From Susan Shen, M4/MSTP
When I was accepted into Wash U, I was absolutely thrilled — I felt like I’d won the lottery. During M1 and M2, I felt well-integrated with both my MD and MSTP classmates. For me, the toughest part of the preclinical years was getting used to intense memorization and multiple-choice exams. During my PhD years, the flexibility of graduate school gave me time to explore other interests, such as volunteering at the Saturday Neighborhood Health Clinic (SNHC), starting a youth and community garden, and learning indoor rock climbing. Life also progressed in other ways: I got married and finally lived with my husband after many years of long distance. The biggest hurdle for me was returning to clinics after finishing my PhD. With Step 1 knowledge long ago evaporated from my brain, I found returning to clerkships to be a tough transition, culturally and academically. Nonetheless, with support from faculty, residents, and students, I made it through. One of the best aspects of being an MSTP at Wash U is that there are so many mentors and peers who understand your experience. Coming to Wash U was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, not only because of the superb medical and scientific training, but also the incredible people.