Super Star Blogs!

Congratulations to Stephanie! Premed of the Week!

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.  Hi! My name is Stephanie Nelson, and I live in Honolulu, Hawaii. I grew up in Neenah, Wisconsin, and as soon as I turned 18 I moved to Callahan, Florida with my Dad. I eventually moved to South Carolina, Missouri, and then Hawaii on my own. I love to travel, and I am very grateful for the opportunities that allowed me to do so.
I am currently a sophomore at the University of Hawaii at Manoa studying Biology and Life Sciences. In my free time I volunteer at the local hospital and with a equine therapy group for special needs children, but I love to sit on the beach and read a good book, or hike the trails many here.

2. Who was your favorite teacher in school and how did he or she impact you?  My favorite teacher in school was my freshman chemistry teacher, Mr. Clark. On our first day of class, he walked into class and showed us a variety of chemical reactions that included setting one of the lab benches on fire. Over the course of the semester, he taught the class in such a way that showed me how science could be fascinating and a useful resource to understanding the world around you. He was also an advocate for us to seek out our passions, rather than things that are just hobbies. I remembered that when I started to apply for college which caused me to think and research about my academic goals longer than I would have, leading me to the Natural Science bachelors degree.

3. When did you first decide you wanted to become a doctor and why?   My passion for medicine stems from my long involvement with doctors, hospitals, and clinics. I was what most people would call a clumsy child; in truth, it was carelessness leading to a plethora of ear infections, stomach bugs, and bruises. When I was eight, I ran head first into the bike rack hanging off of the back of my father’s camper. I remember hearing a sharp crack and falling to the concrete sidewalk in front of the garage before I recognized my head was in a considerable amount of pain. I noticed by the droplets of blood that had fallen to the sidewalk, as well as the streaks down my glasses and face. It was my third emergency room visit that year, and even at that age, I remember being fascinated with the nurses and doctors rushing around with great purpose. A nurse came to lead us back to the bed; there she took my vitals and I watched with curiosity, but I was scared. I didn’t know why I felt so cold, or why my fingertips were numb, or why my stomach hurt so badly. I know, now, that is due to the amount of blood I lost. My doctor came in and introduced herself as Doctor Snow. She calmly sat down, and asked me what happened. I told her the story and she laughed warmly while commenting that our eyes are in the front to watch where we are going. My step mom loved that comment and she shot me a look. Doctor Snow began cleaning the wound, which ended up being fifteen stitches above my brow bone, and explained everything she was doing. She answered every question I chucked at her, and believe me, I had a lot of questions. I asked everything from “What are you doing now?” to “How did you learn that?” To this day, I still remember her and that interaction, how she was able to calm me down without me realizing it, and how the way she cared so much about my treatment and the science behind it gave me a deeper desire to do the same

4. What area of medicine are you interested in?  Right now, I am interested in pediatrics because I absolutely adore kids and I get along with them really well. I am leaning towards surgery because I like the challenge of working against the clock (so to speak) to solve the puzzle of improving your patients quality of life. However, I am still in the early stages of my medical journey so I understand that may change, but I know for sure I want to work with children in some regard.

5. What’s the coolest experience you’ve had so far on your premedical journey?  The coolest experience I have had so far on my premedical journey was when I assisted in helping with the Teen Health Camp that the medical school here runs. I was able to assist with kids learning how to take vital signs, make plaster casts, and many other things. The coolest part about it was watching the joy on the faces of the kids as they learned more about the medical field, learning more about it myself, and, being able to answer questions and help ease the minds of the kids who want to follow the same path that I am currently on. However, a close second was practicing doing sutures on pigs feet.

 

6. What is your favorite book? My favorite book is a Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. I love this book because it does a great job of explaining answers to questions most people have about the creation of the universe and the universe itself in a way that it’s easy to comprehend.

7. Tell us one thing interesting about you that most people don’t know.  I really enjoy hiking, and one day I hope to be able to hike the Appalachian Trail, either fully or partially. My next big hike is the Na Pali Coast trail on Kauai, but that won’t be for another year yet.

8. If you couldn’t be a doctor, what would you want to do? I would want to be a veterinarian because I love animals. It was a hard choice for me on whether I was going to pursue medicine for people or medicine for animals, but I chose medicine for people because I receive more fulfillment and feel I can do more good as a medical doctor.

9. What has been your biggest obstacle as a premed and how did you (or are you) overcome it? My biggest obstacle has been time management because I work full time, go to school full time, and have my extra curriculars on the side like volunteering, shadowing, and clubs. I tested a lot of options, but the one that was most beneficial to me was having a student planner type app on my phone where I am able to input not only my school schedule but my other commitments as well. I use an app called iStudiez Pro, but there are a bunch of really good ones out there like Google Calendar.

10. What do you like most about PreMed STAR? I like being able to connect with other Pre-Medical students and see what their personal journey is. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone, and that I have a community I can reach out to if I have any questions.

5 Extracurricular Activities to Consider

Week 23 of the PreMed Mondays book covers covers 5 extracurricular activities to consider. Extracurriculars are critical to your success as a premed. There are tons to choose from. This episode will touch on 5 key ones.

Remember to register for our upcoming webinar with Dean Quinn Capers from Ohio State University School of Medicine. Click the link below

zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_hznA-7c7RhimGaHp7EGF0Q

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Attention premeds, join thousands of premedical students networking and sharing resources for free at www.PreMedSTAR.com.

Why I Love Colorado University School of Medicine

Hey y’all! On today’s episode of The PreMed Voice, we are hearing about the University of Colorado School of Medicine from Nick Arlas. Nick is in his third year of medical school, and he is sharing all the amazing opportunities and things he loves about CU. You are not going to want to miss this one!

If you’re a premed, we’d love to have you on our show.  Send us an email at Voice@PreMedSTAR.com with your name, the link to your PreMedSTAR.com profile page, and the topic you’ll be discussing.  We’re looking for personal stories (struggles, humor, and successes), premed tips, and anything else you think is worthwhile!

Please remember to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Google.

**Premeds, join our online community of thousands of future doctors at www.PreMedSTAR.com.

The Wave

Woosh!!! And the wave lands on the shore, spreading out its glory in all whites. In some way, it defies gravity to make this powerful move. It rose above the force of nature while maintaining its form.

I like to think that we humans live in a semi-liquid space, undulating in and out of moments until we reach our destination. There are moments of joy, sadness, fear, worry, disappointments, and absolute perfection. When we slide into any positive moment, we get caught up. We want more of it. We want to remain there, revel in the source of joy, relish all its fruits, become sated and repeat this cycle all over again. Surprisingly, when we slide into negative moments, we get caught up as well. We certainly do not want more of it, but we have the tendency of wanting to drown in it. We don’t want to remain there, but hopelessness forces us to stay put. We do not want to revel in the source of problems, but we become the vessel that houses the source, and we keep producing all these negative fruits until we slip into depression. How do we navigate this semi-liquid space? I say be like the wave.

When you have risen through the ladders of success, when you have decked the entire shelf with awards and honors, when you attain all that you have ever dreamed of, it is important to remain grounded to avoid getting caught up. The wave generates its force from the bottom, if it loses touch, it will fall. This force comes from the rest of the water body. This water body can be likened to our family, friends, faith and support system in general. It is only the force of many that lift an individual. So, it is important to stay connected to those at the bottom, as that connection will only propel you forward and help you when you slide into a contrasting moment.

Similarly, sometimes we find ourselves in a puddle of disappointments, faced with rejections, scared of uncertainty, or even worse, lose hope in ourselves and our endeavors. There’s a cliched statement that says the only way from rock bottom is up. This could not be truer. When the wave touches the shore, it does not stop. Another force is generated. Then another. Then another. Each time, it spreads out a little further. Each time it makes a different landing. Like the wave, you have to be flexible and spontaneous. Yes, the only way from rock bottom is up. But there are so many ways to get up. You might have your eyes fixated on one path to your destination that you eschew other paths as irrelevant or not walkable. Remember that to soar, you have to spread your wings. Generate thousands of positive thoughts within your mind, reach out to those who can help you, bury your fears in the sand and be brave enough to do it again and again, quit holding on to the negativities that are behind or beneath you, stay in touch with yourself and believe in your abilities, and you will see yourself rise as a force to be reckoned with.

It is not going to be all butterflies and sunny. There are going to be up and down moments. There are going to be uncertainties, fears, and skepticisms. We are all aware of that. So, it is important to remind ourselves that our attitude towards these moments determines its impacts and outcomes. Undulate freely through this space with a mind of your own, with an entrenched vision, with an unrelenting determination, and with a flexible strategy. Don’t wait to reach the light at the end of the tunnel to be happy, capture the light and move forward in your path, just like the wave!

5 Ways to Use Office Hours Wisely

Week 22 of the PreMed Mondays book covers covers 5 ways to use office hours wisely.  It’s amazing how much benefit comes from this simple task. Don’t believe it…just give it a try.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR  OUR NEXT WEBINAR WITH A DEAN!

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Attention premeds, join thousands of premedical students networking and sharing resources for free at www.PreMedSTAR.com.

Congratulations to Madison! Premed of the Week!

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.  Hi, my name is Madison Francis and I’m a first year student at Santa Fe College. I am majoring in Microbiology. I am just starting my premedical journey and I am eager to continue and build experience!

2. Who was your favorite teacher in school and how did he or she impact you?  My favorite teacher in high school was my chemistry teacher. Before my sophomore year in high school, I moved across the country. That year was difficult for me because I had to adjust to a new curriculum and get to know my atmosphere. My chemistry teacher understood that I was a new student and I was also an athlete, hence she helped me keep up with my studies. I would often visit her classroom during my lunch and she would offer me extra help to better understand the material. She allowed me to realize that I can learn difficult subjects even when I am busy and in an atmosphere I am not used to. This will later help me as I continue my premedical journey so that I will continue to learn and succeed in new environments and areas of rigorous studies.

3. When did you first decide you wanted to become a doctor and why? In the 2nd semester of my senior year in high school, my father was diagnosed with a rare form of bladder cancer. He mentioned that his biopsy was being sent to labs and we were waiting to hear back from pathologists. I did not know what pathology was and I began to look into the medical field when I heard the term. I realized that I wanted to involve myself in research and become involved with patients. Before realizing this, I could not find a career field that felt right for me. I was considering biomedical engineering, but I was not sure if engineering was what I wanted to do. Fortunately, my father is cancer free, and I know that I aspire to become a doctor.

4. What area of medicine are you interested in? I am interested in many areas of medicine. I grew up with eczema and dry skin and I was always looking into ways to treat and care for my skin, so I would love to consider dermatology. Additionally, I am a very detail oriented person and enjoy solving problems, so I am interested in pathology. However, there are many areas in medicine I have not been exposed to, so I may pursue an area I have yet to learn about.

5. What’s the coolest experience you’ve had so far on your premedical journey? The coolest experience I have had so far on my premedical journey was attending the AMSA PreMed Fest at USF. I learned a lot about the process to apply and become a good candidate for medical school. I am early on my premedical journey so I do not have much experience yet, and I am genuinely excited to continue and enter the field.

6. What is your favorite book?  My favorite book is Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. I read this book in my senior year of high school and enjoyed annotating the book. My class discussed the ethics of Frankenstein creating new life and studied why the creation behaved the way he did. I had a positive experience studying this book and recommend reading it.

7. Tell us one thing interesting about you that most people don’t know. I was a gymnast for 9 years and I can still perform several skills.

8. If you couldn’t be a doctor, what would you want to do? If I couldn’t be a medical doctor, I would want to get a PhD and research. I enjoy research and medicine alike, so I am currently aiming for an MD-PhD. Therefore, a PhD will be my first choice if I don’t become an MD.

9. What has been your biggest obstacle as a premed and how did you (or are you) overcome it?  My biggest obstacle as a premed has been balancing my time and making time for myself. Personally, I perform my best when I stay busy; however, it was challenging to find balance so that I can excel in academics, extracurricular stuff, and also take care of myself and find time to hang with friends and go to the gym. I’ve been able to do this by having a consistent schedule every week and having a few supportive friends who are also pre-professionals, since they are also just as busy and understand what it’s like.

10. What do you like most about PreMed STAR?  PreMed Star is a unique tool and I like the convenience of it. There are many beneficial resources all in one place and it makes me feel more focused. It allows me to monitor my progress and create a resume with encouragement from others and articles and webinars to watch.  I like the mentorship and close-knit community that PreMed STAR offers. PreMed STAR offers guidance through articles, webinars, posts, and connections, and I love that it’s all in the same place.

 

 

 

 

PreMed of the Week Jan 8, 2018

PreMed of the Week Nov 12,2018

The Psychology of the Med School Interview

This is not your standard blog about interviews. I am not about to write to you about what to say and not say or what to wear or not wear. Those can be found in other blogs (here and here). I want to focus on the things nobody tells you about these interviews. This blog is not for only those applying this cycle but it is for every premed since it is best to begin using these techniques right now.

Think about this for a second… If only 7% of all communication is verbal, why do we spend so much time on what we say for the interview? 93% of all communication is non-verbal, with 38% of that coming from the tone of your voice and the other 55% stemming from your body language. I’m not saying not to work on what you will say, but let’s also master the non-verbal. The cool thing about this is that it applies to all your conversations even if you are not yet interviewing for medical school. As I interact with patients on a daily basis, I use many of these same techniques.

The subconscious is very powerful. Use it to your advantage!

The truth is that every single one of you will walk into your interview at an advantage or disadvantage before you even utter a word. Your name, your gender, your race, your physique, and your smell will create a subconscious bias to the fairest of interviewers. You may be digging yourself out of a hole even before you introduce yourself or may be attempting to meet high expectations. Simply by being invited for this interview, your interviewer most likely already assumes you are bright. Every interviewee should want to leave the interviewer with 3 thoughts about you:

Here are areas you must capitalize on that will highly influence your likability with the interviewer.

1. The Handshake: One of your first subconscious messages will be sent in a handshake. I highly recommend against shaking your interviewer like President Trump and many other politicians. They often exhibit signs of dominance in their greetings. There are 3 main type of handshakes (firm, dominating/crushing, or passive/dead fish). The firm handshake is what you are going for here. The shake should be firm but match your interviewer’s grip and last roughly 1-2 seconds while you stare them in their eyes. You don’t want to crush their hands or shake while placing the second hand over theirs. This is a domineering sing. You also do not want to come across intimidated or passive with a weak, loose handshake.

2. Posture: This one is the one many of us miss out on. When standing, you want to appear comfortable with hands to your sides and not in your pockets or on your hips. Walk at a brisk pace towards the front of the group during tours. While seated, I recommend sitting straight and slightly leaned forward. Open your body up. Do not cross your legs or arms. Do not slouch. Do not fidget around. You want to relay confidence, openness, and an engaging personality.

3. Hand Gestures: Your hands can be amazing tools to wow your interviewer with. Remember, showing your palms is a good thing. This historically has been a sign of openness and honesty showing others your are unarmed. Touching your palm or palms to your chest is a sign of sincerity and shows you are passionate about what you are saying. Clasping your hands or touching your fingertips together with the thumbs forming a steeple can be viewed as a sign that you are confident in what you are saying. Do not tap or wiggle your fingers, hide your hands, cross your arms, pop your knuckles, point with your finger, face your palms downwards, continually touch or pick at your face, or overuse your gestures. And of course, make sure your gestures are not stiff and actually match your words.

4. Mirroring: This is huge. People tend to like and trust others who behave like them. We are very tribal and tend to gravitate towards others who fit in our circles. Many of us do this subconsciously as is. It is good to pick up on mannerisms and behaviors your interviewer is using and occasionally incorporate them in your communication later in your discussion. You must practice this technique as it needs to be smooth and subtle. You should not mirror negative actions and you must not get distracted.

5. Eye Contact: We’ve all been in conversation with someone who gave us the creeps simply from their stare or others who come of as timid simply from staring at their shoes. Some believe you can peer into one’s soul through their eyes. Appropriate eye contact will speak to your confidence, attentiveness, respect and self-esteem. I know it can be very intimidating to stare directly into your interviewer’s eyes. If this is the case you may feel better staring at their forehead or nose. It is important to keep this natural as possible so do not stare but instead take brief breaks. Allow your eyes to light up when you are speaking about something you or the interviewer are passionate about.

So there you have it. These are non-verbal actions that can significantly impact your chances of getting into medical school. This is a huge reason why some students who appear less accomplished academically will be selected over others. If done right, your interviewer will be running out of the interview room in a good mood ready to tell his or her colleagues how they just met the most amazing candidate. Start practicing these with your friends. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you have any other non-verbal interview tips?

The future of Medicine – Audio Blogs with Aishat Motolani


Hey y’all! Sometimes in this crazy world and on this crazy premedical journey, we forget to be thankful for all the simple things in life. We all have an amazing opportunity to become the next generation of doctors, but we must not forget to be humble. On this week’s episode Aishat Motolani will be reminding us of just that. Enjoy the show.

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If you’re a premed, we’d love to have you on our show.  Send us an email at Voice@PreMedSTAR.com with your name, the link to your PreMedSTAR.com profile page, and the topic you’ll be discussing.  We’re looking for personal stories (struggles, humor, and successes), premed tips, and anything else you think is worthwhile!

Please remember to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Google.

**Premeds, join our online community of thousands of future doctors at www.PreMedSTAR.com.

Discipline Becomes Habit!


Week 21 of the PreMed Mondays book covers covers the concept of discipline!  Premedical students often ask the question, “Am I smart enough to become a medical doctor?”  That’s the wrong question to ask.  Rather they should be asking if they are disciplined enough to become a doctor.  The key to understand about being disciplined is that initially it is very tough to maintain, however with time, that discipline becomes habit and feels natural to you.

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Attention premeds, join thou

Congratulations to Ruth! Premed of the Week!

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Hello! My name is Ruth Amaku, and I’m currently a graduate student at the UT Health School of Public Health working on a Masters in Epidemiology with a concentration in Global Health. My goal is to apply to medical school upon completion of my program in 2019 with aims to begin my medical school journey in 2020.

Although I was born and raised in Houston, my roots are in Nigeria where I spent about two years from 2007-2009 residing in Port Harcourt and attending boarding school. My time in Nigeria was challenging to say the least but extremely fruitful as I not only learned more about my culture, but I also gained an interest in malaria transmission. I hope to return to Nigeria in the future to treat those affected by malaria and conduct research on effective control practices.

2. Who was your favorite teacher in school and how did he or she impact you? Dr. Wright, my Anatomy and Physiology II professor definitely had the most significant impact on me thus far. I took her course during my 2nd gap year when I was somewhat unsure about whether my journey to medical school would ever become a reality. On syllabus day, Dr. Wright had each person introduce themselves and include the profession they were pursuing. She must have caught a hint of uncertainty in my voice when I said “medical school” because after class, she pulled me aside explained I was not alone. She discussed moments of doubt concerning whether she would reach her ultimate aspirations within the field of medicine. Her goal was to open a free clinic in Galveston but had not due to one circumstance after the next. However, she stressed that she never ceased to give up on her dreams because having the ability to persevere through obstacles is apart of any journey we may face.

3. When did you first decide you wanted to become a doctor and why?  As a child, I always had an interest in the colorful pages filled with a variety of diseases in the pathology textbooks my mother used during her lectures. Years later when I understood many of those pages outlined the association with vectors and their effects on their human host, I knew my interests as a child unknowingly centered around infectious diseases. Fast forward to today, I’m working on my master’s in public health in epidemiology with a concentration in global health with hopes to address the burden of infectious disease like malaria on populations and in doing so, treating individuals affected by these diseases.

Additionally, I worked on an oncology care unit for a year and a half after college as a patient services coordinator. During my daily interactions with patients and their family members, listening to their unique stories, and providing any assistance within my capability to serve as a positive contribution during their time in the hospital further solidified my purpose and passion for improving the well-being of patients through the practice of medicine.

4. What area of medicine are you interested in? With my experiences thus far, my interests are widespread. As a track and field athlete during undergrad, I was attracted to specialties related to sports medicine like orthopedic surgery and physical medicine and rehabilitation. My graduate studies in the field of epidemiology reintroduced me to the world of infectious diseases and global health and shifted my focus there. Currently, I work at a cancer institution which most recently sparked my interest in oncology. As you can see, there is not a particular area I’m leaning towards at the moments, but once I’m in medical school, I’m sure I’ll narrow it down or possibly find a specialty that encompasses all three.

5. What’s the coolest experience you’ve had so far on your premedical journey? Coolest experience hands down would be the very first time I observed a surgery in the operating room. I was shadowing an orthopedic surgeon at the time and the surgery scheduled was a total knee replacement using a titanium implant. From the initial incision, I was captivated by the surgeon’s skills, attention to detail, and confidence while conducting this complex surgery. As the procedure continued, I was enthralled by the restructuring of each portion of the knee using implants handpicked to fit and reproduce the function of the parts they replaced. Finally, near the conclusion of the surgery when the physician manipulated and rotated the knee in every possible way to ensure the tibial and femoral components were working appropriately, I realized this was the most remarkable event I had ever witnessed couldn’t wait until my next moments in the OR.

6. What is your favorite book?  Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. It was the first time in a long time I found myself so intrigued and entranced by the contents of a novel that I had a hard time putting it down!

7. Tell us one thing interesting about you that most people don’t know. I recently got into 3D designing and printing as a hobby. My local library began offering an Intro to 3D Printing class, and I decided to check it out since I basically live in the library on most days. The class discussed the history of 3D printing, the unique applications of 3D printing today, and how to use websites, like Tinkercad, to create your own designs. Interestingly enough, through this class, I learned about bioprinting, the formation of extremely realistic artificial vessels, organs, and bones that can be used for medical testing and training. Although my current experience limits me to creating simpler objects like keychains and iPhone accessories, I’d love to learn more about the steps involved in bioprinting and observe this process being carried out.

8. If you couldn’t be a doctor, what would you want to do? Anyone who knows me knows I love 2 things: HGTV and the home décor section of Hobby Lobby. It would be pretty cool to combine the knowledge I have gained from binge-watching Joanna Gaines transform spaces into a homeowner’s dream and my knack for eye-catching decorations to become a professional interior designer.

9. What has been your biggest obstacle as a premed and how did you (or are you) overcome it? Comparison in a nutshell. Often, I find myself ranking my achievements and accomplishments thus far to that of other potential applicants who can lead to feelings of inadequacy. But great thing there are so many tips to help with any worries associated with preparing for medical school! Here are a few methods I use to get out of that rut:

1. Staying active in my faith. Turning to the bible for reassuring verses and continuously asking God for the courage and strength to persevere has been an enormous comfort during this journey.
2. Sharing my distress with people closest to me. My friends and family members who genuinely want to see me succeed regularly provide words of encouragement to help me get through rough moments.
3. Avoiding certain forums that discuss applicant stats and experience. Of course, these forums could serve as a benefit to others, but I’ve seen them become a place where premeds compete for who has the best background and can often do more harm than good. Instead, I pull out my list of accomplishment to remind myself of all the hard work I’ve done leading up to this point.
4. Reminding yourself that the journey to medical school looks different for everyone. Traditional and non-traditional student are both included in the overall diversity of experiences that make up any cohort, and medical schools are so much better because of this.

10. What do you like most about PreMed STAR? PreMed STAR gives members a platform with quality resources beneficial at any point during the journey to medical school. From free MCAT study materials to webinars discussing the day in a life of a medical student, there is infinite knowledge to gain from what PreMed STAR has to offer. Time spent here is time well spent guaranteed!

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