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Chicago to NYU Medical School

Katerina's Success and Inspiration Story

I met Katerina in the fall of 2012. She was a junior with an economics major considering pursuing a career in medicine. It's hard to believe it, but it's been 4 years already!

From the moment I met her until now, Katerina has been inspiring me with her never-ending passion, sweetness, and resilience. She has a go-getter attitude and bubbly personality. On top of that, Katerina has an unbelievable sense of fashion!

I am so proud to say that Katerina has linked to NYU Medical School, which she will start this fall! Congratulations Katerina! I know you will make an amazing and caring doctor. I am so proud of you and happy with you!

Here's what Katerina told me about her medical journey.

1. What inspired you to want to become a doctor and what kind of doctor?

In high school I developed a strong interest in science and I began considering a career in medicine, so I began shadowing physicians whenever I found the opportunity to do so. When I shadowed Dr. Brieva, a dermatologist at Northwestern, I fell in love with the field and have a dreamed of a career in dermatology ever since. I have involved myself in any dermatology experience possible, such as clinical volunteer work, bench research, and being published in a dermatology textbook.

2. What kind of challenges did you encounter on your premed path and how did you overcome them?

Throughout high school and the beginning of college I truly did not believe I had what I took to become a physician. It took me some time to overcome the intimidation of the premed classes, not to mention the MCAT and many years in medical school and residency. However, throughout my first two years as an undergrad at NYU, I could not ignore my overwhelming passion in serving the community and my desire to improve the health of those in desperate need. I finally decided to give the first premed class, Gen Chem I, a chance. After searching for the right tutor, Mayya came into my life and gave me the emotional support I needed to get through the first scary year of being a premed student. She continued to help me throughout the rest of my premed career. Beyond the decision to commit myself to becoming a physician, one of the most difficult challenges was preparing for the MCAT. After taking the test for the first time, I did horribly, and once again felt beat down and unworthy. After serious reflection and confidence building, I tried again, this time studying for almost one year. I ended up scoring ten points higher on the exam overall, and was very proud of myself for not having given up the first time around. This experience made me realize that the most crucial personal growth comes from finding yourself at rock bottom, not giving up, and doing whatever you can to overcome your greatest fears and challenges.

3. What keeps you motivated in this journey?

Everyone always warns how great of a time commitment becoming a physician is, and how difficult medical school will be. While of course there will be very stressful times, I believe that it is a privilege to provide a specialized service to patients in their most desperate time of need. There is no greater feeling than working hard with purpose, and knowing my contributions are making a difference in the lives of others. To me, this serves as great motivation, and the long hours, weeks, months and years no longer are a concern.

4. What school did you get into and how do you feel about it?

I was accepted to NYU School of Medicine, and I could not be more excited!! I applied to NYU for the class of 2019, and was rejected. While this rejection hurt, it fueled me to try again harder the following year. When I opened my acceptance letter for the class of 2020, I was speechless. NYU SOM has been my dream school from day one, and I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to continue my education at this institution.

5. Do you have any advice for current or prospective students who want to go into the medical field?

My advice to other postbacc students is to not let stories or experiences of other students affect how your story unfolds. I did my best not

to worry about stressful experiences of others, or the competitiveness that can exist between premed students. Another piece of advice I have is when you find yourself in a moment of extreme stress, just keep powering through and don’t give up. If you know that medicine is the right field for you, it will happen. Where there is a will, there is a way.


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