Denisonians in Health Professions: Osteopathic Medicine

Name:  Courtney Testani
Denison Graduation Year:  Class of 2015
Denison Major:  Biology, Spanish (minor)
Professional Degree Type:  pursuing a Doctor of Osteopathic (DO) degree from Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine, Class of 2022
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Describe the process you went through while selecting your professional school pathway: what impacted your decision?

I always knew I was interested in pursuing some sort of scientific career, but I was never 100% sure if I wanted to pursue medicine. Quite frankly I kept trying to look at what other options were out there because I knew how much of a commitment medical school would be. When I attended a job interview in a different field however, I knew I wasn’t in the right place. I instantly realized that medicine was the field I wanted to be in.

What challenges did you face on the way to medical school, and how did you overcome them?

Because I didn’t make my decision to apply to medical school until second semester senior year, I had a bit of catching up to do. I moved back home and took all the courses I still needed to meet the prerequisite requirements for most medical schools. Once these were completed I took the MCAT. In total I took 3 years off in between graduating from Denison and starting at Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine. During that time (in addition to what I’ve already listed above) I also gained invaluable experience working as a medical technician and surgical assistant for a retina specialist. It was a very grueling road to get into medical school and I often questioned why I was doing it. It absorbed all of my time and a lot of my finances, and I often felt like I needed more guidance from someone who knew how this process worked. The thing that helped me the most during this time was contacting anyone I could possibly think of who was in medical school and had recently gone through this same process. People in the medical field know how hard it can be, and pretty much all of them will want to help you. Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone, even if it’s a strange connection like a friend of a friend. I promise you they will be happy to answer your questions. All you have to do is shoot them an email or ask them if they have time for a 15 minute phone call. It will help guide you in the right direction during the application process, and reassure you that you’re doing the right thing. If this is truly the path you want to take, the hard work will 100% pay off.

What has been your favorite part of your medical school experience so far?

I just completed my first year of medical school and my favorite part so far has been the incredible professors and mentors that I’ve met. We have an incredible faculty of physicians and it has been such an inspiration to hear their experiences in the field.

What are your professional plans post-graduation?

When I graduate my hope is to get a residency in Orthopedic Surgery, or a residency in Internal Medicine and then a fellowship in Sports Medicine.

What advice would you give a current Denison student considering a graduate or professional program like yours?

Do your research and don’t be afraid to ask for help! Medicine is an incredible field but you need to be prepared. Know what programs require of prospective applicants and make sure you have your ducks in a row before you begin to pursue your applications. It is a very competitive field and you want to make yourself as desirable of an applicant as possible the first time around. With that being said, do NOT be discouraged if you don’t get accepted anywhere the first time you apply. This is becoming more and more common, and it happened to me too. It is certainly frustrating, but if you know this is what you want to do, just ask yourself what you could do to make yourself look better for the next round, and apply again. My second round of applications to medical school were much more successful than my first and now I’m already a quarter of the way done!