By Chelsea Travers
Five interviews. Five acceptances at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Rocky Vista University, Midwestern University in Arizona and Illinois. Later, I received an interview invite to Penn State, but declined the interview. How should one feel after they accomplish the one thing that will lead to their dream job? I’ve made it through the insecurity of high school, the self-discovery of undergrad, and to the large mountain called medical school. I’ve been accepted, which means… I only have four of the hardest years of my life ahead of me. Thinking about it reminds me of the Queen in Snow White. If all she wanted was youth, she should have hooked up with a premed.
I now have 6 months until med school starts to make up for all the sacrifice and stress that seemed to reign over my undergraduate years. So, I’ve ended my life of premed academic dedication, pierced my cartilage, skied 3-4 days a week, rock climbed, traveled, stayed up late, went to bed early, read books that have NOTHING to do with school, watched the Olympics, traveled, thanked the people who have stood by my side, and made new friends.
However, I’m not out of the woods yet. You would think that once you’ve been accepted that all that paperwork and email checking would be done. But after working so hard, you don’t want to forget to read the fine print or not sign any forms. Since my acceptances, schools have asked me to get shots, stain my fingers black for background checks, check my credit, fix my credit, sign my life away (kinda) by promising to go to their schools, fill out paperwork about unfulfilled academic credits and financial aid, and of course, send more money. Skipping anything could risk losing my spot. So until May 15, the universal decision day, I will continue to balance the requests from the schools I have decided would be a good fit for me and until August, I will live life to the fullest.
In an attempt to look for the school that will assemble me into the best physician I can be, I’ve tried making pro/con lists, talking to medical students, spoke with current physicians, compared tuitions, and confided in close friends. I had a few criteria that I looked for in the schools making my final-cut list:
- Small class size: This is something I have come to appreciate in my education thus far. Most medical schools range in the 100-250 person class range. However, there is one school that had 70 medical students, which allows for more one-on-one professor time, but a smaller dating pool. Additionally, is there a group-based learning emphasis in the curriculum?
- Many opportunities for hands-on clinic time: I wanted to know that if I had the time, I could leave the textbooks and lecture materials behind and interact with patients. Then, I could remember why I went in medical school and see what population I enjoyed working with or cases I gravitated toward.
- Systems-based curriculum: Learning in this integrated way just makes sense to me.
- Environment: When I have the opportunity to go for a hike, run, ski day, etc. I want to be able to have the landscape to do so.
- Opportunities for rotating: Where are students rotating? Are the sites near to campus or far away? Where do students end up usually (geographic)?
- How did I feel when I was there? Did I like the students and faculty? What was the school’s mojo?
These may be inadequate points of comparison. However, at the end of the day, every medical school is challenging and difficult and makes doctors.
Thank you all for joining me on this journey. This blog has enabled me to share all my experiences with you lovely readers, and allowed me to reflect on my own accomplishments. I wish you all the best of success on your chosen paths, and may the odds be ever in your favor for the medical school Hunger Games showdown.
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