This interview is the latest in an Accepted 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 Melina McSwiggen…
Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad?
Melina: I am a Southern transplant! I was born in Michigan, but I have lived in Georgia for most of my life. For my undergraduate degree, I attended Mercer University in Macon, GA (Go Bears!) and studied Biology.
Accepted: Can you share 3 fun facts about yourself?
Melina: Fun facts about yours truly:
1. Becoming a doctor wasn’t always my dream career path. Up until high school, I wanted to be an actress and an author. I’d still like the author part to come to fruition some day ;).
2. During undergrad, I was a summer intern at a non-profit clinic in my hometown. That experience helped me become confident in my decision to pursue a medical degree. I even got to volunteer there this summer as a medical student, and I plan on returning one day as a practicing physician.
3. A recent hobby I’ve acquired is practicing yoga. It is challenging, renewing, and a great way to center oneself in the midst of a chaotic life.
Accepted: Where are you currently attending med school? What year are you?
Melina: I am a second year osteopathic medical student attending school in the Southeast.
Accepted: Why did you choose that program? How did you know you were a good fit?
Melina: I chose my program because of its relative proximity to my hometown, its new facilities, and great osteopathic medical program. I knew I would be a good fit after I read their mission statement. Not only were they looking for students from my region, but their values and ideas about learning and practicing medicine were in line with my own. I felt even better about this fit after interview day.
Accepted: You have a blog called Living Raediantly. What made you create your blog? What can med students find on your blog?
Melina: Yes! I began my blog this summer after completing my first year of medical school. I learned so much, yet I still have so much more to learn about medicine and life. I love to write, and I love sharing myself and my experiences with other people. I created my blog as a way to seek balance in my life, to reflect on my past and present experiences in medical school, and to have a space to express my outside interests. On my blog, you can find posts about osteopathic medicine, study tips, reflections on medical school, and posts about my outside interests such as reading and health/fitness.
Accepted: How have you been able to manage life outside of med school with your demanding schedule?
Melina: I’m going to be honest: it is very hard to find a balance between medical school and life outside of school. Ultimately, it’s about prioritizing and deciding what is most important to you. Many times, especially the week before an exam, I can only fit in the self-care basics, such as exercise, meals, and sleep. Other times, especially right after an exam or during a slow week, I do something fun with my friends. We’ll go to the movies, go on a hike, have a wine night, or take a day trip somewhere. As far as making time for the things I personally enjoy during the week, I try to take advantage of little moments throughout my day. I’ll read for 10-15 minutes before bed, or do a devotional in the morning while I have coffee. I also schedule at least one good yoga session as one of my exercise sessions during the week. The two things that have helped me the most on my quest to find balance are my handy-dandy planner and an excellent support system among my family and friends!
Accepted: Do you have any ideas on what you’d like to specialize in for residency?
Melina: I am passionate about working with children and their parents, so my heart is currently set on pediatric medicine. However, I also have a few other specialty interests that I am excited to explore during third and fourth year.
Accepted: Any last words of wisdom for applicants or med students?
Melina: My final words of wisdom: Be resilient in all that you do. You may be discouraged after you fail or if something doesn’t go your way, but keep going and keep trying no matter how long it takes.
You can follow Melina’s experience by checking out her blog at livingraediantly.com or following her on Twitter and Instagram. Thank you Melina for sharing your story with us – we wish you continued success!
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