Zig or Zag: There Are Multiple Premed Paths to Medical School

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Session 53

There Are Multiple Premed Paths to Medical School In today’s episode, I talk with Dalya Ferguson, a 2nd-year medical student at the University of Texas in Houston who also blogs at The Health Scout Blog.

This episode seeks to show you that you don’t have to be the perfect premed student to get into medical school.

Dalya talks about her premed journey, going in and out of it, until ultimately pursuing her path into medical school.

Applying to medical school is not about checking off the boxes. You can still be who you are and do what you want to do and still be able to get into medical school. There are different paths you can take as a premed, so do what you really are passionate about.

Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.

Dalya’s path to medical school:

  • Her epiphany of becoming a doctor when she got an MRI for her back injury
  • Deciding to go to medical school after her freshman year

Resources she tapped into to get information about medical school:

Being a nontraditional student on the path to medical school:

  • She was 21 years old as an undergrad
  • Planning to get dual degrees
  • Smooth sailing for the first 2 years
  • Burnout and losing sight of enjoying her time in college
Putting pressure on herself to do two degrees led Dalya to get burned out as a premed.Click To Tweet

[Related episode: The Nontraditional Medical Student: A Different Path to Med School.]

Burnout as a premed:

  • Taking an internship and not enjoying it
  • Feeling that she had to drag herself to school every day
  • Getting sick and missing school
  • She ended up dropping all her science classes and taking only 2 classes for the semester
  • Thinking premed is not for her
When she was experiencing burn out, Dalya felt like she had to drag herself to school every day.Click To Tweet

[Related episode: A Burnout Story and What You Can Do to Avoid It.]

Getting back on the path to medical school:

  • Realizing she still wanted to pursue medicine
  • Shadowing her OB/GYN for over a month

Dalya’s shadowing experience:

  • Being there before any patient came
  • Researching what she learned and asking questions
  • Eventually sending her alone in the room to do certain tasks
  • Letting her use the stethoscope to listen to the patient’s heart and lungs

[Related post: Tips for Shadowing a Doctor.]

Back on the path to medical school with MCAT prep:

  • Taking the MCAT before finishing physics
  • MCAT as the least content-based exam: More on reasoning over your outside knowledge
  • Using the personal statement to focus on the positive
The MCAT isn't a science test. It's a reading and reasoning test that happens to be about science.Click To Tweet

The importance of breaks in the path to medical school:

  • Gives you time to rest and unwind before the craziness of med school and residency
  • Gives you a different perspective on life to help you have better patient interaction

[Related episode: Should You Take a Gap Year Before Medical School?]

Drawing her fun cartoons:

  • Using the website Picmonic that allows you to draw crazy pictures to help you remember
  • Using as many different senses she can as how Dalya learns best

Some pieces of advice for premed students:

Ask for help and talk to as many people as you can about the premed path, especially doctors. Listen to young doctors over premed advisors. It’s okay to be scared. Just keeping doing the stuff you’re supposed to do.

It's okay to be scared as a premed. Just keeping doing the stuff you're supposed to do.Click To Tweet

Links and Other Resources: