Wartburg prepared me for medical school

NAME: Michael Slattery
MAJOR: Neuroscience
CURRENTLY: Third-year medical student at the University of Iowa’s Carver College of Medicine

WHY WARTBURG: There were multiple reasons I chose to go to Wartburg College, but the main reason was because I knew it was well known for producing competitive medical school applicants. Specifically, Wartburg has a great reputation at the Carver College of Medicine, and I know of multiple Wartburg students in each current class. What sealed the deal for me was my visit to campus and noticing how comfortable I felt on campus. I noticed I wasn’t feeling overwhelmed or increasingly nervous like I had felt on other visits. I felt like I had found my home for the next four years.

HOW DID WARTBURG’S NEUROSCIENCE MAJOR PREPARE YOU FOR MEDICAL SCHOOLMedical school is difficult due to the sheer volume of information presented to you in a short period of time. Because of my background in neuroscience and the excellent foundation I had received in basic neuroscience, neurology ended up being one of my best grades in our preclinical curriculum. I was able to build upon it and apply this knowledge to new clinical concepts I was learning.

Michael Slattery

WHAT DID YOU NOTICE WAS UNIQUE ABOUT WARTBURG ONCE YOU STARTED MEDICAL SCHOOL: One thing I noticed quickly after leaving Wartburg and stepping onto campus at the University of Iowa was how lucky I was to have a small class size at Wartburg and know almost everyone on campus. I missed walking to class each morning and saying “hi” to many of my friends and seeing familiar faces at each turn throughout my day. You just don’t get that same experience on bigger campuses.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WARTBURG TRADITION: Hands down, Outfly. You will always remember your first Outfly in the first-year dorms, getting woken up by pounding on your door and gathering around the Victory Bell early in the morning. I enjoyed spending the rest of the day participating in the activities held on campus and relaxing with a day without classes. Admittedly, my heart sinks every time I get the Outfly email as an alumnus and still have to go about my day as normal.

WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU NEVER IMAGINED YOU WOULD DO BEFORE COMING TO WARTBURG: I had not envisioned myself being active in alternative break service trips prior to attending Wartburg. Furthermore, I never thought I would be a leader on one of these trips. These trips turned out to be some of my fondest memories throughout my four years, and I would highly recommend current and prospective students to take advantage of this opportunity at Wartburg.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR CURRENT STUDENTS: If I could go back and tell my first-year self one piece of advice, it would be to spend some time learning how to learn effectively. Medical school taught me the difference between active and passive learning. Identifying what constitutes active learning and applying these methods to my daily routine in college would have afforded me even more free time to pursue extra-curricular activities and personal interests. Those extra-curricular activities are equally important in becoming a well-rounded applicant for medical school. 

WHY WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE WORTH IT: I knew I wanted to go to medical school prior to choosing which college to attend. However, what I did not anticipate when starting my journey at Wartburg was how much more my education would encompass. I not only learned biochemistry and neuroscience, but I built houses with Habitat for Humanity, took bird watching for a May Term course, made lifelong friends, was guided by incredible mentors and have a small place in northeast Iowa which still feels like home. My education not only enabled me to pursue my dream of becoming a physician, but I had a blast on the journey to becoming one.