For Albion College women's soccer goalkeeper Megan Bricely, '19, time with her teammates takes her mind away from medical school interviews.
A veteran of eight surgeries – Bricely first tore her anterior cruciate ligament at age 12 and there was an ankle reconstruction, too – the Troy, Mich., native who prepped at Marian High School believes the relationships she forged with orthopedic doctors may lead her to that practice.
Bricely completed 20 primary applications to medical schools and the tour for interviews has taken her to Chicago, Bloomington, Ind., Erie, Pa., and sites throughout Michigan.
If interviewing wasn't enough, the biology major with a minor in anthropology is working on research for a directed study which she hopes will become her senior thesis. She is studying how the misdiagnosis of the Spanish influenza of 1918 and the use of aspirin in treatment led to more deaths in the Albion community. She is also an academic coach for students in the Briton Path program.
While Bricely has an impressive list of academic accomplishments, she believes teammates are essential to combat those negative thoughts when she wonders if her effort will lead to an acceptance from any of the medical schools she has interviewed with.
"Going through the injuries was hard and it wasn't fun, but when I'm playing it's a release from everything else," Bricely said. "I don't think about the medical school interviews or the school work I have to do. Being on a team is huge for me in that it becomes like a family. It's nice to have that support system all the time.
"I have yet to have a full week of school (this semester), but I'm not going to say 'no' to any interviews until I am accepted," she added. "I don't have class until 10:30, but I have been going to the cemetery before class to look at records (for the thesis research). I don't go to bed until late because I work with Briton Path students three nights a week. I get home, make dinner, do homework and go to bed."
While she believes having at least seven interviews is a good sign, Bricely is anxiously waiting for Oct. 15, the date medical schools begin announcing acceptance decisions. She joked that her teammates may be even more anxious for a decision.
"I think my team is more excited for me to get (an acceptance) call because I'll stop talking about it," she said.
Bricely's support system includes Coach Eric Scott and members of Albion's Wilson Institute for Medicine.
"Before I even told (Scott) I was going to have to miss (the Sept. 12 non-league match at Manchester University for an interview), he was like 'you're going'," she said. "He is constantly texting me to ask for updates on how the interviews went. He knows I hate talking about myself, and he makes jokes about that, because that's all interviews are. He has made the process bearable. If I need a day off to de-stress it is there if I need it.
"During the junior year in the Healthcare Institute we had a lot of meetings about writing personal statements and how to go through the application process," she added. "(Associate professor of biology and director of the Wilson Institute for Medicine) Brad Rabquer and Lauri Maurer would look over my statement over and over again, tweak it here and there and made it the best it could be because that's an important part of the primary application.
"My research has an anthropology focus and Dr. Allison Harnish has been awesome," she said. "I have to miss class a lot and sometimes I have to negotiate deadlines, but they have been supportive and have helped me come up with some of the answers, while some of the answers are based on my classes and some of the things they have taught me."
Preparing for interviews, Bricely says, involves writing in her journal the night before. In addition to taking notes on the mission or values of the specific medical school, she writes answers to some of the general questions she expects to face. During the drive to the interview, Bricely says she will practice delivering the responses she will give throughout the day.
"The interview process involves a lot of research outside the interview," Bricely said. "The medical schools like to tell the prospective students they are being interviewed by us. I have to come up with questions to make sure it's a good fit.
"It's exhausting to talk about myself for that long and you have to be enthusiastic," she added. "But I know this is what I want to do and it's another step in that process of getting into medical school and becoming a physician."
Bricely admits it takes a unique personality to accept the responsibility of playing goalkeeper in soccer. An admitted introvert, she embraces her personality on the field and in the interview setting.
"There is pressure involved with being the goalkeeper, but the best like that pressure and thrive in it," Bricely said.
"Coach tells me I'm an anomaly when it comes to goalkeepers because I'm calm, while most are loud and extroverted," she added. "My calmness helps me in practice, games and even interviews because it helps me project confidence, even when I'm not feeling that way at the time."
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