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MD Program Meet Student May Li

May Li, Drexel MD Program Student


Hometown: Germantown, Maryland
Undergraduate: University of Maryland, Baltimore County, BS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Medical School: Drexel University College of Medicine Class of 2021


Can you tell me a little about yourself before you came to Drexel?

Before coming to Drexel, I took a gap year that allowed me to take time to explore my interests both academically and recreationally.

Academically, I served as a post-baccalaureate research fellow at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD. My time at the NIH had a significant impact on my appreciation of the full breadth of medical research currently under exploration. It further reinforced my passion for innovation in health care and research, and I was certain that this was a field I was willing to dedicate my entire life to.

Recreationally, I was able to travel, read and stay active. I took trips to Colombia and Spain, where I broadened my knowledge of other cultures and practiced my Spanish. I also took up rock climbing and became involved in the local climbing community.

When did you know that you wanted to become a doctor?

Throughout middle and high school, I had always taken an interest in science and suspected that my career trajectory would lead me to a job in the natural sciences. I decided to major in biochemistry in college, with the original goal of conducting research and pursuing a PhD. However, through several volunteer and shadowing experiences, I eventually became more interested in the application of basic science to the treatment of patients. My job as a medical scribe gave me greater insight into the intricacies of modern health care, and I realized that I would be most fulfilled in a career that allowed me to directly serve the physical and emotional needs of my future patients.

Do you know what kind of medicine you'd like to specialize in?

I have a wide variety of interests that I look forward to exploring in my clinical years at Drexel. Thus far, I've had some shadowing experiences with radiology, infectious disease, ophthalmology, emergency medicine and psychiatry. To be honest, each specialty has qualities that I can see myself enjoying.

What made you apply to Drexel's medical school?

My decision to attend Drexel University College of Medicine was partially due to the convenient location. Having lived in the suburbs of Maryland my whole life, I wanted to explore a bustling city, such as Philadelphia, without being too far from home. The diverse patient population in Philadelphia provides an opportunity to serve the many underprivileged areas of the inner city and also offers a wide spectrum of pathologies that can enrich my medical education. There are always new opportunities to interact with the various medical and research institutions within the city, so I was confident that I could shadow or conduct research in any field I was interested in. I was also interested in the new curriculum that Drexel was offering to my class and believed that it would better equip me with the knowledge I would need for boards and clinical years.

How has the program been going so far?

The new curriculum has had a few bumps, as all new programs do, but overall, I am satisfied with the medical education I've received at Drexel thus far. The longitudinal integration of anatomy with the systems blocks has been helpful in reinforcing the material throughout the year.

What is your relationship like with the faculty?

One of the great strengths of Drexel is the approachability and enthusiasm of the faculty. They make every effort to provide us with the resources we need to understand the material, and the open-door culture allows me to feel comfortable with asking for advice and guidance. The faculty really are champions for advocating on behalf of students, especially when we suggest making improvements to the curriculum.

What is your relationship like with your fellow classmates?

While the class size is large, splitting students into Group A and B makes the class feel smaller. I've been able to form many intimate relationships with my classmates, some of which I know I will have for life. In general, our class is an extremely diverse group in terms of age, interests and academic backgrounds. It's a wonderful experience to work toward the same goal alongside such good company.

Are you involved in any extracurricular activities?

I'm currently treasurer in American Medical Association (AMA), president of the rock climbing club and a volunteer at Crisis Text Line.

How do you like Philadelphia?

The city is a great change of pace from East Falls, and there are a ton of events I can go to when I'm not studying. The night life and cultural scene make Philadelphia an extremely fun place to live.

What advice do you have for someone who is considering coming to Drexel for medical school?

In general, my advice for someone considering going to medical school would be to evaluate your priorities before starting school. It's easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of commitments that are made before and throughout school. Making things easier for yourself by focusing on one or two things that are extremely important to you will help you accomplish your major goals.

In terms of Drexel, my advice would be to keep an open mind and come to school with an eagerness to learn from your peers and professors. While this isn't unique to any one school, at Drexel, I've found that the community is very open to sharing if you show a willingness to learn while seeking opportunities for self-improvement. Don't be afraid to go to all the interest group meetings (even if it's just for the food!) and learn about aspects of medicine you've never considered before.

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Contact Information

Drexel University College of Medicine
Office of Admissions
60 N. 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

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