Liz Gernert; University of Connecticut class of 2018; Major: Cognitive science; Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine DO program class of 2024
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What were some meaningful extracurricular activities that you were involved in while at UConn?

I was the Vice President of the UConn Alzheimer's Association and I loved working with the local nursing home to coordinate visits with residents. I was also a member of the Auditory Brain Research Lab, working under the excellent guidance of Dr. Erika Skoe. I loved my time in lab and Dr. Skoe was a phenomenal mentor to me.

What were some challenges you have faced along your healthcare journey so far, and how have you overcome them?

The transition to medical school from undergrad has not been easy. I applied to medical school during two cycles, and I hope that my transparency will help other students realize that is nothing to be ashamed of.

What did you do during your growth year(s) and what did you learn?

I took two gap years, during which I worked as a scribe in my local emergency department. My time working the ED was incredibly transformative and helped me form a clinical basis of knowledge that surpassed many of my peers during MS1. I would strongly recommend gap year(s).

What are some ways that you take care of your mental health and overall wellbeing?

Mental health can be very difficult to maintain in medical school. I am very open with my own mental health, and am on medication for my anxiety. I also see a therapist. The rigor of medical school can be very overwhelming, and it is so important to reach out for help before things pile up. Many of my peers also seek professional help for their mental health, and I'm proud that the stigma is being broken down by our generation.

What advice do you have for aspiring pre-health students?

I believe all pre-health students should seek out shadowing opportunities or mentorships as a top priority. Healthcare is an ever-changing field and it is important to come into medical school with a realistic view of medicine.

What’s something that you wish you knew when you were in college?

I wish I knew I would get here some day and had more confidence in myself during college. I spent a lot of time and energy doubting myself. Take all of my advice with a grain of salt and listen to your own intuition. You're on the right track, you just have to keep going.