Name: Amanda Colbert
Undergraduate university: The University of Michigan, 2010
Medical school: Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, 2016
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I have wanted to become a physician for as long as I can remember.
What led to your interest in medicine?
Various experiences led to my interest in medicine. The most notable one was my senior project in high school when I was able to shadow a cardiothoracic surgeon for two weeks and observe surgeries in person. That affirmed my desire to go into medicine.
Who or what inspired you?
Having ambitious friends (some of whom are also going into medicine,) was my greatest inspiration. Beyond that, my father’s best friend, whom I consider an uncle, is a physician who has been instrumental in my success and path to medical school.
What made you decide to go to medical school?
There is no other career path that I found myself interested in. I’ve always wanted to go into the health field, it was just a matter of which track I chose to follow. Encouragement from family and friends inspired me to decide to apply to medical school.
Did anyone encourage or discourage you from applying to medical school?
Family has always been my number one support, as well as my fellow pre-medical friends. They helped me push to get through certain classes and not give up or get discouraged.
How did you prepare for the medical school application process?
I applied to and got accepted into a program through my undergraduate university. The Profile For Success program offered an MCAT preparation course, tutoring, mentoring, and overall preparation for the medical school application process.
Did you need financial aid to pay for medical school?
Yes, I have all student loans and a few scholarships/grants.
What do you enjoy most about medical school?
My classmates! They make it bearable. We have a really amazing group of first years and I have formed some long-lasting friendships. Being with great people makes medical school not so daunting. Finding a good group that supports you both academically and socially is key.
Are you a member of a unique demographic? If so, please describe how that shaped your medical school experience.
As an African American student in medical school, I am one of only a few. I rarely take notice to the fact that I am one of so few because we are all here for the same goal—to excel in medical school. However, I have recently become involved with the Student National Medical Association; being a part of that group helps me realize that outside of my medical school, there are tons of minority students working towards the same goal of becoming physicians. The conferences that SNMA have help me and fellow minority students network with one another and help us realize that there is and will continue to be substantial minority representation and overall diversity in the medical field.
How do you balance your personal time with medical school?
I’ll admit that sometimes I am not too great at this. A consistent balance would be most effective but at times I find myself focused on school for days at a time and use the weekend or time after a big exam to unwind, catch up on TV shows, or do something for myself. In reality, I should be making a little bit of time for myself each day so as to not get burnt out. I use my personal time as a reward for working hard academically.
What advice do you have for new applicants considering a career in medicine?
Make sure that you are 100% certain that you want to go into medicine. The field is rewarding in so many ways, but it will cost you time and lots of money if you are not certain that you are dedicated to getting through it. Pre-medical students should get as much clinical experience as they can to make sure that they can handle the unexpected things that the field of medicine can throw your way.
Do you have additional information or thoughts to share that would be helpful to prospective students?
Don’t give up. Not every one gets accepted into medical school the first time they apply, or to their first choice medical school. Everyone has a different path into medical school. Some follow a traditional path, others an untraditional path. As long as you keep the goal in mind and know that it is what you want, it is attainable. Don’t let rejection defeat you. Let it help to re-shape and enhance your application the next time. Let the unsuccessful events help write the story for your success in the future.
If you had the opportunity to talk to a potential medical student, what would you tell him/her, off the top of your head?
Medical school is not as frightening as it may seem. It seems intimidating and for some it can be, but just remember the end goal and keep that light at the end of the tunnel in mind. Involve yourself in activities that help bring back the clinical aspect of what you want to do; volunteering in the Emergency Department or shadowing a specialist in a field you think you’re interested in. It is a break from the books and a chance to remind yourself that medical school is not all studies, there are hands-on and rewarding experiences to partake in as well.
Filed Under: Premed Corner
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