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I quickly realized over the previous year that the whole “informal postbac program” thing wasn’t going to cut it, so whilst retaking all the classes I hated and taking some classes that I loved (kinesiology! <3 I was 2 classes from an Associate’s in Athletic Training!), I applied to a couple grad schools.

I was accepted into UMDNJ’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in Piscataway. (UMDNJ has since merged with Rutgers.) Hence, year 2 of my self-imposed postbac program (aka the second year after I graduated from college) was spent across the country in New Jersey.

It was an extremely difficult decision on my part, because I was also accepted into Drexel’s postbac program at its satellite campus in Sacramento. Sacramento was home to (or at least very, very close to) almost everything I knew and loved, but I figured that if I were really serious about getting into med school, I needed a change and to remove all possible distractions from my life, so I packed my life into two suitcases and moved across the country.

The MBS program at UMDNJ was an accelerated master’s program where we basically took a whole lot of science courses, including some classes with the medical students at Robert Wood Johnson. Our class was very small (~36 students) so we quickly got to be very close. Since it was a fairly new program, the administration was very receptive to student feedback, which made life a lot better for us.

Part of our class being awesome.

Part of our class being awesome.

I decided to try to take my mom’s advice to sacrifice my hobbies (e.g. working out, volunteering, etc.) to just study. It made for a somewhat miserable existence, because there were so, so many things I wanted to be a part of while I was there. *-*

Although my grades did technically improve (If I recall correctly, I finished the year with a 3.5 of sorts), I don’t know that the sacrificing of my interests was really the original culprit for my grades. That being said, I’m probably biased because I went on all my med school interviews during my first semester (I talked about them very vaguely here, here, and here!) and knew that I’d been accepted into my first-choice medical school by early October.

My class schedule consisted of the following:

  • 1st semester: Gross Anatomy, Physiological Basis of Disease, Cellular Structure & Function, Behavioral Science, Capstone Project, Humanism & Medicine (Audit)
  • 2nd semester: Pharmacotherapeutics, Microbiology & Immunology, Medical Biochemistry, Embryology, Capstone Project, Horses For Healers (Audit), shadowing an FNP at the Family Medicine Clinic as a trainee under the Elizabeth M. Boggs Center for Developmental Disabilities

Horse Billiards
That’s not to say that I didn’t have any fun at all though! I discovered the wonderful world of Settlers of Catan and Munchkin with my fellow grad students, where we enjoyed many food-filled nights of backstabbery and shenanigans. We participated in eating contests, discovered Soupervan, maximized free food opportunities and visited New York.

I even wrote a proposal to get a grant to buy us all dinner to “promote and foster camaraderie between students in the program” (it worked, despite the fact that I wrote this at the end of the year/our program).

I embarked on many a food adventure with my friends in the program, as well as with my housemates (which consisted of two dietetic interns and one microbiology grad student) and volunteered as a translator for a kidney health screening fair.

We graduated in May of 2012 and have been talking about collectively kayaking to Australia to visit one of our friends. :]


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