L. Latéy Jones
UMBC Major: Biological Sciences; Minors in Sociology and Africana Studies
UMBC Graduation Year: 2009
Current Institution: University of Maryland School of Medicine
Anticipated Completion Date: 2016 (MD/PhD)
The strong reputation of the life science departments at UMBC was a critical determinant in my decision to attend this university. Looking back now, I am grateful that I was challenged by the science curricula. I believe UMBC offers students a depth and breadth of courses that lay a solid foundation for graduate study. What I may have thought to be extraneous and annoying as a student at the time, I now find to be a true edge in the classroom. Additionally, UMBC fostered a learning environment that is key to my success in medical school: collaborative learning. My ability to learn and solve problems in a group setting, where a diversity of ideas and perspectives are being exchanged, stemmed from my experience at UMBC. The interdisciplinary nature of medicine now calls for such skill.
One major source of anxiety for students applying to professional degree programs, but more specifically to medical school, is navigating the application process. What appears to be a seamless process to the unaware is really quite complex and involved. The Advising Office played a key role in disseminating information, tools, and resources that kept applicants, like me, on schedule and on top of the application process. A great deal of effort and persistence must be demonstrated in order to finally realize one’s dream of getting into medical school, but having Ms. Roelke and other advisors to guide me through all the phases of the process was an invaluable part of my success. I also appreciated very much the care and genuine concern that Ms. Roelke showed to me. In the midst of a very stressful period of my college experience, she was always wishing me well, expressing her confidence in my future, and helping me to keep my eyes on the “finish line.” This type of encouragement was just as meaningful and important to me as her counsel in the logistics of the process itself.
UMBC is a wonderful place, with wonderful people, and full of wonderful opportunities. In order to make the most of your time, I encourage you to keep UMBC S.T.U.D.E.N.T.S in mind.
T=Try new things
I incorporated each of these elements into my life at UMBC and I enjoyed a very full, successful, and satisfying experience because of it.
Although getting to this point was a trying experience at times, I think the rewards are so much sweeter than the sacrifice. So here are a few tips that currents students may find useful for making it through:
- Try not to approach the process as insurmountable, but rather as a challenge—and do so with confidence! In my case, this was a challenge that built character, stimulated a greater passion for medicine, and increased my faith.
- Plan ahead and stay focused on your long-term goals, but be sure not to forget the basics. Be the best student you can be! No amount of community service or involvement in student organizations, while important, can replace strong academic performance.
- Be careful not to overlook the resources that UMBC offers. There is no heroism in going through the process alone, so get to know your faculty, advisors, and fellow classmates.
- Applying to medical school is an important phase in your life but keep everything in perspective. You may at times be overwhelmed, but don’t allow yourself to be consumed.
Finally, my advice to current students interested in a path similar to that which I have taken is summed up with this quote: "If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude." –Colin Powell.