This section will spotlight a student who has come through the Health Professions Advising office at CSUF on their journey to professional school, and wishes to share his or her experiences and advice with current and future students.
Mayra Cruz - Future Physician
My name is Mayra Cruz, I’m a first generation college student and now a first generation medical student. I am a non traditional student who earned a bachelor’s degree in business, worked for a fortune 500 company and after a few years decided to pursue my lifelong dream of becoming a physician. There were many reasons why I did not originally pursue medicine, I felt as if that boat had long sailed. However, after doing some research, I was super excited to learn that post-baccalaureate programs existed for career changers. I quit my job and began the post-bac program at Cal State Fullerton in 2011. It was the best decision I could have made. Not only did I gain lifelong friends and colleagues, but it trained me well for the academic rigors that lay ahead.
During my time at Cal State Fullerton, I began volunteering at a local free community clinic and at UC Irvine Medical Center, I wanted to ensure without a doubt, that the career path I was choosing was the right one. The experiences I gained solidified my decision and provided insight I had not ever had before. I also attended pre-health conferences and met individuals who later became my mentors and I became a big believer of mentorship relationships. I was appointed president of MiMentor, an online mentoring organization dedicated to diversifying the face of medicine via meaning mentoring relationships.
I took my first MCAT in April and was sad to discover I would have to retake. My second MCAT was taken in July and by then I had my AAMCAS application ready to submit. I waited until my score was out but then finally applied to 20 schools. I was overwhelmed and unprepared for the challenge of secondaries. I created a spreadsheet to keep track of deadlines, submissions, interviews, etc. Interviews were very nerve wrecking, but I found that all my interviews were not as intimidating as I had originally thought. Every interviewer was very kind and was very much interested in getting to know me on a personal level. Very soon, I was in joyful tears to learn I had been accepted to medical school and was on my way to becoming a physician.
As I prepare to enbark on this new journey, I reflect on my long trajectory into this position and encourage you, who are considering whether or not this may be for you, to follow your dreams. To remember to dream big, work hard and persevere.