Jonathan Acosta, MS2

Drexel University College of Medicine
From New Castle, PA
UCLA, B.S. Neuroscience
Age 23

What experiences throughout your life contributed the most to you wanting to go to medical school and pursue a career in medicine?

I’ve always wanted to build a skillset that will be valuable no matter how markets are behaving at particular times. For that reason, medicine is an incredible field in that we will constantly need physicians to take care of people. I don’t particularly want to practice for very long, rather I’m looking to transition into health care system development. The field of medicine is so broad, the MD affords people the flexibility to enter into any area which is strictly unique to medicine. Growing up, I’ve always wanted to make the biggest impact on my local community, and I chose medicine because of the vast number of ways that I can improve life wherever I’m living.

What does your typical day of medical school look like?

Wake up at 5:30 AM. Arrive to school at 6:00 AM. All of our lectures are podcasted, so I’ll just study in one of our study rooms until about 7:00 PM then head home.

How do your classes and lectures compare to those at your undergraduate institution?

They are pretty comparable. There will be a vast array of lecturers so it’s always difficult trying to organize studying. Most of our classes are podcasted, so the structure doesn’t matter a whole lot. Usually it’s just a ~50 minute lecture that has an accompanying set of notes. The main difference is just volume. Locking down time management will be very important for being successful, as they will give you many lectures every day that you’ll need to have completed within a much shorter amount of time than undergrad gave you.

How has your approach to learning and/or studying changed since you were an undergrad?

Not much. I’m a fan of group studying, so I found a group of 3 friends and formed a study group. We complete all of the materials on our own, then we discuss the material together to help lock down all the information we need to.

Looking back on when you were applying to medical schools and deciding which school was the best fit, what do you think are the most important things to learn about a medical school when you are deciding which school is right for you?

The biggest thing will be your classmates. You will be spending so much time studying, so having friends to go out and do some non-school stuff with is so important. When you get an interview at a school, try to get a feel to see if the people there are people you could see yourself hanging out with. It will definitely help keep stress low and make medical school a much better experience.

What do you consider to be unique about your medical school that has been valuable to you thus far?

They did teach us about business in health care concerning legislation, insurance, reimbursements, and many other aspects of the field. It definitely clears up a lot of the confusing nature of how it’s structured.

What organizations or activities are you involved in outside of your regular classwork?

Intramural sports. I am president of a several clubs. I hang out with friends on free weekends.

How has mentorship played a role in your medical school experience thus far? How has your medical school provided you guidance for your specific circumstances or interests?

It hasn’t played much of a role. My father was a physician so I had a pretty clear picture of what I was going into.

In retrospect, which classes in undergrad do you think were the most useful coming into medical school?

Neuroscience, biochemistry, physiology, and anatomy will definitely give you an edge coming into medical school.

How much does your unique background play into you being successful as a medical student?

I was a neuroscience major in undergrad, and I went straight through to medical school. Neuro is a huge percentage of the material in medical school, and its principles permeate throughout all the other systems too. Thus, I found that I had a pretty good picture/approach of how to attack learning the material.

What have you been most surprised to find out or realize about life in medical school since you started?

You’ll be surprised at how much you can learn and retain in a short amount of time. It’s pretty cool actually.

What is one way your outlook on medicine or understanding of medicine has changed in your time at medical school?

It’s definitely tough to just be in medicine for the pure desire to be a physician today. With so much debt, students are often forced to make their main priority salary, which is such a tough motivating factor to get you through medical school.

How would you describe the sense of community within your medical school class?

It’s pretty good. I have a large group of friends, and the atmosphere is very non-competitive which makes interacting with other students a good experience.

If a young undergraduate interested in applying to medical school came to you seeking advice about ‘which major is best,’ what would you tell them?

I’d tell them not to pick the easiest major. If there is a specialized major that can really teach you a lot concerning a specific area, go with that (neuro, physiological science, engineering also a very strong option).

What do you wish you had known as an undergraduate and/or as a student in the medical application process?

I wish I’d known how time-intensive secondaries were. In order to get them back promptly, it takes a ton of time especially if you applied to many schools.

What is one thing you would do differently if you could go back to your undergraduate years or the time between undergrad and medical school?

 I would’ve been an engineering major instead of a life science. Since I want to get into system development and more of the business side of medicine, it would’ve given me a much more unique perspective and skill set as a physician to drive innovative changes in the field.


Leave a Reply