Medical School 411
No doubt about it—medical schools are looking for the brightest minds and the most motivated students. While it takes hard work and commitment to make it to medical school, it takes a very special person to succeed there.
With a combination of courage, passion and a little bit of humor, FSC’s very own Cheryl Shafer is getting it done. Graduating last year with a 4.0, Cheryl was one of a select number of aspiring doctors to be accepted to the prestigious University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville. At a question and answer session organized by Florida Southern’s Pre-Professional Society, Cheryl graciously shared her experiences as a first-year medical student with a room full of hopeful undergraduates.
So what is it really like?
“The problem is not the difficulty of the subject material,” she explained, but rather the immense volume of material to be learned. With about ten times as much information to cover in the same time span as your undergraduate studies, Cheryl puts it simply: “Information is like a waterfall, it just keeps coming at you!”
Different, but not as different as you might think
Cheryl was relieved to find that the people she’s met at medical school are not so different from the friends she’s made at Florida Southern. Despite the horror stories that are so often perpetuated about medical school, team work, camaraderie, and support seemed to be the recurrent theme as Cheryl responded to questions about classes and course work.“Everyone has an intense drive to learn as much as possible about everything, which is a wonderful environment to be in.”
Will I be prepared?
GPAs, MCAT scores and getting in
“I think I can” get it all done
For Cheryl, careful organization and a good understanding of her learning style seem to be the keys to her success. Schedules during medical school are relatively flexible, as "everything outside of class is determined by you." There are no assignments or problem sets and everything is self-directed. Professors will provide many ways to learn the materials, but students themselves must decide which method suits them best and how much material to retain.
Having adjusted now to starting her days at 5:00 a.m., Cheryl understands that these will be the most difficult years of her professional training. “If you want to take responsibility for people’s health and well-being,” Cheryl stated adamantly, “you’ve got to be committed to learning.”
Will I be “grossed” out?
How do you know if medicine is for you?