22 minutes | Dec 1st 2020

How This Premed Student Got Accepted to Medical School Early

Med applicant Mary Thomas shares her path to medical school acceptance early in this year's application cycle [Show summary] Mary Thomas will begin her medical school studies next summer after receiving an exceptionally early acceptance in October. She shares how she achieved that early acceptance, along with insights into her application process and the personal passion driving her pursuit of a career in medicine. How this non-science major gained a spot in medical school [Show notes] Are you planning to apply to medical school next summer? Would you like to be accepted by November? Mary Thomas did just that. She is happily anticipating the start of medical school after being accepted in October. (Yes, you read that right!)  Mary graduated from Pitzer College in 2019, took a couple of gap years, and applied this cycle to medical school. Let's learn more specifically how Mary got her first acceptance to medical school in October of this most extraordinary year. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, your background, and where you grew up? [1:56] I grew up in Edmonds, a suburb outside of Seattle. I grew up with two older siblings. I grew up with my parents being really involved with their jobs, so I spent a lot of time alone growing up. I was a really avid reader, and that was something that led me to become really passionate about social justice in high school. That is how I ended up going to Pitzer College in Southern California, because I knew it was a school that really emphasized social justice in its curriculum. I ended up going down there for college, and it was a really good fit for me, and it was a big part of how I ended up pursuing a career in medicine. How did you decide to pursue a career in medicine? What were some of the formative experiences? [2:39] My older sister, we've always been really close. She's in medical school right now, and that was something that was always in my mind as something that I might be interested in. But I would say I didn't become really driven towards it until I was in college. I started working with a volunteer organization, a grassroots women's mental health group. I was working with these women that came from really challenging backgrounds and faced a lot of really difficult circumstances, and I was a really passionate volunteer for that organization. I was there for the entire three years, starting my sophomore year of college. I was totally devoted. I think I missed maybe three of our weekly meetings the entire time that I worked with them. As a volunteer, what did you do with these women? [3:29] We had our weekly meetings, totally community-led, where we would do a wide range of activities like meditation. Sometimes we did things like yoga. We did a unit on dance therapy. We would do art therapy. We would have a lot of discussions. We didn't really call it group therapy, but discussions where we were able to share a little bit about experiences that other people might not understand outside of that community. My volunteer work was helping plan these weekly meetings. Sometimes we'd have presentations about certain therapeutic techniques and things like that. That was my role with that organization, and I loved working with them. Though I was a super devoted volunteer, I felt like I didn't have that much to offer. That was what made me realize that medicine would be a really powerful career for me to pursue because the women in this group didn't have a lot of access to healthcare. I realized that maybe that's something that I would want to pursue to be able to give even more to this group. I felt as just a college student, I didn't have that much to give, even though I really wanted to help and it was such an awesome organization. Were the challenges that these women faced mostly financial? Emotional? Socioeconomic? It was a mental health group, but specifically a group for Latina immigrants.
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