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 Carly…
Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad?
Carly: Growing up, I have lived all over the South. For the past several years, however, my family has lived in Arkansas and I’ve grown to love it here!
I went to Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas for undergrad and majored in Biochemistry with a minor in Accounting. Kind of random, I know, but I wanted to learn more about business and finance in case I decided to open my own medical practice one day.
I actually really enjoyed my accounting classes much more than my “science-driven” brain initially thought I would.
Accepted: Can you share three fun facts about yourself?
1. I love to travel! My mom is a food and travel blogger so we have had the opportunity to travel all over the country. My favorite place to go is Alaska! The scenery there is so beautiful and breathtaking. We are going to Alaska again this summer and I could not be more excited!!
2. I am the oldest of five kids in my family with the youngest two being adopted from Russia, so I have learned to speak a little Russian.
3. I am a dog lover through and through! My family’s five year old black lab, Cocoa Bean, always keeps us on our toes.
Accepted: Where are you currently in med school? What year?
Carly: I am currently a third year medical student at The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) in Little Rock.
Accepted: Why did you choose this program? What is your favorite thing about that program? Is there anything you’d change?
Carly: I went to undergrad less than an hour away from UAMS and so our premed program was very involved with the school. I was always interested in how much the med students who came to talk with us really seemed to love being there. As the only medical school in the state, it is a decently sized school but still retains a hometown feel. I love how personable the professors and attendings are and how much they really care about the students doing well.
Over the past three years, my favorite thing about my school has been my classmates. After going through the same trials and experiences that are all a part of med school together, we have grown to become a very close-knit group.
The only slight problem we’ve had has been with our curriculum. We were the first class to go to a new curriculum format at our school so there have been a few kinks to work out, but I think a lot of these have been figured out in the last couple of years and I really think the new curriculum is greatly helping everyone learn better and more efficiently.
Accepted: What’s your favorite clerkship so far?
Carly: My favorite clerkship has been Pediatrics! I always thought I would like to specialize in pediatrics but wanted to be sure I actually really liked it before deciding. Luckily, I did! I love the cheerful and friendly atmosphere of a children’s hospital and really enjoy spending time with kids.
Accepted: Looking back at the application process, what would you say was your greatest challenge? How would you advise other applicants who may be experiencing similar challenges?
Carly: The greatest challenge for me definitely was writing my personal statement. I have always found it hard to talk about myself and so found it pretty difficult to write about what I had done as a premed.
Eventually, I started to shift my thinking more towards trying to express to whomever would read my personal statement why I was passionate about medicine and wanted to become a physician. I found this much easier to talk about and was able to share my heart on the paper.
Accepted: What’s your position on the recent petition to cancel the Step 2 CS?
Carly: I definitely understand the argument here. Not only is the test ridiculously expensive and inconvenient with having to travel to one of only five testing centers across the country, but it also is somewhat redundant to what many medical schools are doing already.
My school has a great clinical skills program and we have had many clinical skills exams during the past three years. All of them have been modeled exactly how CS is done with specific, individual feedback from both the standardized patients on our communication skills and from attendings and faculty on our clinical reasoning and approach.
I know that many medical schools also have their own internal clinical skills exams to test their students’ communication and clinical competence and feel that these are extremely helpful in regards to how much personal feedback can be given on this individual level.
Accepted: Can you tell us about your blog? Who is your target audience? What have you gained from the blog experience?
Carly: I started blogging during my junior year of undergrad. I was becoming overwhelmed with my upcoming research project, MCAT prep, application season, and so on, and was getting really stressed out. I started looking online for any tips and encouragement and then started getting the idea of making my own blog to share what I had (and was) learning on this journey to becoming a doctor.
At first, I didn’t feel qualified enough to share any advice or tips with others since I was just going through it myself, but I also wanted to have an outlet to share with others who might be going through the same thing.
I have loved blogging! I have been able to write about many topics from premed classes and the med school application process to more recently about my third year clerkships. While I haven’t been able to post and share as much as I would like, I have loved being able to reflect on and share my experiences with my audience. In the past year, I have really been getting into Instagram. I love how quick it is to share what I’m doing on a particular day and can share much more frequently than I am able to on my blog.
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