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 Evan Kuhl…
Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad?
Evan: I’m from Louisville, KY and went to Bellarmine University for undergrad, where I received a BA in biology with a chemistry minor. Bellarmine is unique in that they offer an undergraduate gross anatomy course which does an excellent job in preparing students for medical school gross anatomy courses. The Bellarmine University biology department works hard to make sure students going on to medical school are very well prepared, and I found many of my undergraduate books to be the same ones recommended for my medical school courses.
Accepted: What year are you at University of Louisville School of Medicine?
Evan: I’m currently a fourth year med student.
Accepted: What is your favorite thing about your program? And if you could change one thing about the program, what would it be?
Evan: My favorite part of Louisville is the people. The faculty, administration, and support staff are always great to work with. It’s not uncommon for faculty to roam the library to answer questions, stay late to explain a concept, and provide detailed study guides for complex material.
During my first two years of med school my biggest complaint was our study space; the building had not been renovated in many years, but they have actually just finished renovating the entire school with more modern lecture halls, really nice group study rooms and a new student lounge.
Accepted: Can you share some advice to incoming first year students, to help make their adjustment to med school easier? What do you wish you would have known at that point in time?
Evan: My biggest piece of advice is to start off studying more than you think you need to. After the first test, re-evaluate your study habits and decide what is working best.
At the same time, make sure you still have time for non-med school activities; running, hobbies, etc. You’ll study better if you’re able to keep up with your normal stress-relieving activities.
I wish someone had stressed to me the importance of learning the material by understanding, not just memorizing. If you learn material through understanding the process/pathway/ physiology, you’re more likely to remember it for later tests, such as Step 1 and Step 2. Everything you learn in your first two years you will need later, so take the time to learn it well the first time.
Accepted: How important do you think pre-med clinical experience is? What sorts of clinical experiences did you have before med school and how did they contribute to your decision to attend med school?
Evan: Pre-med clinical experiences are extremely important to me. As an undergrad student, I worked in EMS and in a local ER as a tech. I spent a lot of time working with care providers and providing care directly. Although I had already decided I wanted to attend med school, this type of work definitely solidified that decision. Anyone thinking about attending med school needs to have more than just a few hours of shadowing before really deciding to pursue medicine.
When it came time first and second year to learn basic exam techniques, interview skills, and practice basic patient interactions I was far ahead of the game. This carried over into third and ever fourth year, as I was much more at ease working with patients and staff. I also had hands-on shadowing experience which made me much more comfortable placing IVs, suturing wounds, and other simple tasks that can help streamline patient care and make more time for teaching.
Accepted: Did you go straight from college to med school? Or did you take time off?
Evan: I did go straight from college into medical school at an allopathic program. Looking at how competitive many residencies are becoming (with increasing numbers of competitive international and osteopathic students applying) I would recommend trying to not have any lapses in your education timeline.
Although having a year off to backpack through Europe sounds attractive, I would probably try to fit it in your summer before.
If you do find yourself stuck with a year off between application cycles, I would recommend getting some research or work experience, or finding a masters program that could help fill your resume.
Accepted: Looking back, what was the most challenging aspect of the med school admissions process? How did you approach that challenge and overcome it?
Evan: Neither of my parents are physicians, and I had little to no interaction with the medical community before med school, so just learning how to apply and what was expected of a applicant was the hardest part. I spent a lot of time online during my freshman year of college trying to figure out how to become a competitive candidate.
For me, it was important to layout the next three years into a plan, with goals along the way. I made sure I had all the required classes, research, and community projects I felt were important. Even before you are close to the admissions deadline, be sure to take a step back and evaluate yourself from an outside perspective.
Be sure to reach out to your professors as well, they usually have a keen since of what you should be doing.
Accepted: Do you have any other advice for our med school applicant readers?
Evan: Don’t forget to live. Medical school may be a major part of how you define yourself, but don’t forget about your family, friends, and the rest of the real world. You’ll be working hard and spending most of your time between books and wards, but it’s important to find a balance. I’ve found it’s easier to study and do well when I find time to go for a bike ride or not skip that family gathering.
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You can follow Evan’s adventure by checking out his website, evankuhl.com. Thank you Evan 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.
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