Christina Smith

  • BS, Marketing - The Pennsylvania State University
  • MS, Biomedical Sciences - Eastern Virginia Medical School '17
  • MD Candidate - Eastern Virginia Medical School '21

Why did you choose EVMS?

EVMS has a very unique atmosphere about it – one that I have not found at any other medical school. The sense of warmth and community that pervades this campus is palpable. Here, you are welcomed, supported and appreciated. Faculty and students alike do their utmost to ensure your success. I chose EVMS because of this encouraging environment, which is not only conducive to learning, but also to one’s well-being.

Tell us about your non-medical background and how that has helped shape you as a student here in the med master program and now as a med student?

Before becoming an EVMS student, I served as an antiterrorism officer in the U.S. Navy where I deployed twice to the Arabian Gulf. The ship I was on had a complex mission that not only required months of planning but also months of implementation. Given the numerous moving parts of the mission and having to rely on third parties, you can imagine there were times when events did not go according to plan. It was inconvenient to say the least, but it taught me grit. It taught me to be resilient, to refocus quickly and to persevere through the failures.

Having this strength and determination, despite setbacks, has been the one facet of my character I have relied on the most both in the Med Master's year, as well as in medical school. It came into play when I performed worse than anticipated on an exam or when I was going through a period of burnout. There will always be setbacks in life and having the resolve to overcome them and move on is crucial to one’s success and outlook.

Was your transition difficult?

My transition from naval officer to premed/med student required four years of hard work and perseverance. I balanced a full-time job with prerequisite coursework in the evenings, MCAT prep on the weekends, volunteer work, scribing and a marriage in between. It was exhausting and at times, chaotic, but because I was (and still am) so passionate about medicine, the negative feelings I had pertaining to my hectic lifestyle were diminished by the excitement and anticipation of beginning a new venture.

If you could give any advice to an incoming Medical Master's student, what would it be?

Stay humble. You are undoubtedly brilliant, talented and accomplished, but there is – and always will be – more to learn. Remember that and learn not only from the faculty here, but also from your peers and your experiences. Observe and absorb everything you can; you will only benefit from it in the long run.