Reader Profile: TJ

THE FOLLOWING ARE QUESTIONS FOR THE SERIES OF POSTS ENTITLED “READER PROFILES.” EACH POST IN THIS SERIES WILL DETAIL THE CURRENT SITUATIONS AND CHALLENGES OF A MEDICAL SCHOOL HQ READER. THE PURPOSE OF THIS SERIES IS TO HELP US ALL IDENTIFY WITH PEOPLE LIKE US (IN SIMILAR SITUATIONS — NOT ALL WILL BE, OF COURSE, BUT EVENTUALLY I’M SURE YOU WILL FIND SOMEONE LIKE YOU HERE), GET TO KNOW THE FREQUENT COMMENTERS ON THE SITE, AND HEAR SOME WISDOM/CHALLENGES FROM PEOPLE OTHER THAN THE SITE CREATORS. I BELIEVE THIS SERIES IS A GREAT ALTERNATIVE TO THOSE THAT DON’T ENJOY DIGGING AROUND FORUMS FOR INFORMATION ABOUT SITUATIONS THAT THEY MAY BE CURRENTLY PLAGUED WITH. USE THE BELOW QUESTIONS AS THE OUTLINE. YOU CAN EXPAND EACH ANSWER BEYOND THE DEFAULT QUESTIONS I HAVE ENTERED. ADD ANYTHING YOU FEEL WILL BE HELPFUL TO THOSE AT THE START OF THEIR JOURNEY.

If you're interested in contributing to this series, then drop me an email. The series can be a very valuable source for readers and I need a steady stream of new ones to keep it going.

Next in the series is MedicalSchoolHQ reader TJ. He answered my questions (in red below) as follows:

Please tell us a bit about yourself (include where you are in your path to becoming a physician).

I began my career in education; first as a classroom teacher for 9 years and then as a counselor for 2 years. After years of telling my students that they should “chase their dreams”, I decided it was time to go after what I always wanted to do – become a physician.

Describe your path to medical school (MCAT scores, undergrad GPA with emphasis on any difficulties in required courses, D.O. vs M.D. and why, and if you are further along in your training any other information you think would be helpful to others – i.e. AMCAS process tips, interview tips).

As a non-traditional student, we are often viewed as having complicated backgrounds. Ironically, my story is far from complicated. Because I didn't take any of the pre-reqs in undergrad, I needed to take them prior to applying to medical school. After researching post-bacc programs here in L.A., I decided that Charles R. Drew University was the best fit because of the school's mission, a close proximity to my house, and the added benefit of the school having an affiliation with a College of Medicine. Although I haven't taken the MCAT yet, I will prepare for the exam through The Berkeley Review. Because my volunteer/shadowing work has been with M.D.'s and my mentor are M.D.'s, it is only natural that I would choose the M.D. pathway.

What were(are) the biggest obstacles to your path to an acceptance letter?

Thus far, I haven't encountered any obstacles to an acceptance letter. Then again, I haven't submitted my AMCAS yet!

What have you encountered that you wish you could go back and tell your younger self?

I would have told my younger self that it was VERY possible to major in my selected discipline and apply to medical school, that I should research as much as possible to make an informed decision, and finally, don't let others discourage you from your dreams.

What are your plans for the future (medical school goals, residency goals, practice types)?

Since my work in the hospital and most of my mentors are surgeons in various specialties, I see that I am a “surgeon” type. I really have an interest in Trauma/ Surgical Critical Care or one of the surgical sub-specialities

What is(are) your best piece(s) of advice for others on their path to medical school?

If you are an applicant and you feel that there might be deficiencies in your application, contact medical school deans and ask to speak with them a year in advance of your application. In many instances, at least this has been the case for me, the conversation will prove to be invaluable in the long run!

Share Your Story

Because there is a natural storytelling urge and ability in all human beings, even just a little nurturing of this impulse can bring about astonishing and delightful results. —Nancy Mellon, The Art of Storytelling

Please consider sharing your story with our fellow readers. Who knows, your experiences might give someone the courage to take the leap and apply to  medical school. If you're interested in contributing to this series please drop me an email.

If you feel like the information in this post is useful, please share it. I would also love to hear your comments below.

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