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Scenic Stories: Mada

Scenic Stories: Mada

Name: Mada

What country do you study/practice in? Currently a PGY-2 in Family Medicine in Canada

Where are you from? That has become kind of a complicated question in recent years. Born in South Africa, grew up in small town Saskatchewan, lived in Calgary from high school graduation onwards, and now living in Ottawa for residency.

Why did you want to go into medicine? I’m pretty sure it was a goal I first expressed when I was somewhere around five years old. I’ve been fascinated with science and medicine and hospitals for as long as I can remember. I considered a few other options along the way, but medicine has always felt like the ideal balance of problem solving and relationship building that makes my brain happy. I feel like this is the right place in the world for me.

What made you decide on the IMG/Non-traditional route? I was a non-traditional applicant in a number of ways. I changed my major and my plans more than once throughout undergrad while trying to fit in all the necessary prerequisites, and ended with a degree in nursing from the University of Calgary. I was fortunate that my grades and CV at the time were enough to qualify for interviews at Canadian med schools, but I found the MMI interview structure extremely challenging, disheartening, and unnatural for my personality. After more than one attempt, I admitted to myself that it may be a healthier choice to broaden my applications. Around that time, I happened to learn about Saba from a family friend who is now a physician in the US. I remember showing the website to my (now) husband and half-jokingly saying “what if we moved to a tiny island and I went to school there?” He looked over and shrugged. “Why not? What’s stopping us?”

Your #1 piece of advice for future students: The most important thing I’ve learned over the past six years is to hold on tight to the people who are in your corner. Medical school will involve many sleepless nights, intimidating exams, and periods of self doubt. I have absolutely no idea where I’d be without my family, my partner, and the friends who have stood by my side throughout it all. The little things in life often turn out to be the big things.

What is your favorite way to relax/decompress during your downtime? These days, my free time largely involves zoom calls with family, soaking up any sunshine I can find, and reading books that have absolutely nothing to do with medicine. My goal for 2022 is to slowly work my way through the Dune series and as many of the sci-fi classics as I can.

Anything else you’d like to add? Just keep swimming, just keep swimming!

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