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Scenic Stories: Mark

Scenic Stories: Mark

Name: Mark

Where are you from? Born in West Virginia, raised in North Carolina, but currently in Florida.

What country do you study/practice in? United States

Why did you want to go into medicine? It wasn’t my original plan, actually. I initially wanted to be a PharmD/JD. Things changed when I had the opportunity to study in England at the University of Cambridge. It was there, standing on the shoulders of scientific giants Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Watson & Crick, and Stephen Hawking, that it hit me: I wanted to do something greater, no, I needed to do something greater. I wanted to push myself to the absolute edge of my potential, and perhaps a bit further. Somehow, being in that place of profound scientific academia had lit a fire inside me, and it didn’t hurt that Dr. House himself (actor Hugh Laurie) was an alum, as well. The fire was always simmering inside, I had just needed the spark to set it ablaze.

What made you decide on the IMG/Non-traditional route? Picture it: November 2020, in Orlando, Florida. In the early days of the pandemic, there was confusion, misinformation, masks vs no masks, and in the middle of it I found myself questioning everything. I had put my own plans on hold, for someone else, and things hadn’t worked out. I reached the precipice where I decided it was now or never. The decision was though, do I wait until the summer to find out which medical schools had (or had not) accepted me? Or would I make a leap of faith and start in mere weeks at one of a handful of Caribbean medical schools? After some serious research, I decided the IMG route would be the better option, as I could be finished with two semesters before the U.S. school semester would even be an option for me. So it was, and I found myself off on a journey that so far has validated my decision.

Your #1 piece of advice for future students: Find your learning style, whether it is listening to audio lectures, reading, drawing & writing on whiteboard, or flashcards. Focus on that and dedicate yourself with the mentality that this will be your life for the next couple of years. Ultimately, the number one thing is to believe in yourself and your abilities – think of it as placing a bet on yourself, with the longest of odds, and then imagine the feeling of accomplishment that you will have in the end. Keep pushing yourself and don’t ever give up.

What is your favorite way to relax/decompress during your downtime? I get in some type of physical activity on my lunch break every day while school is in session. This could be lifting weights while listening to pathology lectures, or riding my stationary bike while watching Sketchy or Boards and Beyond at 2X speed. Every once in awhile everyone needs a break, and for me it could be either cooking something new, watching sports, or my favorite – going to a movie. This is called sharpening the saw, and it is important to keep yourself sane during the rigorous grind of medical school!

Anything else you’d like to add? Yes – learn how to meal prep. Haha! Honestly, it will save your life so many times when you least expect it.


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