Major at SMCM: Biology
Year of graduation from SMCM: 2010
Year of entrance to professional school: 2011
Professional school: University of Maryland School of Medicine
Professional Field: Medicine
I believe that St. Mary's prepared me very well for medical school. I had many challenging courses while at St. Mary's, both science and non-science courses. This taught me how to study and prepare for different subjects and courses, which has certainly helped in medical school because of the amount and difficulty of the material. I was also able to participate in several extracurricular activities at St. Mary's, which taught me valuable time management skills that have been crucial since beginning medical school.
While different types of schools all have their own unique pros and cons with regard to choosing a career, my undergraduate studies at St. Mary's truly gave me insight into what type of career I wanted to pursue. I was exposed to many different subjects, each with connections to different types of careers. In addition to the classes I took, the relationships with staff and faculty I was able to develop at St. Mary's really helped shape my choice to attend medical school. Whenever I had a question, doubt, or other concern, I was always able to find a mentor to help lead me in the right direction.
As I have mentioned, everyone's experience in college is different. All of my peers prepared differently coming into medical school. That being said, I do feel that my experiences at St. Mary's provided a strong foundation for what I have and will learn in medical school. I still have a long way to go, as I am only in my first year of medical school, but thus far I am very happy with how my education at St. Mary's has laid the groundwork for all that I continue to learn.
One of the best strengths that St. Mary's pre-health advisory program, and St. Mary's in general, is the intimate relationships that are developed between students and faculty. As I was preparing for medical school, I had the email address, cell phone number, home phone number, and any other means of contact with multiple advisers and mentors who all knew me on a first name basis. As I have spoken with members of my medical school class, it has become evident to me that the level of effort that the faculty and staff of St. Mary's put into ensuring success of students is unheard of in other institutions.
It is difficult for me to elaborate on weaknesses of the St. Mary's pre-health advisory program, as I have never been exposed to a similar program from a different college or university. If I had to pick one weakness, it would be that larger undergraduate schools might have larger staffs with more resources. My pre-health advisory committee was always so great and accommodating to me, but at times I could see them working themselves to death to offer this same level of effort and enthusiasm to all other pre-health students. Different programs may be better equipped to spread out the students, lessening the burden on the committees.
As cliche as it may sound, I would advise current St. Mary's pre-health students to always work as hard as they possibly can. POB may seem like a ton of unnecessary information for the first year of college, but it really does help down the road. This is true for all college courses. Developing such dedicated work ethics will pay off time and time again, in all that you go on to do.
One more piece of advice that I could have done a much better job with, as I am sure certain pre-health advisers will attest to, is to heed the advice that these pre-health committees have. St. Mary's is able to produce so many successful students because of the amazing support system at the school. It is sometimes difficult to see at the time, but anything these advisers tell you is for a good reason.
Enjoy the time you have at St. Mary's, and take away as much as you can from it. What you do there will truly shape the person you will become, so make the most of it while you can.