical and vibrant. There is *always* a festival in town and a reason to celebrate — I love this! It can definitely be a distraction but you totally learn to adjust.
I study in an assortment of places. Sometimes at school (in the main library or group study rooms), sometimes at the School of Public Health, and quite often in coffee shops. I am a pretty big fan of Avenue Cafe but I have just started to explore additional coffee shops as well.
Accepted: What do you plan on doing with your join MD/MPH degree?
Ajibike: I’d like to be involved in global health infrastructure reform to some extent. To an extent, I am really interested in being hands on in global health infrastructure via organizations such as Doctors without Borders. At some point, I think involvement with the World Health Organization would be amazing.
Accepted: Looking back at the application process, what would you say was the most challenging step? What did you do to overcome that challenge?
Ajibike: I found it incredibly hard to click ‘submit’ on my applications. I would finish my essays, upload them to the portal, and spend far too much time worrying that the essays were not perfect (they never are). I don’t know if I ‘overcame’ it necessarily. My parents told me that I was ridiculous and convinced me to hit ‘submit.’
Accepted: What are your top three admissions tips with our readers?
(1) Stay calm.
(2) Stay focused.
(3) Submit quality applications as early as possible.
Accepted: Can you tell us about your blog? Who is your target audience? What do you hope to gain from the blogging experience?
Ajibike: I started my blog as a way to stay sane during the application process. It transformed into a way to keep up with my family and now I’ve made quite a few friends in the online #almostdoctor community. I hope to (1) encourage applicants by sharing my journey, (2) give an insight into life as a medical student, and (3) continue to make dear friends who are on similar journeys.
Accepted: Can you share some advice to incoming first year students, to help make their adjustment to med school easier?
Ajibike: The sooner you realize that it is impossible to know everything, the less overwhelmed you will be. Study hard but don’t forget to take care of yourself! Take days off if you feel overwhelmed! Don’t feel guilty when you work out, it’s important! Sleep is a beautiful thing — don’t deprive yourself!
Accepted: Do you have any other advice for our med school applicant readers?
Ajibike: The application process is a nerve-wracking journey. It is definitely okay to feel overwhelmed! Make sure that you have a solid support system.
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You can follow Ajibike’s adventure by checking out her blog, Stilettos + Stethoscopes. Thank you Ajibike for sharing your story with us!
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