UCLA, B.S. Biochemistry
Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, MS3
From Orange County, CA
What does your typical day of medical school look like?
During 3rd year, my typical day varies widely depending on the rotation and site. I may spend most of my day in the OR, do inpatient floor work, or see patients in an outpatient clinic. We have classes scattered throughout each rotation and we are excused from clinical duties to attend them. Each service will also have teaching conferences that students attend with their team.
How do your classes and lectures compare to those at your undergraduate institution?
During MS1/2, our classes include both typical big lecture style classes and small group work, including PBL (problem-based learning) and other formats. Compared to my big public undergrad experience, my classes in medical school were far more interactive and personal.
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?
Location was a big factor. I knew I wanted to experience living in a big city, and I really liked Chicago when I visited. Other things to consider are logistics like convenience, transportation, cost of living, etc. While aspects of the curriculum are important, it’s hard to know what you prefer until you actually experience it, so for me, as long as there was some flexibility in the curriculum, these other factors were more important.
Can you give us a brief description of the area surrounding your school? What are some things you like and dislike about the city/town you are located in as a student?
Living in Chicago has been an incredible experience. I love the convenience of living in a big city without it being prohibitively expensive, and Chicago is such a fun city. Being from California, I was warned by many people about the winters here, but I actually don’t mind them. My only complaint is that it is very urban, and I definitely miss landscapes and hiking in my free time.
What organizations or activities are you involved in outside of your regular classwork? Additionally, are there any organizations that you think are unique to your school?
During my first two years, I volunteered at student-run free clinics throughout the city. Chicago has so many unique neighborhoods and working at these free clinics is a great opportunity to work with different under-served communities.
How well have you been able to develop clinical skills alongside your classroom work first and second year? What does your institution do to help you develop clinical skills before the clinical years?
Students are exposed to clinical environments pretty early on; we have preceptorships and education-centered medical homes (ECMHs) twice a month from the beginning of medical school. These settings are typically in a primary care clinic. ECMHs are spread over 4 years, so you can also learn from students who are in classes above you. We also have separate teaching sessions with standardized patients throughout the first two years to build clinical skills.
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?
As long as you complete the pre-med requirements, there is no best major, and you will be taught what you need to know in medical school anyway. But personally I think it would be tough to complete pre-med requirements if there was no overlap with your major, so I’d still recommend picking a major where pre-med requirements will also satisfy major requirements.
What is your favorite event of the year put on by your medical school? Tell us a little bit about it.
In Vivo is our student-run annual sketch comedy show. The production quality is awesome and I love seeing how talented my classmates are. I love sketch comedy in general and In Vivo always promises a solid night of laughs.
What do you wish you had known as an undergraduate and/or as a student in the medical application process?
Now being on the other side, the whole process has faded into a distant memory. I remember being stressed out at the time but I don’t remember much beyond that. To those currently applying and feeling stressed, it will get better, I promise!