Today’s Match Day Spotlight was nominated by one of her peers, has been featured on the front page of her school’s newspaper, and successfully matched to her first choice program in the military match. Meet Jameaka Hamilton, fourth year at Medical University of South Caroline and soon-to-be OB/GYN resident at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas.
Tell us about yourself.
Jameaka Hamilton: Hi! I’m Jameaka Hamilton, 25 years old, from Blythewood, SC. I’m a fourth-year medical student at the Medical University of South Carolina going into OB/GYN! My parents were both in the military and were very supportive when I decided to join the Air Force to help pay for medical school. I have one younger sister who is pursuing a PhD in Entomology at NC State University.
Looking back on your medical school experience, what would you say to the young and naïve “first-year you?”
JH: I would tell my naïve first year self to have more fun. At the beginning of medical school, it feels as though there isn’t enough time to study all the material in your syllabus and have a life so you end up compromising and miss out on special events with friends and family. Finding that balance is key so that you don’t lose sight of why you wanted to go into medicine in the first place.
What tips do you have for USMLE?
JH: Have a study plan, and stick to it! It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by how much material you must review in such a short amount of time, but know that you can and will succeed doing it! Keep your support system close, and take breaks to enjoy yourself. Know that just because it’s your dedicated study time doesn’t mean you can’t still have (some) fun!
What advice do you have for the students going through clinical rotations?
JH: Be prepared. Be on time. Be a team player.
What recommendations do you have for medical students to maintain their sanity?
JH: To maintain your sanity as a medical student, it is incredibly important that you maintain healthy outlets for stress! Find a hobby that you enjoy that adds value to your life. Keep in touch with your family and friends who have supported you up to this point in your career. And above all else, lean on your classmates who are going through this journey alongside you!
How did medical school differ from your expectations?
JH: Medical school exceeded any preconceived expectations I had! It required more time management skills to manage all the material you’re responsible for as a medical student while at the same time trying to have a life.
What things did you do during your four years of medical school that you believe particularly impressed your residency program?
JH: I took the initiative to get involved in several leadership roles across campus to try to make an impact in my medical school community. I got involved with several research projects early on as I knew I was planning on entering a competitive specialty. I also made an effort to improve my mentoring skills by working with underclassmen and also high school students interested in pursuing a career in medicine.
What attracted you to your chosen specialty?
JH: I always knew I wanted to pursue a career in a surgical specialty even before coming to medical school, but it wasn’t until my third-year clinical rotations that I found “my people.” Obstetrics and gynecology offered me the balance I was looking for in a specialty during my clinical rotations — the opportunity to provide primary care while at the same time becoming as a surgeon. It also doesn’t hurt that they get to help bring life into the world on a regular basis, which is pretty awesome!
What is your biggest fear about beginning residency?
JH: My biggest fear about beginning residency would be making the transition from student to resident. Almost overnight we are tasked with much more responsibility than we’ve ever been given, but I’m ready for the challenge!
What advice would you give third year students about to start the Match process?
JH: The Match process (whether with the military or as a civilian) can be crazy expensive and sometimes stressful, but it’s really an opportunity to explore what’s most important to you in the next stage of your medical career. Use your mentor in your specialty to help determine how competitive of an applicant you are so you can make the best decisions on the type and number of programs you apply to. Figure out what region(s) of the country you’re willing to apply and if you’re really interested in a specific program, considering doing an away rotation there to improve your chances of getting an interview offer. Go on as many interviews as you can and try to go to the resident dinners! It’s the best opportunity to get an impression on how the residents like the program and get your questions answered. Take notes on what you like and dislike about all the programs you interview with to make it easier when you make your rank list.
And a fun bonus question! Please share an easy and quick recipe that got you through tough weeks in medical school:
JH: Having a crock-pot makes life so much easier! Here is one of my favorite crock-pot recipes:
Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Cashew Chicken
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 4 hours
- 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin and chopped into bite-size pieces
- 1 red pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
- 2 small potatoes (I used red), peeled and chopped
- ½ white or yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups unsweetened coconut milk (or one 14-ounce can + ½ cup chicken broth)
- 3 tablespoons yellow curry powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon of salt (or to taste)
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
- cashews, cilantro, cooked rice for serving
- Add chicken pieces, red peppers, potatoes, and onions to the slow cooker.
- In a medium bowl whisk together chicken broth, curry powder, cumin, salt, and cayenne pepper. Pour mixture into slow cooker and stir to coat chicken and veggies. Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours or on low 4-5 hours.
- About 10-15 minutes before serving, stir in coconut milk. Stir just before serving and top with cashews and freshly chopped cilantro.