Double Major: neuroscience & Music
Favorite class you took at Michigan:
Psych 211 – this Project Outreach class allowed me to get involved in the community, playing music for residents of a memory care facility. The class not only exposed me to issues that the geriatric population face, especially individuals who suffer from memory impairing diseases, but also allowed me to gain some valuable community service experience. I took the class during the fall semester of my junior year, and was able to continue volunteering at the facility into the next semester. When the pandemic hit, I obviously wasn’t going in, but they let me give performances over Zoom starting back up in the fall of 2020, which was a unique experience. I was still able to see some of the people I had formed relationships with, albeit through my computer screen, and I’m very thankful that Psych 211 lent me that opportunity.
When/How did you study for the MCAT: I did my content review during the winter semester of my junior year, then spent May and June after classes ended taking and reviewing practice exams. I actually took the AAMC Sample Test before starting my content review so I had an idea of how the questions would be worded, and where I stood at that point in terms of what I knew. For materials, I used Kaplan books for my content review, and purchased online materials for additional content review and practice exams. I had access to Kaplan exams via my study books, I also tried a one week free trial of UWorld for some content review, and I purchased some BluePrint exams and split my account with some friends to help lower the cost. I also purchased the AAMC bundle and reviewed all the question banks and took all four practice exams, which I found to be the most helpful resources.
When did you take the MCAT: June 27, 2020 – the summer in between my junior and senior year.
What was your pre-med experience: I had a pretty good pre-med experience! I relied a lot on advice from my mentors and academic/pre-health advisors, as I don’t have family or friends who have gone to medical school in the past. During my freshman year I constructed a 4 year plan that put a lot of my fears and worries to rest, knowing that I was going to be able to make it work. That plan changed dramatically from semester to semester as my ideas of what I wanted to major in changed, but it was still comforting to have something to reference and fall back on if needed. I was very open to advice from anyone who would give it, and sought out lots of advice myself too!
Recommendations/advice for current students: Listen to the people who know what they’re talking about. For me, this meant getting lots of advice and information from my pre-health advisor during 1-on-1 meetings and office hours. I would highly recommend current students start visiting any pre-health advisor’s office hours just to start getting information from people who know how the process works very well. It’s super easy to start comparing yourself to other pre-med students, especially when you don’t feel adequate, but that often is more destructive than helpful, so I’d suggest trying your hardest not to let the actions and choices of others influence what you do. Everyone’s journey to medicine is unique to them, and if you can find activities that align with your values and show that in an application, you’re going to be just fine. Regarding my MCAT experience, I found 6 months of studying was too much for me, and felt very burnt out around the time of my exam. I thought spreading everything out would help lessen the workload, but the prolonged stress wasn’t something I anticipated. I’d suggest making a study plan that consists of 2-3 months of content review (rather than 4 months) plus ~1 month of practice exams and review (rather than 2 months).