“Before I started medical school, I had a preconceived idea of what my experience might look like,” Theresa Sanborn admits. A second year osteopathic medical student at Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Theresa had a lot to acclimate to when first starting out.
“All that time I thought I was looking through a crystal-clear glass door into the medical school world where everything just had to be given to students in a reasonable manner, and that it couldn’t really be constant reading and talking about science and medicine. That glass door turned out to be a brick wall, and all the ideas I had thought of what being a medical student would be were construed and made up in my own head.”
Medical school is hard enough, but what about getting in? Theresa has one piece of advice for prospective students that she says made all the difference for her: stay true to yourself.
“I speak from experience,” she says. “I had to apply to medical school a second time before being accepted. One of the biggest things I changed about my application—besides adding more clinical hours—was my personal statement. I remodeled it to better reflect my true self. Instead of talking about my mother’s health scare and how I lived through it, I spoke about events that directly impacted my own life. How yoga and a rough start in my undergraduate program had transformed me, and how these difficult times led me to realize what I truly wanted in life.”
“I truly believe that if your intentions are right, and you have been able to show your one-of-a-kind individuality through your personal statement, activities done in undergrad, and your interview, you will end up in the place in which you’re meant to be,” she says. “Keep moving along and doing your thing. Stay focused on what makes you happy and what gives you a sense of purpose and genuine service to others. Eventually, you will see that all the things you did and all those hard roads and decisions led to a life that’s perfectly right for you.”
And part of being true to yourself, Theresa explains, is to believe in your goals and your accomplishments. “Don’t discount yourself because it doesn’t seem like you ‘measure up’ to someone else,” she warns. “If you don’t get into school, you may need to refine your application to the point that your passion is paired with your individuality in the most concise and clearest way possible.”