Thursday, May 17, 2012

Applying after graduating early: Interview with Enstin

Enstin graduated from Rice in three years and applied to medical schools the summer after graduation. After a gap year, she is starting medical school this fall in Houston. She adores houses, loves baking, and thinks a lot. This makes her a fantastic conversation partner especially when I need to talk out deep thoughts. We’ve explored outdoor parks together and she inspired me to run my first 5k earlier this year.

Enstin spent the entire month of April in Costa Rica and now that she is back, we caught up.

First, did you always plan on graduating a year early?
No- I actually didn’t decide until October of my last year at Rice! I had been thinking about graduating early over the summer because I had completed my graduation requirements, but I didn’t decide until fall semester.
I mostly decided to graduate early because of financial reasons. It made sense to save a year’s worth of tuition if I was done anyway. Also while I was interning over the summer, I realized how much I could learn outside of taking classes. I did not necessarily need to be in college for an additional year.
Tell me more about this summer internship.
The summer before my last year at Rice, I interned directly with psychiatric patients in one of the most well-known hospitals in the New York. I was able to directly observe what I had learned in my psychology classes in a real clinical setting. When I came back to Rice the following fall, the knowledge and new perspectives enhanced my psychology classes as I could more easily connect what I was learning to real-world applications.
I had the chance to see every aspect of inpatient psychiatry patient care through interacting with patients, attending group activities and family meetings, assisting with translation, and working on patient aftercare plans. Through both my internship experience and my interviews with professionals in the science and healthcare fields, this summer in New York became truly one of the highlights of my education.
Tell me about majoring in psychology. Why did you choose to major in a non-science?
I was always more humanities/social sciences oriented. I knew I would have to take many science classes anyway, so it wasn’t necessary to major in the sciences. I like the cognitive and abnormal aspects of psychology, which blend biology with psychology. My psychology major took precedence over my premed status, and despite snickerings from SE’s that my major was easy/fake, it was the right choice for me because psychology was something I was really interested in.
Okay, since you decided to graduate seven months before you did, you naturally had a gap year. How did you feel about having an “empty year” without classes?
While I would have enjoyed an additional year soaking in all that Rice has to offer, in the end it made more sense to graduate. I was also suffering from burnout by the end of Rice and really needed to recuperate before starting school again. I am very glad I decided to take a year off because I would have been very unhappy had I gone straight into med school.
Tell me about some things you've learned in this gap year.
This year has been different from what I had planned: I worked a few different jobs and got to travel more. Searching for employment and working both FT and PT positions helped me to understand the job market and confirm my desire to attend medical school. I also learned a lot about being an adult- driving more extensively, living in an apartment, dealing with different issues. I had free time to pursue some hobbies like running and reading for leisure. I learned some things I did not get to in college- I took a Neuroscience and Law class and Spanish classes in Costa Rica.
What are you looking forward to in med school?
Med school kind of scares me still, not gonna lie. My gap year here (with a car) has definitely helped me realize how much Houston has to offer too. Med school will definitely be a new adventure and a big change from this year of relaxation. I am hoping I will be refreshed and recharged to tackle the craziness. I’m also excited though about finally learning relevant skills and applications after being “premed” for so long.
Interviewing friends like Enstin reminds me of this quote by Woodrow Wilson: "I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow." I hope Enstin will visit me in Philadelphia sometime & we can go running together along the Schuylkill!

Also how beautiful are these fotografos? Take me to Costa Rica.



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