College and Career Diaries: Medical School

Hello everyone,

Welcome to the third edition of College and Career Diaries. Today’s post is with someone that I hold very dear to my heart. She is not only a role model to me but we just so happen to share the same DNA. That’s right, I interviewed my best friend and Day 1 my sister Lola Adeyemo.

I don’t even think I have to give much of an introduction to highlight her excellence. If you read the caption you will know that this hard working young woman is a medical school student. Yep, my sister is going to be a doctor.

However, for those who don’t know her I will give you a quick bio. She graduated from the University of Florida in 2014. Afterwards, she attended the Ross University School of Medicine in Dominica. She is going into her third year of medical school and thriving. I am so proud of her. I could go into pages just gushing about her so let’s just dive right into the interview.

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What aspect of medicine do you want to pursue?

I’m really not sure what aspect specifically, right now…because  I haven’t started my rotations yet. But once I complete all my rotations and I’ve kind of gotten a feel of every aspect, then I’ll be able to make a more definitive choice. Because then I would have been exposed to everything. But I’ve always been interested in pediatrics. It’s where my heart is but I don’t want to limit myself to something when I haven’t explored it yet.

How can an undergrad prepare for medical school academically and emotionally?

Academically, it’s definitely tough. I know a lot of the preliminary classes are weed out classes. So, they really want to see if you have the capability and the discipline. If you know how to study. Gen Chem, Bio, it’s definitely not something that you should take lightly. But I think that making sure you figure out what is best for you…Everyone is different. Everyone has a different study style. Some people like to pre-read before they go to class. Some people like group study, independent study. You have to figure out what works best for you early on, and stick with it once you find out what the best thing for you to do. Emotionally, make sure that you are balanced. A lot of times people put studying till late hours of the night and not getting any sleep, they put that on a pedestal. They think that they need to do that in order to be a good student. But no. Actually, our body craves routine so it’s important that you take care of your self first. So that you are healthy and so that you are able to do the best you can, without any stress because stress doesn’t help anybody.

So what are some MCAT study tips?

MCAT, that’s a really big test. A lot of people like to take courses. I took a course.  I think the disadvantage was that I was taking it while I was taking harder classes so it was harder for me to balance the two. But I think that if you dedicate the time to a course and you really make sure to complete all the assignments, and do everything you need to do and just focus on that, then you’ll be good. But some people don’t like courses. So, just making sure that you have a schedule and just stick to it, so that you know to take baby steps everyday to get to your goal. Because it’s a marathon, it’s not a sprint. Just give it your best shot. It’s really hard to come up with a cookie-cutter technique or approach to studying because like I said, everybody is different. Coming up with what works best for you is my philosophy.

What are some med-school study tips that have worked for you?

For me specifically,  I had to go through a bunch of different approaches before I found what I like. I started off my journey and I would just try to study every waking minute of the day and I would just try to READ, READ, READ, and memorize and over exhaust myself. The thing that has helped me the most is to make sure that I set an attainable goal of what I need to do every day. So for example ” This is the chapter that I need to cover this day and master it”. Once I’ve read and answered questions and am able to teach someone then I know that I’ve mastered the material. Instead of just getting a bunch of information in my head and just trying to cram it all in. Then, at the end of the day you don’t know if you’ve really learned anything. So I just try to make small goals each day. Make sure that they’re reasonable. Make sure that at the end of the day, when I said that I want to go through this topic, that I actually know it, so I’m building a foundation. So that at the end of the journey, I can say that I’ve  actually learned something. Also, I’d like to add making sure to keep a balance. Knowing how to take breaks. Knowing how to have an actual outlet. You don’t want to burnout. Life isn’t all about school. Making sure to stay true to who you are as a person and doing the things you love is just as important as the studying.

How do you balance a social and personal life with med-school?

This one’s a fun one. (laughs) I would have to say, I’m so thankful for my friends, first of all. I don’t have that many friends. But the friends that I do have, know who I am. They understand me. A lot of my friends, are in my same field so it works out perfectly. When we tell each other that we’re going to study, we know that we have a limited amount of time when we’re not studying and we have fun. But for my friends that are not in med school, they know me well enough to know that the little time that I do have with Lola when she’s not studying…We’re going to make it count. They’re an excellent support system. I am so grateful to have people in my life that love and support me.  Friends that I can just have a nice 20 minute conversation with. They understand that when I do have the time to spend with them it’s priceless. I don’t take friends for granted and I build my relationships and they’re solid. I have a time to study and I have a time to spend with friends. I don’t choose one over the other.

What is something that you expected from medical school that was different once you got there?

Honestly, I had heard a lot of horror stories about how it’s just this horrible, dreadful abyss and it was going to be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. You just hear so many rumors about how hard it is. Yes, it is very challenging. I’m not going to say that it’s a cake walk at all.  Just knowing that I can do it. I struggled a lot before I got to where I am. I still struggle. It’s not an easy journey. But I think that being in it and having done the first two years and about to start rotations soon has taught me that “Wow, it is possible.” When you work hard. When you have faith. You really do the best you can and believe in yourself, it is possible. I think knowing that it is possible and I am making it. It’s so awesome to see that currently in my life as a reality.

What advice would you give to someone about to enter into medical school?

I would definitely say “congratulations” first of all. I am sure that if they are about to start they have asked themselves a billion times “Is this what they want?” “Am I sure that I want to do this?” “Is this the journey that I want to take?” Once they’ve answered those  questions affirmatively, that’s awesome.  I would say to make sure that you have a balance. You figure out what you need to do in terms of studying, what works best. Have a routine. Medicine is a very rigorous career field and you can get lost in it if you don’t figure out how to make a balanced routine, at the very beginning. It’s actually going to do you more good in the long run. Make sure you have a balanced routine, and a balanced schedule,  and then make sure you love it. Never lose site of why you’re doing what you’re doing. Those long study hours, when you’re putting all that time in,  always keep in the back of your mind “Well, at the end of the day, I’m going to save lives.” Then it just lights a fire under your butt and you say “Ok, this is totally worth it.” You’ll just fall in love with every step you’re taking. Even when it seems real hard and you want to give up just think “I’m going to save lives.” “I’m going to change the world, one patient at a time.” “I’m going to make a difference.” It’ll make it more worthwhile. I’m sure that if you have chosen it you’re going to love it.

How do you stay motivated in your field?

That’s exactly how I stay motivated. I make sure that even when I’m stressed and I’m feeling burnt out, I take myself out of the specific situation that I’m in. Right now I’m studying for Step 1. It’s not easy. When I’m stressed, I go outside for a little bit and I think “This is what I really want to do.” I think that if you’ve always wanted to do it and it’s something that really means a lot to you it’s not going to take a lot of convincing. But if it’s not something that you want to do then beware. Be cautious. Maybe think about it for a little bit. If it’s really something that you want it’s not going to take, a lot for you to come back to why you fell in love with it in the first place. If you’re someone that believes in God, like me, your faith is going to sustain you. That’s definitely been the #1thing throughout my whole journey.

If you couldn’t be a doctor, what would you be?

I don’t think I can answer that question. That’s definitely, all I want to be. I think that’s why I’m so motivated and that’s why even on my toughest days when I’m literally crying because I’m so stressed out, it doesn’t stop me from just picking up the pieces and getting back on the horse, and going for it. This is what I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve never considered being something else. I can’t really picture myself being anything else. This is the career path that I want to take.

So, there you have it. If you have any more questions for Lola, let me know in the comments.

Stay Blessed,

Abisola