Date : 4/26/2020
Interviewer: Richard Zhu
Interviewed: Kevin Chen and Alice Yu
Alice Yu, 2nd Year UCLA medical school student (UPenn Graduate).
Kevin Chen, 1st Year UCLA medical school student (Harvard Graduate)
Richard Zhu, freshman at North Hollywood High School and Cindy Xie, senior at North Hollywood High School
A (Alice Yu):
K (Kevin Chen):
Q: Could you talk about your experiences from Middle School to Medical School?
K : Growing up in boston, I went to east coast schools. I went to harvard for 4 years as an undergrad, and then went to Boston's children's hospital, then moved to LA to attend the UCLA medical school.
A: I forgot the middle school experience, but what I remember was I went to Uchicago associated highschools, and a pathway that led me to UCLA.
Q: Were there any extracurricular activities that you took that helped you pursue a medical career path?
Kevin: Through high school, I didn’t really have a specific extracurricular path. Instead, I focused more on helping people out. I feel that being a doctor is more about seeing if you actually like helping this out.
Alice: It’s kind of early to specifically prepare for medical school applications, considering that the audience is primarily middle school and highschoolers. Doing things for applications sake is fake and easily seen.
Q: Is there anything you would do differently in highschool and middle school?
A: I will cut down on the extracurriculars. I spent myself doing all sorts of things, such as math club, as I felt pressured to do the other extracurriculars.
K: I will focus more on my own personal interests, try to make more friends, and put time into things that I am passionate about.
Q: How did you know medecine was the right path for you?
K: I felt that I really wanted to study medicine. I thought that life wasn’t fair, as I was personally affected as a lot of illnesses. It was a combination of being affected by conditions, and interest in highschool.
A: My older sister was a doctor, so initially I did not want to become a doctor. Afterwards, I saw how beneficial it was, and gravitated and grew more inclined to that position.
Q: What did you not expect about being a medical student?
K: The transition was tough, as I had to adjust from doing experiments to studying and testing for school
A: The attitude was different. In medical college, you learn from day 1 that you have to learn and apply the knowledge that you learn and it is not about passing a test
Q: What did you expect about medical school?
A: There is a lot of testing and growth involved in medicine.
K: You have to be ready to be in debt for a while, and move your life around, as it is a tough class. Everything is so crazy, for instance, residency you only know in 1 day where you are going. There are a lot of tough sacrifices involved in this career.
Q: Can you talk about your experience in pre med in undergraduate? When do you decide that you go into med school?
K: You don’t really have to make a decision on when you chose to become a doctor. Also, the colleges aren’t really different in terms of the college. Pre med is really competitive. So, try to find a group of friends with diverse backgrounds, and grow and learn from each other.
A: I went to UPENN, it was very competitive. Try not to invest too much time in classes that you don’t like, and focus on the stuff you want to know.
Q: Anything else?
A: Try to take sociology! It’s a useful course.
K: In the asian community, I think it feels like a culture of one upping and a toxic competitive culture. Instead, my parents were very hands off, as they gave me the freedom to grow. This is instead of following a template to get into college. Let it be up to the kid.
A: Yeah, I agree, there is no perfect formula for success. Furthermore, you can have a successful resume, but the interview is still extremely important. Don’t neglect the social and academic portions of med school.
K: To build on alice’s point, you need to build up your social skills if you want to pursue a career in college. If you are building and collaborating with your peers, you will build up the necessary social skills. Also, be more culturally and socially aware, especially now.
A: You don’t need to stress about the SAT, as it isn’t everything.
Q: Are there any specialties that you guys are leaning to at the moment?
A: The thing about medicine, you don’t really learn much until you have to execute it.
K: Yeah, I am not worried about that right now, I am worried and thinking solely about passing my classes right now.
Q: As parents, how can we draw the line? any suggestions?
K: I do agree. For every kid that is successful, there are also some who are less successful. Personally, I think that a child becomes more focused on pleasing their parents instead of achieving something that is personal to them. Personally, if I felt that need, then I would resist and push back.
A: I think that instead that course correction is a better way to parent. If there was a controlling body, for sure, I would have felt resentful.
K: I want everyone to know that there is a balance between a controlling and over regulating parent. Please strike that balance.
Q: Has anything impressive happened to you during your study in the medical field? Like the things that you didn’t expect to happen during this journey, or the things that you found very interesting
K: Going into med school, everyone knows the big ones, so I did not know that there were so many different specializations.
Q: Which habits or personal management you built up since your high school benefit you in medical school?
A: Try to learn how you learn best. Also, don’t procrastinate on the study.
K: The most important thing to me was learning how to manage my time. The best ability is to set a schedule and be able to do the things you need to do. Try to plan out your study routine as well.
Q:Can you describe the process of becoming a doctor?
K: For highschool try to focus more on applying to college, don’t think to hard about the classes you take. There is a pathway. You can either skip the 4 years and go directly into med school, or you can wait a while before applying to go into med school. You also need to take some necessary classes, and then apply to med school. After med school, you apply to a residency, and go into a hospital.
A: The shortest process is to go from 4 years of med school, then go to 3 years of residency, and then go to specialized hospitals and departments.
Q: Do you have any apps that you use to help you study and not procrastinate
Answer (both): A unanimous no. Just turn off the phone.
Q: Do you need to have ‘perfect’ grades?
A: Grades are only one part of the picture. However, what matters more is that you build a cohesive image about why you don’t want to be a doctor.
K: Don’t stress about them, I got a couple C’s in college, it worked out okay, just don’t worry about it.
Q:Is there any creative work you do when training to be a doctor?
A: Not right now, just studying to pass exams.
Q:Does the medical school use any software to help you to decide what kind of doctor you want to be? Just curious? Do you think being good at drawing helps you to take medical notes?
A: We sort of fumble and bumble our ways through to find our field.
K: They aren’t doing much.
Q:Is it necessary to volunteer in hospitals in high school? Is the volunteer work very important for application to MD school? How many years are usually required?
A: I think the med schools would like to see that you have some personal exposure towards med school.
K: It doesn’t have to be in a hospital. The main thing is trying to get into college. However it is proborally necessary to figure it out whether or not you want to be in a hospital.
Q:Can you introduce some ideas about the BS/MD program? Do you think it's a good choice?
A: If you do BS/MD, try to do hospital experience.
K: You don’t have to do the MCAT, as well as other various programs. However, it is hard to determine whether or not you want to be a doctor at the young age at 17 or 18.
Q:What is the MCAT?
A: It is the medical admissions standardized test. Just the SAT for Med school.
Q:Does a biology related major in college help in the future if you are going to med school?
A: It has no impact on the medication. However, it is personally beneficial when taking the advanced social and psychological courses.
Q:Alice, you mentioned that it's nice to take some sociology classes, can you talk a little bit more about it?
A: Yeah, for a densely populated city like LA. It is important to understand the sociology climate around the city of LA, as you understand how the system works as a result.
Q:Is med school hard?
A: It’s not easy.
K: Yeah, it’s pretty hard. A thing that I discovered was that as life goes on, things get pretty hard. So the best thing to do is just to find your’re own internal motivation to push hard and get through med school.