Q&A with UMSOM First-Year Medical Student Apanjit Sahi

Apanjit Sahi is a first-year medical student (MS1) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. She graduated from UMD in May 2023 with a B.S. in Biological Sciences (Neurobiology and Physiology specialization) and a minor in Spanish. She is a first-generation college student and the first in her family to attend medical school. Our Student Ambassadors chatted with Apanjit about her time at UMD and her journey to medical school.

Apanjit Saha photo
Apanjit Sahi

Why Medicine?

My interest in medicine arose as an EMT when I was dispatched to a critical condition call in which the patient refused care because they could not afford the cost of the care. This is when I realized how the cost of care affected one’s quality of life and that I wanted to serve underserved communities. I also shadowed an Internist and saw how he was a patient advocate: the doctor would call insurance companies to lower the cost of treatment and I saw firsthand how a doctor can bridge the gap between healthcare disparities.  

What extracurricular activities do you think best prepared you for medical school?

Volunteering as an EMT taught me how to be resilient and adapt to new situations. As an EMT, I was exposed to many different scenarios that I definitely would not see typically. Also, volunteering with underserved populations taught me how to be culturally sensitive. 

How and when did you prepare for the MCAT? 

I took my MCAT during the spring semester of junior year. I began preparing for it in January by reading the Kaplan books and using the Miles Down Anki Cards and UWorld in association with the chapters that I read. Then I started taking full-length exams; during the final month, I used the AAMC resources.

What are the challenges you face in medical school?

Time management is a struggle at times, especially because I did not take a gap year. I try to stay purposeful in planning and use Google Calendar to incorporate self-care activities. Burn out is also a challenge, but I keep up my desire to learn while also making sure I’m still taking care of myself.

What hobbies do you have outside of medicine and how do you balance that?

I enjoy going to the gym and doing yoga! I like having a detailed plan of what I’m doing every day because it helps me stay purposeful to make sure it actually gets done.

What advice would you give your younger self? 

Embrace each moment and be more patient with myself! I would often see my peers doing activities, but everyone’s story is different so it's important to be patient with activities that come up. Doing things that align with your values is important, as well.   

What drew you to the University of Maryland School of Medicine? 

I was initially drawn to Shock Trauma because I had an EMT call that transported there. This call piqued my interest in emergency medicine! After talking with current UMSOM students I learned how the faculty are very receptive to student feedback and how UMSOM emphasizes active learning and early clinical exposure. 

What’s the most interesting interview question you were asked? 

“If your friends had to describe you using 3 words, what would they say?”

Is there anything else you want to share? 

If you are ever feeling lost, take advantage of HPAO! The HPAO advisors made me feel comfortable in where I was and gave me the confidence I needed to apply to medical school.