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Erica Graff

I thought that I would never see the day. I actually got into medical school. The University of Florida College of Medicine called me yesterday morning to notify me that I have a place in their class of 2018. I nearly fainted when I heard the news.

Now, I guess I should use this as an opportunity to apologize for my lack of consistency on the blog this semester. I have been traveling a lot for interviews, so I have been missing out on the typical campus activities that I generally frequent.  I was also superstitious and did not want to share my experiences until I had some success to report. And finally, I have some success!!

I have wanted to be a doctor since I was 8, and because of this, it never occurred to me that pre-med was not a major. When I got to Vanderbilt, I realized that I could major in anything from English to cello performance (if only I had any musical talent). I decided on Communication Studies because I thought that it would provide me a general skill set that I would not get from my science classes. I also found the rhetoric classes interesting and was intrigued by the opportunity to learn American history in this context. At first, I was a bit worried about my decision to major outside the hard sciences. To my surprise, however, my unique major has been welcomed at all of my interviews. The interviewers are always astonished by my ability to balance different subjects and the bits of Presidential trivia that I have picked up in my CMST classes.

Vanderbilt also provided me with opportunities to learn and serve outside the classroom. I shadowed in the The Vanderbilt Clinic- Pulmonology division, and volunteered in Dr. Richard Peek‘s GI lab. I spent my summers volunteering in Latin America, and Vanderbilt connected me with Manna Project International, through which I worked in Guatemala for a month.

I am so lucky to attend a university that prepares its students so well for post-graduation life. I really believe that Vanderbilt helped make me the well-rounded, attractive student that gets into med school! (Yay for me! Sorry to be tooting my own horn here, but it is an exciting day!)

Me and Dr. Albert Gator

  • Anonymous

    You are a star, congrats! -Luke

  • Carolyn Pippen


  • A. Borne

    Hi, nnFirst of all, Congratulations!! I’m extremely interested in Vanderbilt pre-med and wanted to ask if you could shed any light upon the difficulty of classes. I understand that pre-med is a difficult track to pursue in general, but I’ve heard that it can be quite brutal at Vanderbilt (and other top institutions). For someone who wants to pursue medicine but does not necessarily have a “science-y” mind, what’s the best way to get through the difficult course load? What is especially difficult about pre-med here at Vandy?nnnThanks and once again Congrats!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks so much! I am going to be completely honest and tell you that the classes are extremely difficult, and you are right in thinking that it would be the same at other top institutions.nnAs a Communication Studies major, I would not consider myself totally “science-y” either. In order to get through it, I surrounded myself with a group of friends who were extremely supportive. My friend group is about half pre-med. It was great to have them as resources, but also to have other friends who weren’t dealing with the same stresses that I was. Vanderbilt in particular also gives pre-meds TONS of opportunities to succeed in the classroom. There is free tutoring, office hours, and TA and professor review sessions. Most professors will accommodate you even outside of their scheduled office hours, so I definitely encourage you to take advantage of that!nnFinally, I wouldn’t say that anything is more difficult about pre-med here than another institution. I have always known that I wanted to be a doctor, so I kind of just accepted all of the frustrating things that came along with it. I definitely encourage you to volunteer, research or shadow, though. Those things were constant reminders for me about why I studied so hard in these sometimes seemingly pointless classes.

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  • Amber Tramitis

    Hey Erica,nI am so happy for your success. I was wondering how you fulfilled the prerequisites requirements for science in order to get an admission into med school. I am applying as well and am not majoring in science. Also how did you get the opportunity to volunteer in a lab? Was it difficult since your not a science major?. Thanks so much

    • Anonymous

      Hi Amber!nThanks so much for reaching out to me! I made fulfilled the prereqs my priority, and I did them all in two years. That way, my junior and senior year I could focus on my major. It was absolutely doable. Most of my friends were double-majoring anyway. If you think about it that way, it may make more sense. In order to volunteer in a lab, I found a department in VUMC that interested me, and I emailed all of the labs to see if they had room for a volunteer!nnnLet me know if you have any other questions and good luck!

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