Acceptance!

So after just a couple of med school interviews I started to receive acceptances!

I could not believe it! When I read my first acceptance letter I was in complete awe. Not only had I gotten into an MD/PhD program, but one of my first acceptances was to one of my top choices! It’s absolutely unbelievable. The emotion that I felt upon reading that email was unlike anything ever before. For me it felt like all of my hard work (going to MCAT classes, doing all of the homework, taking practice test after practice test, getting through the exam, all of the applications and their essays, and then the interviews!) had finally paid off. It made it all seem worth it.

After that acceptance I received several more interview invites. But, even after going on some additional interviews the first school had stolen my heart. Everything about the school, from the people to the teaching methods to the city, felt right. So, I’ve send them my acceptance and now I wait for the rest of the paperwork. When it all comes together I can tell you where I am going!

Now in my final semester at UB I almost don’t know what to do with myself. I continue to keep myself busy, but it feels strange that it’ll all be coming to a close soon. All I know is that my experience at UB has been wonderful and those experiences helped to prepare me for the amazing road that now lies ahead.

Interviews!

So I finally started hearing from MD/PhD schools about interviews!

It was extremely exciting seeing my first invite in my inbox. Before that I was checking my email habitually in the hopes that every time I would refresh the page an email would magically arrive.After weeks of this I almost gave up hope that anybody would want me and then, I saw the invite! Pretty soon more started coming in and I thought, “I might actually get the chance to become a physician-scientist.”

There is much that I have to prepare to make sure that I am successful at these interviews. Career services and my Honors College Advisors have helped in preparing me by providing opportunities to practice my interview skills. I have to make sure that I have reviewed and understand my research and the work that has lead to it. Lastly I need to make sure that I can covey to my interviewers that I have good reasons to be pursuing an MD/PhD degree and why specifically at their school.

All of this preparation is necessary, but possible through the resources and mentors here at UB.

Applying to MD/PhD

Over the course of the summer I had been working on completing my primary application for MD/PhD programs.  I want to become an oncologist or radiologist so I can combine my interest in research with taking care of patients.

I found that the Prehealth Committee’s application process greatly prepared me for answering many of the questions on the realapplication. I personally would not have wanted to approach the application without going through the committee. Everything was fairly straight forward as well, except for the essays. Since I’m applying to MD/PhD there were two additional essays that I needed to complete. Not being very confident in my writing skills I asked multiple people to review my essays in order to achieve concrete representations of myself that effectively conveyed why I wanted to go into an MD and an MD/PhD program specifically, and what research I had done.

After all of the reviews and the countless rewrites I finally submitted my application. Now it’s just the nerve wracking wait for secondary applications. I swear, MD programs like to put you through the gauntlet to know that you really want it. But I’m ready for them because of my preparations here at UB. And I do want it.

Giving Back

This semester I am taking an Honors Seminar with Dr. Joseph A. Gardella. The purpose of this seminar is to provide an opportunity to students who wish to become teachers. I am trying to decide if teaching will be a part of my future and this class really is helping me learn about what that might mean.  As a part of the class the students go to a Buffalo public school once a week and act as aides with a teacher in the instruction of their students. Many of these schools have children that come from lower income families, so while the students are bright there can sometimes be behavior issues.

Through this program we, as college students, can not only aid these children in their learning but also aid in providing them with an example of what they can do if they apply their intelligence. Last week I worked with a group of 5th students who were analyzing their data from an experiment. With a little guidance and some demonstration I was able to help them grasp the concept of temperature change. Not only did they understand conceptually but also that there is a benefit from applying their knowledge critically. I greatly enjoy going to the class and I hope to continue with the program in the future just to be able to continue to help the students and my community.

MCAT Life

This semester I have started preparing for the MCAT, which is equivalent to the SAT except that it is used for entrance into medical school. I decided to take a preparatory program: KAPLAN’s MCAT program. What is great about taking this prep course is that there is a KAPLAN center right on campus! Before my first class I had to take a diagnostic. Unfortunately I did not receive a grade within my desired range. As a result, I was extremely nervous as to how I was going to do on the actual exam. After the first class I realize that going to this course was one of the best moves I could make in preparing for my exam. I feel less nervous now and it feels like achieving my desired score is an actual possibility. Also it made me realize that no one should go to this exam without any preparation. I greatly appreciate that UB provides it’s students with great access to such a program.  Maybe when I take the exam on March 26 I’ll meet my goals!

Buffalo: A Winter Wonderland

Buffalo is a great place to do outdoor activities.

This past Sunday I went sledding with my friends. I have not gone sledding since I was in middle school! I figured it would be a great time with friends. To be perfectly honest, . . . . the first time I went down that hill I was scared! I had completely forgotten how intimidating a hill can be when you’re going to be flying down at speeds that have previously sent people to the hospital. But after going down a few times I started to get  the hang of it and was enjoying myself more. I was also fun seeing what other people were doing. Some were snowboarding, others were sledding together. My friends and I saw one group link together to form a 7 person train and slide down the hill together. Surprisingly they made it all the way to the bottom without breaking apart! That was definitely entertaining to watch. Afterwards we went back to my one friend’s house, drank hot cocoa, and decorated the tree.

This is one of the reasons I love Buffalo. There are many opportunities to enjoy the seasons.

End of the Semester

Now that finals are starting things are getting a little hectic. One of my classes had an exam and then one week later we had the final in the same class! This is also on top of completing a report for that class’s respective lab due that same week, and another exam that was happening three days later. In comparison to some majors though this is nothing. This year I was lucky enough to only have two exams during finals week. Though unfortunately my last exam (physics) is on a Saturday (ugh!), but at least I’ll be done before the last day of exams!

I will be very relieved once the finals days are over and winter break gets underway.

Just got back from North Carolina

UB is a really amazing place in the opportunities that are available. Just recently I attended the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students. This is a national conference that has been held for 10 years.

At this one, which was held in Charlotte, North Carolina, they had famous speakers like Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson and Dr. Maya Angelou! At the conference I was able to network with my peers and faculty from other schools. I attend informative seminars and was able to visit the exhibits setup by other schools. In turn this experience helped me to formulate my plans for my future academic career and get a sense of what my schools of interest were like. These schools were ones that I’m interested in attending for their MD/PhD programs.

With my academic achievements at UB I was able to secure a travel award that paid for all of my expenses to attend the conference. I would not have been able to take advantage of an opportunity like this without the training and the help that I received at UB. After such an experience I hope to take advantage of many other ones offered by UB in the future.

Studying Abroad

UB offers a ton of study abroad opportunities. Next summer I hope to take advantage of one of their opportunities and go to Japan for an instructive session on the Japanese language.

Many people are always concerned though about paying for such opportunities. For one, if you’re not picky about where you study abroad it is possible to go places and actually pay less overall for taking certain classes and living in a foreign county than you would if you had stayed at UB for that semester. Not only do you save money but you get to widen your view of the world.

Then if you do want to go some place that’s more expensive it’s best to first subtract how much you currently pay to attend UB from your estimated total. Then whatever is left look for scholarships to help cover it. Currently I’m applying for four different scholarships to help fund my study abroad program. I’ll be honest it is a lot of work. Application after application, essay after essay, but there is one way to look at it. I can either work on these scholarships or work at a part-time job to pay for it. Personally I’d rather write than flip burgers.

I appreciate UB giving me the resources  with which I can hope to have my experience completely paid for. Such things make UB’s study abroad program that much more attractive.

Getting Into A Class During the Semester

Did you know it is a lot harder to add a required class after the semester starts? I wish I’d made up my mind during the regular registration process, but I didn’t realize I’d have to make these changes.

Over the summer I had decided that I was going to go to medical school. As a result, I needed to complete one more physics course if I was to be eligible for entry into a medical program (PHY 151). Of course the class was full and it was horrible waiting and hoping that someone would drop the course and open a seat for me, since there was no way I could get forced into a lab since they can only fill so many seats per class. Nothing was showing up either of the first two weeks until finally at 6pm on the Thursday before the last Add/Drop doom day of Friday. At first I only got into a Saturday lab (yuck!) but I figured I might as well take it since it was at least a lab. Then on Friday tons of other seats started opening up. In turn, I was able to secure a lab on Tuesdays.

All that anxiety waiting for the official add/drop day and then everything fit together again! From this I have learned that it is possible to fit in that class during the first two weeks but you’re much better off trying to secure that class the previous semester so that you save yourself some grief.