Public university in the Midwest for 18 years running (U.S. News & World Report)
Pre-Med Studies at Truman State University
Dr. VICTORIA DAMBA
Truman grad year and major: 1994 Biology
Med School: Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine
Med School: grad year 1997
Specialty: Family Medicine
Hometown: Bloomsdale, MO
Current Residence/Job: Farmington, MO
Family: Married with three children
Why medicine? How did you decide that you wanted to be a doctor?
I was a nurse before I attended medical school. I decided to extend my medical training because I liked learning and realized I could afford medical school by utilizing student loans.
How did you prepare for med school? (extracurricular activities, shadowing, research, MCAT) Was there any part of your application that you felt was lacking and what would you have done differently to improve it?
My nurse’s training gave me a lot of insight into the medical field and allowed me to be very comfortable working with people. It also allowed me to work with and talk with some doctors in St. Louis, many of whom encouraged me to go to medical school. I don’t feel my application was lacking in any particular area, but I wish I would have gone sooner (I did not enter medical school until the age of thirty four). In my experience, nothing can help prepare you for the basic sciences in medical school.
How well did Truman prepare you for med school as compared to your classmates? In other words, what advantages or disadvantages does Truman offer to a pre-med student?
I felt able to compete with my classmates in terms of initial preparedness, but I had to learn a new way to study as most Truman tests were essay questions and medical school tests were largely in multiple choice format.
What classes did you find most helpful to you? What material did you apply after leaving Truman?
I felt all of my classes were beneficial to my education, even the computer and artistic classes taken at Truman. Biology, Biochemistry, and Genetics were particularly helpful classes.
How many schools did you apply to? Where?
I applied to four Missouri medical schools: KCUMB (Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences) in Kansas City, MU School of Medicine in Columbia, Saint Louis University in St. Louis, and KCOM in Kirksville.
How hectic is life for a medical student? For a doctor? How much time does your profession allow for family/friend recreation time?
Being an actual doctor is more hectic and time consuming than being a resident, but you have to be prepared to be busy for both times in life. I make time for my family as they are a priority over work. Also, living in a small town helps in finding time for both work and recreation.
What do you enjoy most about being a doctor?
I enjoy the variety and flexibility of being a doctor. I work in an office by myself and am able to schedule my own hours to a certain degree.
If you could do it all over again—from undergrad to where you are today—what would you do differently? Any regrets?
It is critical to evaluate your reasons for attending medical school and make sure you are doing it for the right reasons; to help and take care of your patients. Frustrated doctors are ones that go into the profession for the wrong reasons: money, prestige, and importance.
"The atmosphere at Truman is warm. People here are friendly and are willing to help you whenever you need it. Also, there are plenty of organizations available to help international students to make new friends, understand new cultures, and enjoy life in America."
– Anh Duc Mai, Mathematics & Economics, Vietnam