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 Haley….
Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad?
Haley: I’m originally from Richmond, Virginia and I went to undergrad at a small, liberal arts school in Virginia called Longwood University. Fun fact— they are actually hosting the Vice Presidential Debate this year. In undergrad I studied Biology, but also Philosophy. My favorite classes were those in Logic and Ethics, as well as Immunology and Microbiology.
Accepted: Can you share three fun facts about yourself?
1. I moved quite a bit as a kid for my dad’s job— including a few years in Tokyo, Japan.
2. I am a coffee mug collector— seriously, I’m obsessed with them. Anything pretty, unique, or funny and I want to drink coffee or tea out of it.
3. My cat is named after Jonas Salk— he was adopted on World Polio Eradication Day.
Accepted: Where are you going to medical school? What year are you?
Haley: I attend a midwest DO school and am currently in my third year. I’m actually in the middle of my fourth clinical rotation right now!
Accepted: What would you say were the highs and lows for you in the med school application process?
Haley: Frankly, there were a lot of lows; I think it’s a really grueling process for a lot of people. I had always been a successful student who had worked hard, so I hadn’t faced much rejection prior to the medical school admissions process. It was challenging but also a really important reality check when I received several rejections. As far as highs go, getting that acceptance letter was a huge moment for me – and I think for anyone who goes through the process.
Accepted: What made you want to pursue a career in medicine?
Haley: I never had one concrete moment that convinced me to go into medicine, but rather a series of experiences that led me to this career path. I had been interested in medicine in an abstract way for a long time—I’ve always been really fascinated by the science and the human body. My thoughts about medicine became much more concrete in high school after taking a volunteer trip to a Native American reservation and seeing true health disparities first-hand. That trip really got the ball rolling in my head about making a difference. Through college, I volunteered at a local free clinic checking in patients and taking vitals, and I always wanted to know more about the patients’ diseases and how to treat them. So for me, it was actually a lot of things!
Accepted: You have a blog called “Triple Shot of Beauty.” Why the name “Triple Shot of Beauty?” What inspired you to start your blog?
Haley: The name Triple Shot of Beauty is really just a play on words on my caffeine addiction and the fact that it’s a beauty blog— I typically order three shots of espresso in my coffee drinks. I had already pre-written several posts and was ready to launch the site and coming up with the blog name was the only thing holding me back, so I just ran with it.
As far as the blog itself, I had been toying around with the idea of creating one for about a year. I had been guest blogging for a good friend’s blog and had really enjoyed the process but felt that I wanted to write more frequently…and so the blog was born! It has turned out to be a fantastic hobby and an amazing way to connect with other medical students, pre-med students, PA’s, and nurses from all over the world who are interested in both medicine and beauty.
I’m very much a traditional “girly-girl” and enjoy the getting ready process and skincare and as a part of self-care. I also reject the concept that you have to choose between being feminine and being intelligent and competent. I hope that my blog shows that you can be both.
Accepted: Where do you see your career in medicine taking you? Any residency ideas yet?
Haley: Because I am still so early in my third year I am trying to keep an open mind as I go into every rotation. However, my favorite shadowing experiences prior to medical school were in OB/GYN and I have always been a huge advocate for women and women’s health. Right now I am on my very first OB/GYN rotation…so we will see if it’s a good fit! I have also considered family medicine, geriatrics, and hospice/palliative care medicine, and I am looking forward to all of my other rotations.
Accepted: Lastly, what is the one thing you wish you would’ve known going into med school that you’d like to share with other applicants, or those just starting out as an MS1?
Haley: Whether it is the applications process or medical school itself, I wish I would have known going in how to separate self-worth and self-esteem from academic performance from the beginning. Even the best students have B and C exams or might have a bad quiz day – it is so important to not let those moments crush you, but instead to take it as motivation to study harder or to do your best next time. There were times when I got a rejection letter, or when I performed poorly on an exam and thought that maybe I wasn’t cut out to be a doctor. I know now that none of those things are true!
Also, for those of you just starting out as an MS1, if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or burned out by the academic side of things, try to take some time to volunteer or do something that reminds you about why you wanted to go to medical school in the first place. There were times in my first two years where I felt a bit lost because it seemed like all I was doing was studying, and doing this helped to ground me and remind me why I was in school in the first place.
You can follow Haley’s med school journey by checking out her blog Triple Shot of Beauty, or by following her on Instagram (@tripleshotofbeauty), Twitter (@TripleShotBlog) or Facebook (tripleshotblog). Thank you for sharing your story with us, Haley – we wish you the best of luck!
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