Hometown: Bridgewater, New Jersey
Undergraduate: Drexel University, BS in Biological Sciences
Medical School: Drexel University College of Medicine, Class of 2022
Can you tell me a little about yourself before you came to Drexel?
My hometown is Bridgewater, New Jersey, which is about an hour and 15 minute drive from Philadelphia. I went to Drexel for my undergraduate degree and was enrolled in the seven-year program. During the three years that I was an undergrad, I sang in the jazz acapella group, Naturally Sharp, with a choir scholarship, and I was also on the dance team.
How was the transition into the medical school?
Medical school is so different from undergrad, especially in the way I study now compared to how I studied then. As an undergrad, I could study closer to an exam and be fine, but now I'm learning to manage my time every single day so there's not too much material left to learn in the week prior to the exam. I've also learned the importance of understanding foundational concepts because if you don't understand them, it's so much harder to learn everything else.
How did you learn to adjust your study habits?
I learned it as the exams progressed. The first exam was difficult for me because I was not used to learning that volume of information. However, I got used to it and stuck to a more manageable study schedule. Also, the focus in my classes is solely on medicine now, unlike studying in undergrad where it may be for classes that you're not as interested in such as organic chemistry or literature. This makes the learning processes more interesting for me.
When did you know you wanted to go to medical school?
I grew up playing soccer. When I was in high school, I tore my ACL twice, once during freshman year and once during my senior year. Through those injuries, I had a lot of exposure to an orthopedic doctor and to physical therapists. I worked with them for nine months each time, and I became interested in medicine and the human body then. I'm also a people person and I definitely want to do something where I can interact with other people.
Are you still interested in orthopedics?
I'm currently leaning that way, but I'm keeping my mind open. I know a lot of people change their minds once they begin clinical rotations.
What has your experience in medical school been like so far?
I really enjoy being here. The way our curriculum is arranged helps me to grasp concepts well. We learn a similar topic in microbiology, gross anatomy and biochemistry at the same time, which isn't how all medical schools work. I think learning this way helps you to see the bigger picture and reinforces concepts.
We also have a great balance of things here. I have an exam next week, so for the week before the exam, it's like just study, study, study. However, after the exam, there's so many other things that we do. We learn how to interview patients and solve cases, and we also meet up outside of school. I feel like we're all on the same page here—we want to do well on our exams, and we also value time spent unwinding and doing fun things.
What is your relationship with your classmates like?
I feel like I have the closest group of friends I've ever had. I think this is because I see them in every light. I see them when they're just relaxing and wanting to have fun, and I see them when everyone's stressed about an exam. It strengthens our relationship with each other. We're also happy to help one another. The atmosphere is great because we all come from such different backgrounds, but we have similar values.
What is your relationship with the faculty like?
Our curriculum is interesting in that most of our lectures are online with the professor on a video, but most of the problem-solving cases are in person. I really like this format and think all the faculty have been really great. During the clinical seminars, the faculty are not just reciting information. They really explain things in a thorough way by giving you both the bigger picture and the smaller picture. I also like how the faculty will incorporate other faculty members into lectures and conversations. For example, our microbiology professor might step in to explain something in physiology. It helps us to understand the concepts better and make connections between the different subjects.
Are you involved with any extracurricular activities or volunteering?
Yes, I sing with the College of Medicine's acapella group, Doctor's Note, and am a member of the Honor Court as part of the student government. I'm also president of the Sports Medicine Interest Group, due to my interest in orthopedics. I'm looking forward to organizing events on different grafts and different types of orthopedic subspecialties.
Additionally, I am a smoking cessation counselor for the Health Outreach Project (HOP) here. Basically, we go to a group home and talk to the people there about their day and their challenges. We hand out nicotine patches and help them to curb their addictions. There are a lot of opportunities to get involved here, which is great.
Can you tell me a little bit more about your singing?
Yes, it's always been a big part of my life. I've taken voice lessons since I was four years old. I've been in a lot of productions, so I was excited to find out about Doctor's Note. I also sang at the Pediatric AIDS Benefit Concert.
A few years ago, I auditioned and made it to round three of The Voice. I think the hardest round is the first one because it's the open call. There's an eclectic group of people, and you wait in line for eight hours or so. I'd like to try that again, but I'd have to have a whole summer open so I could go to Los Angeles.
What advice do you have for someone who is considering coming to medical school at Drexel?
I think it's easy to get caught up in the idea that you should be participating in everything, especially since on day one, you get emails from every interest group and organization. You feel like you don't want to miss out on anything. However, it's important to only join the groups that you're actually interested in. Otherwise, you'll be spending three hours or more of your week doing something that you don't enjoy.
Another piece of advice is to use the resources available to you. I had never been someone to use tutors or attend study sessions. However, for gross anatomy, there are second year students who tutor us, and it's been so helpful.