Saint James School of Medicine is proud to highlight Dr. Erika Singh as this month’s Alumni Spotlight. Dr. Singh completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology at Indiana University Northwest, intending to become a psychologist after graduation, but a course in Anatomy and Physiology set her on a different path.
“Physiology was my strength, and I enjoyed studying and teaching the material at hand,” Dr. Singh said. “I chose to pursue a career in medicine because of the desire to learn and feed my curiosities for an ever-growing profession. We all go into the profession ‘to help people’ but I felt that nothing could give me the satisfaction if I didn’t choose to reach my full potential.”
When researching various medical schools in the Caribbean, Saint James School of Medicine caught her eye, she said “There were plenty of medical schools I could have applied to, but SJSM stood out to me because of its affordable tuition, paired with a curriculum that matched that of other top Caribbean schools at a fraction of the price,” she said. “SJSM is a great place to go if you are considering medical school. It makes me happy to watch our match rate increase over the years. It’s like watching a young child grow, for lack of a better analogy. I have also heard, through friends, about various resources and services that are available to current students that aim to help prepare them to pass their board exams.”
Dr. Singh graduated from SJSM in 2019 and is currently undergoing her third year of residency at the University of North Dakota’s Family Medicine Program. As in any career, there will be good days and bad days – but in residency, those days depend on your schedule. She currently holds the position of Chief Resident and said she could not be happier with where she is thanks to the education and support she received from SJSM.
For students who are applying for the 2022 Match, here are some words of wisdom that Dr. Singh would like to pass along, now that she has a couple of years of residency experience under her belt.
“The Match process is stressful and nothing anyone says will change that. I applied to about 100 programs and only had a handful of which reached out for interviews. It was nerve-wracking. I tried my best in every interview and just hoped for the best in return.
One aspect of the application process that I’m sure annoyed everyone was asking/reminding preceptors for Letters of Recommendation (LORs). I don’t blame them – they have their clinical work and families to go home to but requesting LORs early on could save a lot of time and stress. Instead of sending them in later, I would also strongly recommend having your Step 1 and 2 scores in on time.
Finally, your personal statement should really reflect you. Don’t lie! Program directors will pull information from it and discuss it with you in your interview.
The rest is just a waiting game. Nevertheless, don’t compare yourself to other applicants – everyone’s situation is different. I know of an applicant who received 13 interviews but did not match and then another applicant who received only one interview and matched. It is hard to say what will happen in the end, and no one will ever know the decision-making factor. I like to believe at the end of the day – it comes down to the representation of yourself during the interviews.”
With the 2022 Match on the minds of every MD 4 student, it is reassuring to hear from an alumnae that has made it past such a critical moment in their career. Not everyone will have the same journey. If we can take away anything from what Dr. Singh said in her advice above, it is that just because your Match experience may not look the same as one of your friends’, it does not mean that the end result is set in stone. SJSM will be there for its students every step of the way to ensure that they are adequately prepared for the match process. From informative video series featuring program directors that provide insight into the Match process, to one-on-one residency counseling sessions with an academic advisor that provides our students with advice geared towards their specific background – SJSM lends a helping hand.
“SJSM provided me with the platform to build upon my dreams,” said Dr. Singh. However, it is also important to remember that it’s not just the school; it’s the hard work and determination of our students that allow for our students to excel in achieving their goals. “SJSM will be there to support you, help you with your rotations, and make sure you have the resources you need to get that MD. If you put your mind to it and stay dedicated, nothing can stop you!”