Designing Your Best Medical School Experience: Part 1

Jhaimy Fernandez is a fourth-year medical student at the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine. On January 28, 2021 she will host an Instagram Story takeover on the Larner College of Medicine Instagram channel at @uvmmedicine from 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. EST. 

Jhaimy Fernandez ’21


Hi, I’m Jhaimy Fernandez a fourth-year medical student at the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine.

Like many, my four years in medical school have been the most formative years of my life. Moving to a new (snowy!) environment, adjusting to an active learning curriculum, and balancing the cycle of exams and clerkships — medical school can feel like bootcamp!

While class, exams, and clerkships are necessary to obtain the knowledge needed to become a competent physician, I’ve noticed during my residency interviews that program directors did not ask me about what I learned in class; rather, they wanted to know what I’m most passionate about – what drives me currently and will continue to do so throughout my career in medicine. 

So, what am I passionate about and how have I held on to my excitement for it throughout the past four years, in the face of the time and energy I’ve needed to dedicate to my studies? 

Join me on January 14, 2021 on the UVM Larner College of Medicine Instagram channel (@uvmmedicine) to find out about my passion for entrepreneurship and medical innovation and how I not only used it, but kept it alive by relying on it to help me design my medical school experience. 

In the meantime, here’s a taste of just a few of the tips I’ll be sharing on that day.

How do you keep your passions alive while balancing the endless demands of medical school? 

Every medical student faces this struggle. It is a dance that as a fourth-year I know I know too well, but one I hadn’t known as a first year. 

There are four mindsets that helped me overcome my incredibly difficult first year and led to my obtaining 15 residency interview invitations and co-founding Healthcare by Design, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing people back into the care with design thinking. 

What if I fail?

When I failed my first two blocks I was devastated. I felt like I was the only one who was struggling and the only medical student to ever fail a class.

What I discovered is that curiosity, resourcefulness, and self-confidence are three of the most important skills needed to overcome many of medical school’s toughest obstacles.

Should I talk about my personal passions outside of medicine? 


Talking about your interests and the activities, topics, and activities that keep you going gives others the permission to do the same. 

On January 14, I’ll share tips on how to create a two-to-three sentence elevator pitch you can pull out of your pocket at a moment’s notice. Great practice for residency interviews, too!

How can I be a valuable contributor during my clincial clerkships? 

As a newcomer you may feel like a fly on the wall. However, your fresh eyes allow you to see opportunities for improvements others may not.

I’m excited to share with you the ways in which I learned how to effectively communicate and implement my ideas. 

When will I have time to combine my passion for medicine and (insert your passion)

You don’t have to give up your interests throughout your first three years of medical school, but you may find you’re pressed for time to focus on them while also studying and training.

For me, fourth year opened a realm of possibilities – allowing me the time and space to combine my love of chronic disease management and design thinking by hosting an Instagram Live session regarding innovative ways to manage diabetes in elderly patients.

Learn about how to use your time during all four years of the Vermont Integrated Curriculum (at the Larner College of Medicine) to pursue your passion for medicine and combine it with your other interests and activities to become the most well-rounded physician possible. Although I’ll be referencing my experience within the curriculum at the UVM Larner College of Medicine, this Instagram Takeover and additional blog posts will be helpful for all prospective and current medical students. 

Remember, you have done the hard part — you got into medical school!

Now, learn how to design your best medical school experience on January 28, 2021 from 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. EST on Instagram at @uvmmedicine


2 thoughts on “Designing Your Best Medical School Experience: Part 1”

  1. For many students, it was the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s leading doctors and researchers. Others appreciated the chance to explore different areas of medicine and find their niche.

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