Hi everyone! My name is Jessica and I am honored that I was asked by Merck Manual to tell the story of my journey to medical school and beyond. I have decided to start from the beginning and through a series of posts, I will tell you about my experiences first getting to medical school and now getting to residency.
Unlike many in medicine, I did not grow up knowing I was going to be a doctor. I had always loved math and figured I would become an accountant like my dad. It wasn’t until my parents decided to move us from Canada to North Carolina while I was in high school that I really gave my career aspirations any thought. I had always loved math and science and decided that maybe medicine would be a career I would enjoy. Throughout the rest of my high school career, I spent my summers exploring the career of medicine and ultimately decided that I wanted to become a doctor of osteopathic medicine (D.O.).
The time came to apply to colleges and I was fortunate enough to receive an acceptance into the Honors College at East Carolina University (Go Pirates!). The next step was to decide on a major. I loved both biology and chemistry and felt guilty choosing one over the other. I was told majoring in both would be extremely difficult but I decided to do it anyway. Throughout my time in college, I decided to tutor general chemistry, become a general chemistry lab TA, be an active leader in our campus’ chemistry club, and work in an analytical chemistry lab. With that, I am extremely proud to say that I managed to graduate on time with bachelor’s degrees in both biology and chemistry with honors.
But, applying to medical school was a whole other beast. I had scheduled my MCAT during the semester when I was taking physical chemistry along with other higher level biology courses and unfortunately put studying for the MCAT on the back-burner. I managed to score a 25 (500 for the new exam) and decided that I would just retake it if I didn’t get into med school the first round. After applying late and with my average MCAT score, I felt extremely blessed when I was granted acceptance to the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine campus in Georgia. My dreams of becoming a doctor were finally coming true!