1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. My name is Maria and I am applying for medical school this cycle. I’m originally from Colombia and moved to the US about ten years ago. Many years ago, back when I lived in Colombia, I started my career in architecture, and then worked for a few years in the field. I recently -about two years ago- decided to switch careers to fulfill my dream of becoming a doctor. As an older applicant, I’ve had many life experiences and after all I’ve been through, I’m extremely happy I decided to do this.
2. Who was your favorite teacher in school and how did he or she impact you Dr. Ely; my chemistry professor. She helped me through a real struggle with general chemistry, and she was so amazing as a professor and as a person! She helped me overcome certain fear I had toward chemistry. Last Fall, she endorsed me to become a chemistry tutor with the University’s athletic department, and a teaching assistant with the chemistry department.
3. When did you first decide you wanted to become a doctor and why? I remember being very young when I first told my mom I would become a doctor. That idea was always in my head.
Growing up, my dad always spoke of my grandfather, who suffered from Parkinson’s, and he would tell the story about how his dad would go to the market, and my dad, a teenager then, would get a call saying that his dad fell down in the middle of the street and couldn’t get up (due to the muscle stiffness associated with Parkinson’s). My grandfather spent his last few years suffering from this painful disease.
I wanted to know more about it, and wanted to find a way to help people with the disease. I was always scared my dad would get it, and I remember thinking that if he ever did, I would be there to “save” him. Luckily, my dad is in his mid-60s, and is very healthy 🙂
4. What area of medicine are you interested in? Although I know this could change with the experience that medical school will bring, I have always liked surgery, emergency medicine, and pediatrics. I think I’m excited about those three fields because for the past couple of years, I’ve had volunteer and shadowing experiences in these three fields mainly. We will see what the future brings.
5. What’s the coolest experience you’ve had so far on your premedical journey? I shadowed surgeons in the operating room, and those were extreme adrenaline-producing opportunities for me.
I’m also a Spanish-English interpreter for a local pediatrics clinic for low income Hispanic families. It feels so amazing to help those children and their families, as I feel I can truly connect with them thanks to my Hispanic background.
6. What is your favorite book? I’m a fan of self-help books and meditation. I’ve always been interested in how other people face their challenges in life and how they become better people after those experiences.
My favorite book is The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, as I feel that Deepak Chopra outlines some of the most basic principles to live a spiritual and successful life.
7. Tell us one thing interesting about you that most people don’t know. I’ve played the piano since I was eight. I try to practice when I have time off, which is scarce nowadays. Something else -but most people do know- is that I’m married and we have a 7 month old baby girl. She’s our miracle 🙂
8. If you couldn’t be a doctor, what would you want to do? I won’t take no for an answer. I would wait and continue to pursue my dream. I’ve had many life experiences and I am convinced I was born to be a doctor.
9. What has been your biggest obstacle as a premed and how did you (or are you) overcome it? I don’t see many things as obstacles, but instead, as learning situations which guide my path. One of the most challenging situations for me was that, since I was pregnant during the Fall 2017 semester, I had to take two Incomplete grades to then fulfill the final exams during the Spring 2019, which was a time with very little to no sleep for me as a new mom.
Being a mom is the most rewarding thing ever. However, it’s been a little more challenging than I thought to complete my prerequisites while being a first-time mom: time-wise and effort-wise. Thankfully, my mom and my husband have been crucial in this journey.
10. What do you like most about Diverse Medicine? Studying for the MCAT has been a marathon, and I feel that between the networking opportunities, the podcasts and other people’s shared experiences on Diverse Medicine, I’ve learned a lot and my journey has been more fun.
Are you a premed? Join Diverse Medicine now. It's free!