Zainab Balogun, Class of 2024
Thomas Jefferson University; BS Pre-medical studies major & Genetics, Psychology minors
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO ATTEND PITT MEDICINE:
As any prospective medical student will know, interview day is always nerve-inducing, and it was not any different for me. As the day progressed, I felt at ease and more at home. I thought my interviewers were some of the nicest people with whom I had wonderful conversations. At the end of the day, I wanted to belong in a place where the collegial spirit was evident and where it truly felt like a community. Beyond that, I also loved the multiple opportunities Pitt offers beyond the curriculum; the social medicine fellows program for example provides a platform to further delve into the social determinants of health and how that impacts the individuals in their communities.
DESCRIBE YOUR LIFE AS A MEDICAL STUDENT AT PITT MED:
Being a medical student here at Pitt involves juggling different responsibilities and wearing different hats. I'm a leader in the organizations I’m involved with, I’m a researcher, a volunteer, and most importantly, I’m a student. The beauty of it all is that I work with incredible people and I learn more with each opportunity I get.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE PITT MEDICINE COMMUNITY:
What I love and appreciate about Pitt Med is that people here are willing to help. There hasn’t been anyone I’ve come across that hasn’t been supportive in some form. The people at Pitt Med provide recommendations for me to further explore or they introduce me to people who can help me with whatever concerns or ideas I might have. The great thing about this place is that sense of camaraderie when you know the people around you are supportive of your dreams and ambitions.
WHAT STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS ARE YOU INVOLVED IN:
Student National Medical Association (SNMA), Global surgery and Global health & underserved populations interest groups, and Giving a Boost (GAB)
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO WITH YOUR SPARE TIME:
I love to cook, bake, watch movies and have discussions about them.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR STUDENTS APPLYING TO PITT MEDICINE:
Pitt has a diverse community of students and faculty from different walks of life, so don’t feel discouraged to apply due to fear of not fitting in. I believe what is even more impressive about Pitt Med is their open-mindedness to individuals with unique backgrounds, so be confident in your experiences and go for it.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT BEING IN THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH:
I love everything that has to do with food so restaurants like Umami (Japanese) in Lawrenceville, Soba (Pan-Asian) in Shadyside, Casbah (Mediterranian) in Shadyside are just a few of my favorites. The Northside of Pittsburgh is bursting with the artistry of several forms so Randyland, The Mattress Factory, and The Andy Warhol Museum are great places to visit.
WHAT DID YOU (OR ARE YOU PLANNING TO) DO DURING THE SUMMER AFTER YOUR FIRST YEAR OF MEDICAL SCHOOL:
Research and Shadowing
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE COURSE AT PITT MEDICINE:
I really enjoyed Anatomy despite the restrictions to cadaver lab access due to the pandemic. I also loved the Fuel metabolism course.
ANY FINAL ADVICE FOR ACCEPTED STUDENTS:
Take it easy. There will be so many opportunities and activities presented to you that you’ll be interested in, but it's important to choose things that you know you’ll get the most out of. This is also important to prevent burnout and the feeling of being overwhelmed. Also, find time for yourself and do something you love and value; it’s a long journey but as long as you find things outside of school that keep you grounded and well, you’ll be good!