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 Andi…
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?
Andi: I am from Tulsa, OK. I went to Oklahoma Baptist and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Biology in 2014. Cookies and cream is my favorite ice cream by far!
Accepted: Where are you currently in med school? What year?
Andi: I am a first year at Oklahoma State College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Accepted: What’s your favorite thing about med school? Least favorite thing?
Andi: Oh, gosh that’s hard. Medical school is such a difficult, unique, and rewarding experience – from the vast amounts of information I’m taking in to the bonds I’m forming with my classmates – it’s hard but I love it. I just love the day-to-day. I love waking up in the morning, looking at my white coat hanging in my closet, and then heading to class to learn how to become the best physician I can be. My least favorite part is the tests, of course! I get really bad test anxiety, no matter how well I prepared.
Accepted: Why did you decide to go straight from college to med school? How did you spend your summer break in between?
Andi: Going straight into medical school was always my plan, provided I got in. I know people that wanted to travel first, get married, or take advantage of a great opportunity for their year off, but I wasn’t like that. So, I applied my senior year of college and got in!
Over the summer between, I honestly just relaxed. I didn’t have a job. I took a road trip with just my best friend and I. I worked out when I wanted, slept when I wanted, went through several entire series on Netflix (oops!), and spent a lot of time with friends and family. It was nice to treat myself that summer. I felt like during undergraduate summers, I was always doing something to boost my application.
Accepted: Now that you’re well into your first year of med school, can you talk about your transition to med school? Is med school what you thought it would be like? Any surprises?
Andi: Transitioning was fast and furious! You really have to hit the ground running! It’s a lot more in-class and lab time than my undergraduate class load was, which I didn’t expect. It was hard to get used to not being able to take 2 or 3 evenings off on homework/studying during the week. I am literally studying from right after lab or class until 11 every night. It’s really difficult to maintain that pace and stay motivated to do the things that I really enjoy- like running, shopping, and cooking. After days like that, even when I do have free time, I just want to sleep. That was really surprising; I thought I would be able to make the most of my free time and recharge by doing the things I love. But, more often than not, recharging involves a nap. That was hard to get used to, because I like to stay busy.
Accepted: Do you have advice for next year’s incoming class? What do you wish you would’ve known before starting school?
Andi: There’s nothing you can do to really prepare academically, so I would say just take it as easy as possible before you matriculate.
Other than that, I wish I had streamlined a lot of little things before going in. I found that I needed to reserve all the time and brain space possible. For example, it helps to buy extra toothpaste, deodorant, chapstick, and stockpile easy on-the-go snacks. I bookmarked my bills’ websites on my computer’s browser to make it faster and easier to pay my bills. Another small but helpful thing was to buy a couple extra phone chargers, so that there’s one in my car, one at home, and one in my backpack. That way I don’t have to remember to grab it every morning on my way to school. These may sound like odd little tips, but it adds up. I also plan my meals, pack workout clothes and pick out my outfit the night before so that I don’t have to scramble. Plus, it makes me more likely to eat healthy and workout!
Accepted: What’s your favorite class so far?
Andi: I absolutely love my osteopathic manipulation class! This is the class that sort of classically distinguishes us from allopathic medicine, but I like it because it actually makes me feel like a doctor. So much of the first two years is just class work, but in this class we partner up and practice techniques on each other to help with muscle aches, headaches, sinus problems, and things like that.
Accepted: Do you have any pre-med clinical experience? How important (or unimportant) do you feel this early exposure is to med students?
Andi: Yes, I did a lot of shadowing when I was a pre-med. I switched back and forth between two doctors that I really got along with at a family clinic in my hometown. It’s important because you get to see what being a doctor is really like. There’s a lot of work – and an entire business side to medicine that you just don’t get to see when you are only there as a patient.
Shadowing was eye-opening for me. Medicine isn’t all just curing and helping people all the time. It has frustrating aspects from a healthcare provider’s standpoint too. I think it’s good to see those things before you apply, that way you know if medicine is really for you! I also found a free clinic that lets pre-meds take patients into their exam rooms, take their vitals, and then shadow the physician. Any kind of clinical experience gives you a leg up on your peers, because you are being exposed to terminology, asking questions, and networking all at once.
Accepted: Can you share your top 3 med school admissions tips with our applicant readers?
1. Don’t get discouraged by comparing your application to others! It can be daunting to read all the required scores and stats for med school entry. Just know that you’re already on your way, and there are so many ways to get into medical school. Some people have the numbers some people have the heart.
2. Find people that are going through it too. It helps to chat with and get tips from other people who know how hard it really is.
3. Make your personal statement personal. Some have had kids and other careers before they got into medicine. Some have had a serious illness that brought them into medicine. Some do research and find they like medicine. Your personal statement should tell a unique and personal story of how you know you’re supposed to be a physician.
Accepted: Can you tell us about your blog? When and why did you start blogging? What have you gained from the experience?
Andi: My blog, www.doonthego.me, is something I started for a few reasons. First off, I’ve always loved writing and have kept a journal for a long time. Secondly, through the process of researching medical schools, I kept stumbling upon blogs and found that people were supportive and offered good insights. Reading real stories of people trying their hardest to succeed in such a grueling process was really valuable to me! I wanted to be a part of the blogging community, and give a personal, honest narrative about getting into medical school and what medical school is like.
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You can follow Andi’s adventure by checking out her blog, D.O. On The Go. Thank you Andi for sharing your story with us!
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