In today’s episode, I talk with Carrie, who is 36 years old as she is finishing her 1st year in medical school. Carrie shares with us her very nontraditional path into medicine, coming from a corporate world and being married with three daughters. She also talks about the power of surrounding herself with like-minded individuals through OldPreMeds.
Carrie discusses her experience in medical school and how having a sense of purpose has helped her push through tough times. You can get loads of inspiration and wisdom from her story, so stay tuned!
Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.
Carrie’s first year of medical school:
- “Drinking from the fire hose”
- Content is not that much harder, but the volume is so great.
- Medical school has been the most challenging time of her life.
- Facing exam after exam in medical school.
- The hardest part of 1st year in medical school: Logistics.
[Related episode: What Do the First Two Years of Medical School Look Like?]
Strategies Carrie uses to overcome the hurdles:
- Organization and time management: Be conscious about how you’re spending your minutes.
- Know how to ask for help.
- Recorded lectures at their school allow her to speed them up or slow them down as needed.
Carrie’s life prior to med school:
- She worked right after college.
- Carrie is married with 3 kids.
- She had a 2-hour conversation with the surgeon of her brother who had brain cancer, which was the lightbulb moment for her!
- Went through different careers in counseling and business and spent 10 years in healthcare administration.
- Having that nagging voice to pursue medicine.
What makes your heart beat?
Carrie’s husband did a career change to go after something he’s passionate about. Once he accomplished it, he told Carrie it was her turn, and he asked Carrie these powerful questions:
“If time and money were absolutely not a factor, what would you want to do? What is it that makes your heart beat?”
Carrie knew immediately that she wanted to be a physician. And here she is!
Beyond helping people—Carrie’s “why” that drives her to become a doctor:
- You can have any job and help people, so there has to be something else to why you want to be a doctor.
- She wants to combine her pursuit of knowledge with her proverbial heart.
- Carrie’s “why” is being able to walk with people in some of their deepest pain and the scariest moments of their lives.
- She wants to be that person who can help patients through that process.
Steps Carrie took to prepare for the application process:
- Researching medical schools she was interested in
- Figuring out what their admissions criteria were
- Getting a ton of wisdom from OldPreMeds
- Taking refresher courses to prepare for the MCAT (at a state university)
- Calling the Dean of Admissions, laying out her plans, and asking what she needed to do to get accepted
- Being professional and respectful of the admissions committees’ time and being as concise as possible
- Contacting them every 4-6 months to keep the relationship going
[Related episode: Should I Meet with Admissions Committees Before I Apply?]
The benefits of the OldPreMeds.org community:
- Getting advice and wisdom
- Being able to hear from people who have gone before you and who were in the same place as you are in your journey
- Meeting people who are behind you in the journey so you can also help them
- Having the support of like-minded people around you
Golden nuggets of wisdom from Carrie:
- Don’t be better than everyone else applying to medical school: Be different. What sets you apart?
- You always have the option to say “no” later. So give yourself as many choices as you can.
- Everybody’s path is different, and you can’t understand something unless you’re a part of it.
- Work as a team and as a family to get through this. We’re going to medical school, all of us, we just have different paths to get there.
- Lean on the community and the people around you. Learn to ask for help.
- Formulate a plan, and be willing to change that plan as often as it needs to be changed.
Some pieces of advice to those who wish to start their own journey:
- Don’t allow fear to formulate speed bumps or walls that aren’t really there.
- Take a step, and see what happens.
- Keep walking until you are convinced it isn’t what you want to be.
Links and Other Resources
- Check out my Premed Playbook series of books (available on Amazon), with installments on the personal statement, the medical school interview, and the MCAT.
- Related episode: First Year Med Student, med_kat28, Talks About Her Journey.
- Related episode: From a 2.7 Undergrad GPA to First-Year Medical Student.
- Need MCAT Prep? Save on tutoring, classes, and full-length practice tests by using promo code “MSHQ”for 10% off Next Step full-length practice tests or “MSHQTOC” for $50 off MCAT tutoring or the Next Step MCAT Course at Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep)!