Hi, everyone! I thought that I should make a segment where people give their advice as to how to stay grounded in the field of medicine. I feel that mental health is not talked about as often as it should be. There is a stigma against mental illness in medicine, because people believe that this can interfere with success in medical school and as a physician. Due to this, pre-medical students don’t talk about mental health. It is likely that your classmates are also having trouble maintaining their mental health as well as finding life balance. I want to bring awareness to this issue with the purpose of providing inspiration and advice for maintaining your well-being.
My first mindfulness interview is with my friend, Tiffany. We were in the same summer pre-med program and went to school together. Tiff and I often talk about our pre-med endeavors and have been motivating each other throughout our journeys. She has encouraged me through the tough times when I found it hard to believe in myself. She is an amazing person who knows a lot about the pre-med struggle. I hope you enjoy reading her interview!
- Tell me a little bit about yourself. What is your main career goal?
I am a post-bacc, nontraditional pre-med student. My main career goal is to be a physician. In college, I majored in African American Studies and minored in sociology. I plan on using my skills to practice cultural competency in medicine and work in health disparities.
- What’s a fun fact about yourself?
A fun fact about me is that I love to sing! I have been singing in chorus, choir, and trios since I was in third grade.
- Where are you in your pre-med journey?
I am currently almost 2 years out of undergrad and planning on applying to medical school in 2018. I took a year to finish up some science pre-requisites and to just take a little time before diving into graduate school.
- What is your current job? If you are employed, tell me about a typical day and why you chose this job.
Right now, I am kind of in an odd place where I am studying for my MCAT so taking on a full-time job would be WAY too stressful (this test is a monster). So right now, I am working at my old high school as a substitute teacher. I just reached out to the principal of my school asking for an opportunity and sent in my resume. I had a quick interview and got the job! How it works is I am “on-call” as a sub, and they contact me when a teacher may be absent then I have to sub for him/her. I work about 3 days a week and the hours are normal school hours. It is not a stressful job, and I can even study while I am doing it, which is a bonus. I also tutor high school kids on some days, usually in math, and I really enjoy this work. It is great to get involved in your community.
- What kept you motivated throughout college?
I did an OK job at motivating myself half of the time. I tried to stay organized and on top of my work but it is so easy to get behind and to stress out in college and even harder as a pre-medical student where most classes are “weed-out.” Relying on pure, self-produced motivation alone throughout college does NOT work…trust me. I would advise those struggling with motivation to not set themselves up for an even harder struggle. What I mean is to avoid some problems you can keep a calendar, to-do lists, make sure you do some studying on the weekends other than Sunday night, haha, and just little things like that. Also, what kept me motivated was my support system in addition to myself. My family and friends have always pushed me and told me I can do anything I want if I try. Having them as a shoulder to cry on or just an ear to listen to my (first-world) problems was great. I can sometimes be very hard on myself and tell myself that I cannot do it, but when you have people in your life advocating for you constantly, then you eventually see what they see :).
- How do you stay motivated now?
I still have some trouble self-motivating but what helps me stay on top of my tasks is having routine and remembering the greater goal. With a routine, you are less likely to fall out of your schedule but it is also easy to schedule breaks or fun into your routine. For example, on days that I work I wake up at 6:30 AM and get to work around 7:45 AM, and I spend the day focused on one MCAT subject. When I get home at 4 PM, I work out (sometimes) and then make dinner. After dinner I relax, hang out with my family or friends and prep my lunch for the next day. On remembering the greater goal, one must realize that being a doctor and the path leading to it is so much different than other careers. It is so easy to feel “behind” all of your friends that are either working and making money or already half way through grad school or getting married or whatever! But our path is going to be a little different, and that is okay. We have to delay gratification in order to reach a greater goal down the road. If you can do that, you can do anything!
- What is your favorite inspirational quote or proverb?
“You are uniquely and divinely made.”
- Finally, what advice do you have to students who wish to have a career in medicine or STEM?
My advice would be to never stop trying. There will always be someone smarter than you, or more connected than you or better at something, but if you are willing to put in the work and continue trying no matter how many times you fall down, then you will reach your goals.
Thanks, Tiff! Isn’t she great?
Thanks for visiting my blog! Be sure to check out my other posts. There is more to come soon! Until then be kind and remember tomorrow depends on what you do today. Hope you enjoyed reading! — Taylor ❤