Some Motivation and Inspiration.

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Jan 26, 2016
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It’s been a while since I’ve been on SDN but I recently got my Step 1 score back and wanted to come back and share my story, in hopes it gives you some hope and advice! I know I could have used it when I was in the throes of reapplication.

Graduated from a top 20 public undergrad with a 3.1sGPA and 3.38cGPA. My freshman year I had a 4.0 but some mental health issues completely derailed my next 3 years. Advice if this is you: take a leave of absence and get help (I was really resistant to this, despite being advised to do it and it’s one of my regrets)

After graduation, I worked as an ED scribe for about a year and a half and had a great time. Took the MCAT and half-assed studied for it, getting a 507. Naively applied and was rejected from the ~10 MD schools and ~10 DO schools I applied to. This was rock bottom for me. I reached out to my (amazing) pre med advisor and asked for some tough love. I came up with the following game plan.

I applied to some SMPs and retook any classes where I got a C- (this was 2-3 years out from graduation). I was accepted to a great SMP and went in dead set on being successful. Studied my a** off and excelled in the med school classes (was in the top 10% of the class, which included the 200 M1s). My SMP gpa was a 3.9 (got an A- in my first class while I relearned how to study). I had to relearn completely how to study since it had been awhile, but I think the wake up call of being rejected everywhere really lit a fire in me.

I did not apply to schools during my SMP because
1. I clearly needed to improve my application and there would not be much change documented if I turned around and applied in back to back cycles.
2. I wanted to focus solely on succeeding in my SMP.

Because of this, I had a year after finishing my SMP. My advisor convinced me to retake my MCAT and I knew I could do better given my new and improved study skills. I got a 517 (+10 points from first attempt). I did research and nannying during my gap year and applied broadly to MD and DO schools. I had an incredibly successful cycle and ended up at a dream state school (top 30 medical school)

I started medical school 4 years after graduating college (at a time when my peers from school were starting residency - this stung a little). I knew I had a lot to prove, so I have worked my a** off in medical school. Finished my first 2 years in the top 10% of my class. Just got my Step 1 score back and it was a 96th percentile score. About to start clinical rotations in a few weeks!

1. Have patience, it took a while to get to a point of being a reapplicant, spend the time to thoughtfully improve your application. DO NOT RUSH into a new cycle.
2. Find an invested mentor who knows you, will be brutally honest with you and advocate for you.
3. Take care of your mental health. Recognize your signs of depression and ask for help the second you start noticing them (this is what has kept me successful for the last 4 years - I recognize a spiral and immediately seek help)
4. Dig deep and ask if medicine is for you. After my first failure, I thought long and hard about whether medicine was for me and if I could be happy doing something else.

I hope this was remotely helpful and/or inspirational for someone! I am happy to answer any questions about my journey, as I had a lot of support to get here and want to pay it back.

PS - I am a first generation college student, this might have given me a leg up in applications, but I also made about a million mistakes during this process because I had no idea what I was doing.

PPS - I am hispanic, but not from a group that is typically thought of as URM. Non-Spanish speaker.
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