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Erica Smearman
Erica Smearman

UMBC Major: Double major in Biology and Psychology
UMBC Graduation Year: May 2008
Current Institution: Emory University School of Medicine
Anticipated Completion Date: 2017 (MD/PhD)

Preparation

I feel as though I came to medical school very prepared. The biological courses at UMBC were very thorough and have been incredibly helpful in my medical school coursework. UMBC was also a great resource for getting involved in extracurricular and volunteer activities. I was able to take on many leadership roles during my time at UMBC as well as pursue a variety of hospital volunteer opportunities.

Advising

I have been very impressed with UMBC’s Advising Office. The staff is understanding, thorough, responsible, and makes an effort to get to know every student. I was very thankful to have Ms. Roelke as my pre-medical advisor and plan to keep in touch with her over my career. She is quick to respond to questions and is very helpful in calming application worries.

Balance

I think it is very important to have a balanced life. Make the most of your pre-medical courses but it is also nice to take courses in other areas that you are interested in learning more about. I also believe that it is just as important to get involved with activities you enjoy and make time for family and friends. Volunteer, get involved, and develop friendships, even if it is a friendship that evolves through studying together every week (those can be the best ones). Get to know your professors. UMBC has an exceptional faculty and the professors are not only great at teaching but they are great individuals who are willing and happy to help their students. In addition, UMBC’s study abroad office is wonderful. I loved my summer study abroad experience and would recommend it to anyone.

Commitment

For students who are interested in attending medical school or an MD/PhD program, make sure you love science and you love to learn. Medical school is definitely a few notches up from the pace of undergrad classes and being excited about and interested in what you are learning is very important. I also recommend getting involved in extracurricular activities in undergrad. You will be studying plenty in medical school so you should take the time in undergrad to try new things and figure out what you enjoy.

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