Congratulations!! You decided to apply to medical school, got accepted, or thinking about it. Whatever the case may be, you're one step closer to becoming a doctor.
If you're reading this, you probably heard of MERP and would like to learn more about it. I'm here to help, as a person who has gone through the program(December '18-March '19) and now part of the Class of 2023.
What is MERP? MERP stands for Medical Education Readiness Program. MERP is a 15-week program offered by Ross and AUC. Each school, chooses students for different reasons. Mainly, they want to make sure you are successful in medical school. Based in Miramar, Florida. For Canadians, in Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) in Toronto, Ontario. You will be studying in the same building as 3rd year Ross IMF students (Doesn't exist anymore) and nursing students from Chamberlain. Canadian students where seen on a TV behind us, before Zoom became cool. If for some reason you fail, tuition is refundable. I know you won’t!!
What to expect? Getting accepted I had a true whirlwind of emotions. I was overcome with joy and excitement. Then it hit me, how do I get there? What do I bring? Where will I live? Should I bring my car? How will I pay for it?
I live on the East Coast, so I decided to take the Lorton, VA auto train to Sanford, FL. For me, it was a great option to bring all my belongings and my car, win-win. I was fortunate to have my dad accompany me. Others though, especially from the West Coast, taking an Amtrak wasn't an option. Some without a car, walked to school, rented a car, ubered, or were able to take a ride with one of their classmates. To find a place, I looked on a Facebook group, called Ross IMF Merp Rotation Housing Finder, marketplace, and a website Ross provided with Ross vetted apartments. Most places are in someone's house where they either still live or rent rooms to multiple students. I was lucky enough to find a one-bedroom, one-bath apartment with a private entrance. The only caveat, there was No kitchen. So if you can live without a kitchen for a few months it saves some money. I did find a way to cook with a hotplate, a rice cooker, microwave, and toaster oven. Rough it out 'til you make it! As for what to bring, Ross sends you a checklist of items to bring including what other students said to definitely bring.
Some of my, I didn't know I needed it items are: Pair of black slip-on vans (It looks business), a toaster oven, iPad pro with pencil and keyboard, blanket, and a sweater for the icy cold classroom. If you can, I highly suggest buying a monitor. I bought a 32" monitor from target for black Friday. I connected it to my MacBook Pro and there, a huge computer. with my iMac keyboard and mouse. Lastly, as far as money. MERP is not covered under Federal Student Loans so I had to take out a private loan. I used the money for rent, food, and gas. (Amazon Links Below)
Schedule? Classes are from 8am-12pm. After 12 pm, for the most part, is up to you how you choose to spend it. Can go home, to open office hours or open lab. There are some mandatory sessions you must attend though. After class, I usually went to my apartment to take a nap(12-2pm), eat(2-3pm), study(3pm-8), and watch Netflix or read a book(8-10pm). On Fridays, if I had any questions about the week material I would go to open lab where all the professors and TA's were. Over the weekend, I'd either study at my apartment or at school. At school, I would either meet up with some classmates or study on my own.
Transition MERP to Ross: What I wish I knew? MERP is a program to help understand the magnitude of how much you will need to study and give you a taste of what's to come. Medical school won't exactly be like it. Getting to the island is another whirlwind. The study skills you learned and helped you in MERP stick with them. However, do caution the way you studied in MERP may not work 100%. So please tweak what needs too and don't overcomplicate it. I found when I took all of the upper semester's advice for studying I didn't stay true to myself and failed. ( That's another story) Stay true to yourself and you all will crush it!
Overall Experience and Tips: I had a great experience. I made lifelong friends. Some, who I didn't even speak to until starting on the island. If you're going through this journey alone, after MERP it won't feel like it. You will have people who support you in different ways than family and home friends would. My biggest tip is to enjoy your time at MERP. Even though it may feel overwhelming a lot of the times, there's more to come. You'll look back one day when you're in your last semester of basic sciences and think those were the good old days.
No matter what happens. You're amazing. Medical school is here to challenge you in all the ways you didn't think possible. I never thought I'd be where I am today, studying for step. 3 years ago, I was in the library of a hospital I worked at reading through first aid thinking one day I will actually need to read this. Here I am reading through it. If I can do it so can you!! Don't give up!
Note: Due to Covid. Please check with the school if it's online or not.
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