My Path: Ashley Nicole Williams
For our new segment of My Path, we get to brag again about the success of one of our tour participants! Ashley Nicole Williams attended a tour site and remained in contact with our mentors for some time. With her new short white coat, we catch up with Student Doctor Williams as she begins her path to an MD degree at Virginia Commonwealth University – School of Medicine.
Location: Raised in Metro Atlanta
High School: Hiram High School
Undergraduate: Xavier University of Louisiana
Masters: Hampton University
Medical School: Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine
When did you decide that you wanted to go to medical school?
I decided I wanted to go to medical school after seeing a film around age 12 that featured an open heart surgery. The film also showed flaws in our healthcare system. After seeing that, I genuinely took an interest in the medical sciences.
How did your family/significant other react to your decision?
My mother and father are both very supportive of all my educational endeavors. They always taught me to be extremely confident and to focus on any goals I wish to accomplish in life.
Did you do any enrichment programs or shadowing during college?
The summer after my freshmen year at Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA), I attended the Summer Academic Enrichment Program at The University of Texas Medical and Dental Branch. I also was very engaged in volunteering at numerous hospitals in the New Orleans area. While working to attain my Master of Science degree at Hampton University I shadowed a family practice physician and emergency room physician. I also volunteered at a local free health clinic called H.E.L.P. in Hampton, VA. At H.E.L.P. medical and dental care is offered to its patients.
Did you use any MCAT preparation?
I used many resources while studying for the MCAT. My first experience studying for the MCAT, I only used Kaplan. My second time taking it, I dabbled in resources by Kaplan, Princeton Review, Berkley Review, and Exam Krackers. I picked which resource to use based on if it provided the most challenging questions or rigorous material for that particular section of the MCAT.
How did you choose which medical schools to apply to?
I used location and academic support as my main factors when applying to school. As you are interviewing at medical schools, please keep in mind that while they are interviewing you, you are also interviewing them. You truly have to ask yourself if you can see yourself as a good fit in their class. You will be interacting very closely with those individuals for four years, and it is pertinent that you feel that they are going to have your best interest at heart.
How many letters of recommendation did you ask for/use?
I received two committee letters from my undergraduate and graduate institution. I believe each committee letter had two or three additional letters from faculty and physicians I shadowed in the past.
What’s the best advice you can give to people applying to medical school?
The best advice I could give would be to remember that applying to medical is a journey, a hard one at that, but it is NOT an impossible task. You have to stay focused on your goals, trust in God and be willing to give it all you have. You also have to make sure you have a good support system around you; people that are like minded and who are willing to push you when you get weary. When it came time to apply I can remember telling God, “I have done all I can do, and left no table unturned, now all I can do is leave it in your hands”. Remember what God has for you is for you, and there is no time limit on it. It will come to pass at the right moment.
Describe the feeling when you found out you got accepted into medical school?
I was eternally grateful, and I honestly thought my reaction would have been one of higher emotion filled with tears and amazement, but I more so had a moment of clarity. I was so thankful and thought to myself God put me here at the right moment, so that everything could fall into place. I believe my faith was so strong, that when I received my first acceptance I was thanking God for something that I knew was already done.
How did you hear about the Tour For Diversity?
I heard about Tour For Diversity, while in my Master’s Program at Hampton University. They visited our campus.
What was your most memorable moment from the day?
My most memorable moment of the day was the panel discussion at the end. After being able to make a connection with some of the physicians during the day, hearing their stories and views of medicine during the panel, each one of them truly left me inspired.