In today's episode, Ryan talks with Sylvia, a newly matriculated medical student who has an amazing story about her journey to medical school.
Sylvia was born and raised in Brazil and came to the U.S. 15 years ago. On June 20, 2015, Sylvia posted on MSHQ's Facebook hangout group where she talked inspiring words to other members about this very challenging journey to medical school.
She is a mom of three small kids and it took her 11 years to get her Bachelor's degree. She has overcome serious challenges including three high-risk pregnancies, multiple job losses by her husband, multiple interstate moves. She had to attend 5 different colleges/universities and had severe clinical suicidal depression at one point, and in the last two years lost over 80 pounds, got rid of depression, cleaned up her lifestyle and dealing with the MCAT while her husband while recovering from a traumatic brain injury. She scored 50th percentile on the MCAT, applied to medical school and got into two places.
Her point is this – “No matter what life throws at you, you keep going. You do not ever stop. Don't be proud to ask for help. We all need it. If you have kids especially, it's worth your sanity to pay a neighbor or friend to watch your kids for you so you can study or have quiet time to workout. Do everything and anything to get there. And if you fail at any point, get up and try again.”
There was time that she had to stop going to school that brought her severe depression, being the lowest point in her life. But she kept going…
The reason behind Sylvia’s post on Facebook:
To instill hope in people because it's a hard journey
When she decided to become a physician:
Right before she was pregnant with her oldest son
What happened in between her decision to become a physician and now:
Had three complicated pregnancies (she was on bed rest with each of them)
Three interstate moves in a period of 20 months
Her husband lost his job a few times
Her husband had a traumatic brain injury (TBI) while she was studying for the MCAT
What kept her going to continue on her medical school journey:
Her love for helping people get better
How she dealt with moments of depression:
Having a really good support system
Working out as a stress relief
Scheduling everything on a planner
How she dealt with studying for the MCAT:
Going to the library 30 hours a week for 12 weeks
She postponed taking the MCAT twice and took it last year
Used Examkrackers and went through the books
Made a study schedule consisting of two blocks (First block for 6 weeks: all material review)
Took 7 practice tests
What her application process like:
Expensive (getting all the transcripts)
Writing is not something she loves so it was the most difficult part for her
Why Sylvia only applied to DO schools:
She loves the holistic thinking of DO's
She fell in love with OMM
Sent 8 primaries and sent 7 secondaries
Factors in choosing her 8 primaries:
Presence of family nearby
Schools for kids
Medical school itself (seeing if it's a good fit for her)
She went to 2 out of 3 scheduled interviews
Timeline of her application process:
Submitted her application between October-November
She submitted her primaries even without the MCAT score
Important lesson for everyone: If you're taking the MCAT late, don't wait till you take the MCAT to submit your applications.
Her first week at medical school:
It's harder than what she thought
Sylvia best describes it as getting hit in the face with a brick
Overwhelming information in such short amount of time
Some pieces of advice for premed students:
Write down your goals. Visualize them to solidify them in your mind and bring them to you.
Have clear goals and structure yourself correctly.
Don't stop and keep going.
Links and Other Resources
Free MCAT Gift: Free 30+ page guide with tips to help you maximize your MCAT score and which includes discount codes for MCAT prep as well.
Hang out with us over at medicalschoolhq.net/group. Click join and we'll add you up to our private Facebook group. Share your successes and miseries with the rest of us.
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