An Interview with The Whole Kid Founder, Tim Tibbitts
Meet Mia! You may recognize her as one of The Whole Kid's math and science tutors, or perhaps you've read some of her blogs on our website, but did you know that she's also in medical school?! In this article, Mia shares her story, as well as some advice for those who are curious about what it takes to go from high school student to med school student.
When did you first realize you might want to become a doctor one day? Was there an ah-ha moment in high school biology class, or perhaps during a medical appointment of your own?
Mia: I grew up around medicine. My siblings were in medical school when I was in high school, so I witnessed their journeys, and they helped me to realize that I really wanted to be a doctor one day. During my first economics class in high school, I learned how health and medicine incorporated much more than just going to the doctor; the social determinants of health (like socio-economic status, housing, education, proximity to a grocery store, etc.) are major contributors to someone’s health status and do not often get addressed in the doctor’s office. When I went on to college, I chose to study economics, focusing on anti-poverty programs, and fulfilling my premed requirements. This interest in the overlap between economics and medicine led me to get my Master’s of Public Health, where I'm concentrating on Health Policy and Management.
After college, you chose to pursue a masters in Public Health before applying to med school? Why? Are you glad you did?
Mia: After applying and not getting into medical school the first time, I decided to enroll in my MPH. Knowing that I wanted to get my MPH at some point, I thought that doing so before reapplying would help to demonstrate how serious I was when it was time to reapply. And I'm so grateful that I decided to pursue public health before medical school! Public health focuses on the bigger picture rather than the individual body, so I think it is a great foundation to have going into medical school.
Is it important to major in science during undergrad?
Mia: No! I majored in economics because it's what I was passionate about, and then I fulfilled my pre-medical requirements alongside my major courses. I HIGHLY recommend majoring in something that interests you, rather than just majoring in biology or chemistry because you will take those classes anyways.
You recently took the MCAT. Do you have any advice?
Mia: It's a marathon not a sprint. There are many free or cheaper resources out there, so make sure you do your research before spending a ton of money on expensive prep courses that may not necessarily be better. Doing the practice questions and then reviewing those that you missed will help you better understand what you do and do not know. It sounds daunting but is doable!
What advice do you have for someone planning to apply to Med School?
Mia: Medical school is hard to get into. These schools get thousands of applications for very few spots. Make sure you apply to a wide range of medical schools and do your research to see where you line up with your GPA and MCAT scores. It took me two application cycles to get in because I made the mistake of applying too narrowly the first time and applied to some schools out of my reach.
What advice would you give to high school students who think they might be interested in medicine?
Mia: It’s a long road, and sometimes it’s hard to see the end of the tunnel. Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into before you dive in. Try and shadow early on to see if a career in medicine is for you.