In this episode, Ryan talks with nontraditional student Matt who has a great, great story about his struggles as an undergrad and who really didn’t have his path set initially for medical school.
Matt had this huge nontraditional path of starting undergrad, dropping out, going to the navy, coming back, struggling with a low GPA, and then finally doing well. With 7 ½ years of military experience, Matt described his time in the military as a life-altering and perspective-changing experience for him that has definitely helped him pursue his passion of becoming a doctor.
Today, he shares a ton of great information with us—stories, his transition period, and how he overcame his struggles along the journey, swam against the current, and finally got accepted to medical school even with 12 withdrawals and 5 F’s on his transcript.
Here are the highlights of the conversation with Matt:
Matt before the navy:
- Not knowing what he wanted to do in college
- Music as the only thing he was passionate about
- Leaving college with an ugly transcript: 9 W’s and 3 F’s
[Related episode: Overcoming 11 F’s, This Med School Immigrant Story Is Great]
Matt in the navy:
- Leaving college to join the navy band
- Spending his first two years in Naples, Italy, and traveling in 23 different countries
- One of his trips to Africa eventually becoming the opening paragraph of his personal statement
- Loving his interactions with students
- “Atlantis”—a science, technology, and engineering-based educational program that sparked his interest for the sciences
Overcoming “ugly” past grades to study medicine:
- Being terrified and facing his fears
- Not knowing if he could get into medical school with F’s on his transcript
- Doing more reading
- Going to the local naval clinic and asking to volunteer
- His “aha!” moment: shadowing a family friend/physician
- Talking to an advisor at his university and a dermatologist friend
- His dad’s response, which became a “reality check” for him to really make it happen
Matt’s advice to those who are surrounded by people doubting them:
- Finding an element of proving them wrong, but not from a place of revenge
- Taking the good part of negativity on-board, and trying to see if there is any truth in it
- His mantra: There is no growth without conflict.
- His story shows it is possible to get into medical school with F’s on your transcript
[Related episode: Disclosing a DUI Didn’t Hold Him Back from Med School]
Transitioning to being premed:
- Initially struggling, thinking he’s so far behind
- Collaboration, not competition: Started making more friends and communicating with the community and realizing he’s not really behind and he just needed to keep working hard
- What he thought was easiest: time management (his military experience helped him a lot!)
Medical school interviews:
- Showing and not telling
- Started talking about his military experience as life-changing, and how it changed his perspective in life
[Check out our Anytime Mock Interview Platform to prepare for your medical school interview!]
Being successful in medical school:
- Setting concrete, real goals
- Recognizing his own pitfalls and finding a system that works for him to overcome those
Some pieces of advice for premed students:
Seek out situations that challenge you in some way. Find ways of challenging yourself. If you do, you will grow as a person… and you will grow into the person that medical schools want to accept.Find ways of challenging yourself. If you do, you will grow into the kind of person that medical schools want to accept.Click To Tweet
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: Overcoming 11 F’s, This Med School Immigrant Story Is Great
- Related episode: What MCAT Score Do I Need If I Have a Low GPA?
- Need MCAT Prep? Save on tutoring, classes, and full-length practice tests by using promo code “MSHQ” at Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep)!
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