My Path: Joseph Stringfellow, MD
For our next segment, our budding OB/GYN, Dr Joseph Stringfellow takes center-stage on My Path. Known as one of the veterans on the tour, Dr Stringfellow’s thespian-like performances as the skittish applicant and the overbearing interviewer in our interviewing skills workshop have been a favorite among tour participants. With graduation from medical school a recent memory, we caught up with Dr. Stringfellow as he gets ready for his next challenge – residency.
Location: Winston-Salem, NC
Undergraduate: Howard University, Washington, DC
Medical School: University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
Residency: Wake Forest Baptist Health
Nickname on the Tour: “Strongfellow”
When did you decide that you wanted to go to medical school?
I was ten years old the first time I expressed the desire to be a physician. My career goals shifted over the next several years, but by high school graduation, I was certain that I wanted to go into medicine.
How did your family/significant other react to your decision?
My family was extremely supportive.
Did you do any enrichment programs or shadowing during college?
I was largely unaware of enrichment programs during my undergraduate education. Fortunately, clinical shadowing was a requisite for graduation from my degree program.
Did you use any MCAT preparation?
I used the Examkrackers® self-directed home study course.
How did you choose which medical schools to apply to?
I categorized schools by factors including curriculum organization, location, and competitiveness. I was sure to apply to schools I was confident I could interview with as well as schools that would be more challenging to get into.
What’s the best advice you can give to people applying to medical school?
Be timely with your preparation. From studying for the MCAT, to requesting letters of recommendations, to replying to interview invitations, give yourself an advantage by setting strict deadlines and sticking to them. Give the appropriate time and thought to your decisions, but know that earlier is better.
Describe what it was like to get accepted into medical school?
It’s beyond words! I recall the anticipation of waiting for those “thick envelopes” in the mail. When I received an acceptance from my school of choice, I ran through the house screaming! It’s practically euphoric.
Now that you have graduated, any difference in how you feel now compared to your first day of medical school?
Absolutely! On one hand, you remain a student. On the other hand, the stakes are much higher. Patients and their families are looking to you to provide optimal care. In most cases they aren’t aware of your inexperience. They only know that you’ve got a “DO” or “MD behind your name and the buck stops with you. It’s anxiety-provoking, but unfathomably rewarding.