It has been a long but exciting journey that has culminated in acceptance at Western University's Osteopathic program where I will be starting in the summer of 2009.
I started my journey towards med school in high school, where I took AP Biology, honors Chemistry, Anatomy and Physiology in my junior and senior years. Saddleback and IVC provided a solid ground of the basic sciences, where I graduated cum laude with an A.A. in 2005.
Throughout my community college years, I attended any meeting pertaining to medicine that I could find. I joined AMSA-UCI, volunteered at Orangewood Childrens' home and signed up for the annual “Women in Medicine” conference. I also was fortunate to attend a 14-day medical tour of Australia where I got to see the med schools on the east coast and learn about the Royal Flying Doctors.
I volunteered as a Clinical Care Extender at Hoag for 400+ hours where I experienced seven different departments, from gynecology/urology to the main operating room. A summer research opportunity allowed me to participate in cancer research at City of Hope's Beckman institute where I completed my project presented results in a poster session to all PhD's at the institute.
The Princeton Review prepared me for the MCAT with a structured review, materials, tests and knowledgeable instructors. I got a 30S overall (13 Biological Science, 9 Physical Science, 8 Verbal).
In 2007, I applied to 29 allopathic schools and was rejected by all of them – I didn't even get an interview. My MCAT and GPA were strong, and I graduated cum laude with a double major in Communications (Advertising) and Biological Science (Molecular Biology and Biotechnology). My personal character was strong because I was born and raised in South Africa – the only explanation for my rejections was that I submitted my application late.
After reconfirming my dedication for becoming a doctor and realizing my pull toward the more well-rounded education of osteopathic medicine, I decided to apply to again, this time to 5 osteopathic schools.
On my year off, I was certified as a LifeStyle Educator through Metagenics. I work with patients to change their lifestyle habits concerning nutrition, stress management and exercise. My work has allowed me to experience a “non-hospital” view of medicine.
This year off also allowed me to get involved in Dr. Tolmasky's lab with antibiotic resistance research. I am hoping to complete my project before I jump into WesternU's 2013 DO class!
I am relieved to have finally reached a new beginning and feel fortunate to have had the support of my friends, fellow students and the guidance of many faculty members.
Some tips for those on your journey: don't give up, take as many practice MCAT's as you can stomach, get involved with volunteering (it balances the heavy coursework), apply early and always take advantage of the health professions advising office!