Up above is a picture of yours truly helping to ensure things go smoothly for Ladder 15 on NYE in Center City Philadelphia!

As a current student interviewer at DUCoM, I recently noticed that many people have asked for advice on how to get into a medical school.  What steps to take, what to do, and what not to do, etc.  While there is no clear cut answer to the questions I receive, there are some common trends that I’m willing to disclose… 

Myth:  Get PERFECT grades or you won’t get into med school.
Truth:  While a solid academic record is critical to med school, perfection isn’t.  I’ve spoken to many current med school students and their GPA wasn’t close to being perfect…yet they’re still here!  I was told as an undergrad that there was “no way in hell” that I would become a physician.  Well as Chris Brown once said, “Look at me now!”  If you’re GPA is anywhere from a 3.2 and up, I would say you stand a decent chance of being accepted SOMEWHERE.  With that being said, I had my fair share of rejection letters, but I feel as if they’re the ones missing out.  I came to medical school for one reason…to be the best doctor I can be.  All I needed was the opportunity!  

Myth:  Extracurriculars and shadowing can make up for bad grades.
Truth: The access to physicians willing to let you shadow them around may be limited in the area where you are studying.  Don’t let this scare you into thinking you have to shadow 500+ hours in order to show that you understand what it takes to be a physician.  I spent around 100 hours or so in a hospital shadowing a doctor.  I personally wanted to see what their entire day was like, so that meant early rounds, and staying until the end of the day.  One final point, if your extracurricular activities are taking away from your grades, then you are doing too much.  Learning how to juggle many things is obviously an important point but it’s also important to learn when to say “I can’t”.  
Myth: My MCAT is below a 30, I can’t possibly get into an MD school!
Truth: This might be a shocker for some of you “gunners” out there, but there is no proof that a higher MCAT score leads to more success in medical school.  In fact, studies have shown that if you scored between a 25 and 32, you have an equal chance for success once in school.  I personally scored a 26 on the MCAT and have had little trouble being successful in school.
Final points:  Don’t be afraid to be yourself.  Nothing is worse than interviewing someone that is telling me the things that they are “supposed” to say.  It’s incredibly obvious that it isn’t genuine.  If you’re weird, be weird, but don’t expect to get into a medical school.  If you can carry on a normal conversation, it means more than you would ever imagine.  I’m not big on talking about medicine when I’m interviewing.  I don’t care about your grades.  I don’t care how many hours you’ve spent in a lab doing research on rats, or how many pipettes you’ve calibrated.  I care about who you are and what you bring to the medical field.  If I wanted to work with people that were all exactly the same, I’d become Amish (don’t worry, they can’t read this, hah!).  Make sure you are unique.  We all are, just express it.  
I’ve had such a great time this past holiday break away from everything med school related. It was precisely what I needed to refuel and get pumped up for this next semester. As I sit waiting for my bus to NYC for a last weekend trip, I can’t help but think back on all the crazy little moments that have made this past year one of the best in recent memory. To name a few:  I met an amazing girl that I am lucky enough to call my girlfriend, I was accepted into medical school, finally received my white coat (which I wear with pride), and having my best friend’s bachelor party back home in Indiana. I can’t tell you how much seeing my old friends meant to me.  It’s hard to find where you’re going when you forget where you’ve been. To feeling happy, healthy, and on my way to something great.  

Cheers to 2013.

-A


This will all make perfect sense one day.


It’s been a long semester here at Drexel Med and with things coming to a close I wanted to take a short study break to reflect.  Throughout the past couple of months I have changed in ways that I never expected.  I’ve learned to live up to expectations of being looked upon as a professional, juggling many challenging courses at once, and maintaining a semi-normal social life.  There are ways, however, that I’ve changed that may be for the negative.  I’ve found myself looking deeper into situations that may not need any analyzing.  Checking facts, contradicting, offering up my opinion, etc.  Sometimes the easy way is to not say anything at all.  When you hear a story that is terribly upsetting, sometimes saying nothing in response is the only thing that you can do.  While interviewing patients this past semester I have gained an appreciation for just how lucky most of us have it.  When I think my life is too hard, I think of the numerous single mothers that can barely afford enough food for their children but still manage to put a smile on their face so their children know nothing is wrong… about the people suffering from addictions strong enough to drive them to sell everything they have for their next high but still will wish you a “Merry Christmas”… and for the sick and elderly facing death with a smile… People are resilient and when thinking of this, it gives me hope that I too can be as resilient.  To a semester filled with admiration for the profession, profound change, and an extreme lack of sleep…. I appreciate the opportunity.  
AL