For today’s My First Year Out, I caught up with Chris Veal ’14, a member of the UVM Foundation Fellows Program. The Fellows program is currently a cohort of six young alumni from the last decade nominated by Foundation leadership to insure the perspective and opinions of our young alumni are represented in the work of the Foundation board and committees.
In addition to his role as a Fellow, Chris is also a first year Medical Student at the Larner College of Medicine here at UVM. In that vein, Chris speaks about his first year out preparing for medical school. His advice is great for anyone preparing for or considering any graduate program.
Here’s what Chris had to say about his first year out.
1. Describe your first year out of UVM.
My first year out of UVM, I starting working in the Office of Health Promotion Research at the UVM College of Medicine. During this time, I worked with Dr. Brian Sprague on a variety of research projects centered on Early Stage Breast Cancer and Breast Cancer Screening throughout the state.
This job granted me the opportunity to publish my first article in a peer-reviewed medical journal! My article titled “ Health Related Behaviors and Mortality Outcomes in Women Diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma In Situ” was published in this months edition of the Journal of Cancer Survivorship.
2. What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
My greatest challenge after college was staying focused and preparing for medical school. I did not take the MCAT until after I graduated from UVM. During the months of preparation for that incredibly difficult exam, I had to balance a full time job with studying for the MCAT.
Ultimately, I discovered in order for me to do as well on the MCAT as I wanted to, I would have to quit my job and devote a solid 3 months to studying solely for that exam.
I moved back home with my mother and studied like crazy. Once I took it, I was incredibly blessed to have the chance to return back to Vermont and start a job that I absolutely loved at the UVM College of Medicine. It felt like I didn’t miss a beat.
But quitting my job and taking the time to thoroughly prepare to take the MCAT was the best decision I feel I could have made.
3. What are you doing now?
I am currently a first year Medical Student at the amazing Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont. I must admit, people told me medical school was hard, and I believed them, but I was not expecting it to be as hard as it was during my first semester.
Medical School was a shift for me in many ways, both emotionally and physically. Yet overall, I couldn’t imagine being in a better place.
What’s special about the College of Medicine here at UVM is the level of support given to each and every student. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion has been my rock of support throughout my time here. I’ve also had the chance to retain amazing relationships with several of the faculty members — one of whom I have lunch with every Tuesday at noon!
Medical School has been an incredible experience, despite the challenges it brings each day. It reminds me that UVM still is the special place I graduated from back in 2014.
4. What advice do you have for recent graduates?
For any alums that are trying to pursue a career in medicine or any health care profession, I would highly suggest taking some time off between graduate school and undergraduate.
I took off 2 years and I think that truly gave me the time to enjoy being in my 20’s for a little bit, and also give me a chance to interact with the real world.
Over those 2 years, my friendships grew closer, I began to understand what I wanted out of life, and I became more active in my community. My time out of school gave me a great foundation to spring from once I started medical school, I would highly suggest it!