Recent fourth-year matcher Margaret Schellen of the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, NE tells us what she believes to be crucial to success in medical school and beyond.
1. Tell us about yourself: Where are you from? What is your undergraduate degree and where did you receive it? Did you do anything between undergraduate and medical school?
Margaret Schellen: I am from Waterloo, NE. I received my bachelor’s degree from University of Nebraska-Omaha in biotechnology. I went right from college into medical school. My husband and I married this past September.
2. What residency program will you be joining and where?
MS: I will be completing a pediatric residency here in Omaha at the UNMC-Children’s-Creighton Program.
3. Looking back on your medical school experience, what would you say to the young and naïve “first-year-you”?
MS: Don’t spend all of your time studying. Sit down and study hard for smaller increments of time and enjoy your free time!
4. What things did you do that you believe were valuable to succeed the first two years in the classroom?
MS: My first year, I spent all day, every day studying. During my second year, I spent two to three hours per day studying (not every day either) and spent the rest of my time with friends and family. I scored much higher during the second year than my first! Begin your extracurricular, volunteer, and research experiences during the first two years because you will not have much free time during your third year and then it is too late once your fourth year rolls around. Don’t worry about shadowing. You will get plenty of that during your third year.
5. What things did you do that you believe were valuable to succeed the second two years through clinical rotations?
MS: Although you will have exams to test your knowledge, the majority of your points and how well you do during clinicals is based upon your attitude and motivation. Be the person that is helpful. Run and grab whatever your attendings or patients need. Always act interested (even if you’re not). Don’t yawn. Ask questions.
6. What things did you do during your four years of medical school that stuck out or particularly impressed your residency program?
MS: Honestly, everyone is involved and does volunteer experiences. Research is always good to have, but once your receive an interview (which is mostly based upon your USMLE scores and your grades during medical school) the residency program chooses you based upon your personality.
7. What was your level of involvement in research and other extracurricular activities, and your opinion on how important that involvement is?
MS: You don’t need to be involved in tons of different activities. Pick a few that you like and stay involved in those. Try to hold a leadership position in some time of activity. Research is always good.
8. What attracted you to your chosen specialty?
MS: Who doesn’t love kiddos?!
9. What attracted you to your residency program?
MS: I was looking for a university-based program with exposure to all of the different subspecialties. A group of nice residents, a mid-size program, and I wanted to be close to home.
10. What things did you do to maintain your sanity in medical school?
MS: Figure out what you love to do and do it as often as you can!