Dr. Shree Nadkarni hosts this episode and welcomes Paul Kim, a medical student who is just finishing up his first year. Being in this position, he is able to provide plenty of advice on what to consider when pursuing a career in medicine.
Paul didn’t get accepted to medical school until his third application cycle, during which he reached out to MedSchoolCoach for guidance. He talks about his experience through the application process and into his first year of med school, as well as his most difficult interview questions.[0:47] Why Paul decided to pursue a career in medicine.
Paul’s father is a physician and his mom is a nurse, so he wanted to follow the same path since a young age. During college, he realized that he wanted to do something that connects him with people. Patients come to you with a problem, and a lot of the time, these problems are very personal to them. You get to intervene and make a difference in their lives.[3:14] Paul’s career goals.
His current interests are in trauma surgery, acute care surgery, and neurosurgery. Paul wants to do surgery because he enjoys working with his hands; a lot of his hobbies involve this as well.
Paul likes neurosurgery because he absolutely loves the brain. He studied neuroscience in undergrad, and in grad school he pursued an area on concentration in clinical neuroscience. He wants to do trauma surgery because he feels like it fits more with his personality characteristics. Later in his career, Paul sees himself pursuing a global health aspect, perhaps through Doctors Without Borders.[5:33] Advice for pre-meds to make the most out of their college years.
Paul remarks that anyone giving advice will say to stay on top of your classes and study hard, but he’s going to shy away from that by saying that you should learn how to take care of yourself. A lot of his classmates are not adjusting well to med school and are overwhelmed by the amount of work given to them, and Paul sees them being physically, emotionally, and mentally unhealthy. Paul encourages learning how to stay healthy in terms of diet, exercise, and spending time with friends and family.[7:47] What Paul found surprising about the application process.
Paul was surprised at the amount of waiting required, such as for emails, interviews, and results. It’s a very nerve-wracking process. Paul says that during these periods of waiting, you feel so powerless. Paul promotes being as patient as you can and pursuing your hobbies to stay healthy during the cycle.[9:22] Why Paul decided to work with MedSchoolCoach.
Paul got into med school during his third time applying. During grad school, he knew that this third time applying would probably be his last chance. He wanted to be as careful as he could, so that’s when he decided to get help from MedSchoolCoach. Paul worked with Dr. Renee Marinelli and says that she understood his situation and knew that his low GPA was a false representation. With Dr. Marinelli, Paul was able to carefully plan his grad school activities and his applications to explain his low marks in undergrad.[11:56] Paul’s advice for the application process and the most interesting interview question he was asked.
Paul says you have to realize what admissions committees are looking for. In hindsight, the places that Paul got interviews with had missions that aligned with his personal statement. You need to play on those strengths. When admissions committees admit you to their school, they’re making a gamble that you will be able to finish within a reasonable amount of time and reflect well on the school.
The most difficult interview questions Paul received came when he was being grilled about the state of healthcare in the USA. Therefore, Paul recommends being informed about how healthcare is set up in the country and about its downfalls.[15:18] The best thing that Paul has learned in medical school.
Colloquially, Paul thinks that med school is so wild. Before coming to med school, you’re not allowed to talk to patients and have very little contact. In Paul’s school on day one, his class was placed into wards and expected to talk to patients. Within a few months, he was assisting a neurosurgeon with a spine surgery.[17:39] Paul’s concluding remarks.
Enjoy the whole experience. Don’t just look forward to the day you finally become a practicing doctor. Try to learn something each step of the way.