The ProspectiveDoctor Podcast

From Track Star to Med Student with the Evolving Medic

Erkeda DeRouen talks to JR Smith, a second year medical student at the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine and a content creator at Evolving Medic. Today Erkeda chats with JR about his journey from being an Olympic hopeful to a medical student. They also discuss JR’s experience in applying for medical schools and how he improved his study habits.

  • [01:30] From Track and Field to Medicine
  • [07:22] JR’s Medical School Applications
  • [12:10] Effective Study Techniques, Tools, and Routine
  • [15:11] A typical day in JR Smith’s life
  • [18:36] What would JR do differently?
  • [21:45] Best Advice that JR Has Received
  • [23:50] Helping Others Through Evolving Medic

From Track Star to Med Student

JR had dreams of becoming a professional track and field athlete. Duke University recruited him as a freshman for their varsity team. Six months into college, JR dislocated his knee while competing. It was a grave injury that almost warranted a leg amputation. As a young Olympic hopeful, JR was confused and scared about how this injury would affect his future. With the help of his doctor and care team, he was able to return to his sport 18 months later.

JR’s doctor healed his physical injury, but also provided emotional support throughout the ordeal. This experience inspired JR to become a physician, to impact patients’ lives by helping them get better while giving them hope.

JR’s Medical School Application Process

During his medical school applications, JR recalls that he was uncertain about the process.  He admits that he didn’t have a high GPA and even took the MCAT twice. Despite this, he applied to the schools he wanted without being aware of the recommended grades. It was only after he submitted his applications that he feared he might not receive acceptance to any of his chosen schools because of his scores. Surprisingly, JR got invited to interviews at highly ranked schools. This just goes to show that the application process is not just about your academic achievement, but there are other ways to excel. Your uniqueness is an asset. Highlight your strengths.

Adopt Better Study Habits for Med School

JR noticed that he has better study habits now as a med student compared to when he has an undergrad. However, it took him months of experimenting to set up a learning system that worked for him. At first he tried to copy his colleagues’ techniques and resources, but that ended up being ineffective. Eventually, he looked for evidence based strategies like spaced repetition and active recall to improve his study habits. He personalized his learning to suit his needs and schedule. Continuous review is a must if you want to retain knowledge for the long-term.

Learn more from Evolving Medic by visiting their website, YouTube channel, and Instagram.

Got questions, feedback, or suggestions? Send a message to Dr. Erkeda DeRouen’s Instagram or MedSchoolCoach’s Instagram.

Erkeda DeRouen

Dr. Erkeda DeRouen is a graduate of Hampton University with a B.S. in Biological Sciences, followed by completing medical school at the Boston University School of Medicine. She then completed residency at The University of Maryland Family and Community Medicine Program. After that, she worked at an underserved community health center, and currently is an Associate Medical Director of a telemedicine company. She recently became one of the first 1,000 lifestyle medicine certified physicians in the world! Her areas of interest include: health equity and eliminating health disparities, service of underserved populations, HIV management, transgender care, mentorship, and lifestyle medicine.

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