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About DarkRoastBlaq

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  1. It’s been a few days now since I’ve received my acceptance and it’s so surreal. I’m hoping this post will touch at least one person and help motivate them to never give up on their dream. PART I - Failure I started my first undergraduate degree in 2008 in a city away from my family. I was 16 years old at the time and chose to study biomedical sciences. I was also a member of a varsity sports team and was super motivated to get good grades and eventually attend a Canadian medical school. Then life hit me in the face with a sack of bricks. During my first year of this degree, my father lost his battle with leukaemia. The loss of my father flipped my world upside down. With extended family members fighting over his estate, feeling isolated while attending school, and my grades suddenly plummeting...I lost my path. My grades suffered heavily and instead of taking the time to grieve I tried to push my feelings aside. Instead of taking ownership of the situation I blamed my poor academic performance on the degree. So I switched into engineering, performed even worse, and then ultimately ended up switching to a degree in chemistry. I was the captain of the varsity team at this point and then retired from sport. I finished my chemistry degree with a 2.x GPA but managed to get my name on a research paper. I also wrote the MCAT and decided not to study...you can imagine how well that went. Thankfully, after graduation the legal disputes surrounding my father’s estate was resolved shortly after graduating. I took some time to evaluate my life and figure out what was important to me. I also attended therapy sessions and took the time to grieve. I knew that I wanted to practice medicine in Canada so I figured out a plan to make that dream become a reality. PART II - Road to Redemption I moved back home and came to this forum to see if it was possible. I’m grateful to have found and read some of the stories on here because it helped me figure out what to do. In 2014 I chose to enrol in a second undergraduate degree. My plan was to be accepted to either Western or Queens Med since they look at your best two years. This time I studied economics because I was interested in learning something more applicable to everyday life. It would also only take me 3 years to complete. I worked full time in a factory, volunteered, and researched during this time. There was no room for error. It was challenging and after my first year of Econ I had a 3.83 GPA (only considering the Econ grades here). I felt it had to be higher so I studied even more and cut my hours at the factory to part time. In the summer between the first and second year I wrote the new MCAT, studied, but only scored a 505 (damn it). I brought my second year Econ GPA up to a 3.98 and studied for the MCAT the following summer...508 (damn it). I put my head down for the final year of my Econ degree and graduated with a 2 year GPA of 3.95. Good enough for Western and Queens. I graduated with the gold medal from economics and received other academic awards based on my performance. Things were starting to turn around for me. I needed to bring my MCAT score up so I left the factory and took the year to solely focus on Med school apps. I studied in the summer of 2017 for 60+ hours per week and wrote the MCAT in July. Shortly after, I began doing contract work for the university as a research assistant. I started on my Med school app just in case I scored well on my 4th attempt. I got my score back and it was a 515. I was relieved that it was above the cutoffs for Schulich. I submitted my app and worked in the mean time. I received an interview invite to Western and prepped like there was no tomorrow. Though looking back on it, I didn’t prep adequately. I interviewed and was normal wait listed. Unfortunately I waited all summer and didn’t get an offer. PART III - Success During the waiting period I started thinking of contingency plans. I knew that it was a gamble to just wait around for an acceptance. I also needed to start working because whatever money I had saved from the factory was disappearing. It’s nearly impossible to get a professional job with an undergrad so I looked into Masters programs related to Econ. It was past the deadline for all masters applications. However, I took a chance and emailed the admissions committees of two programs. The Toronto program said tough luck, while the Western program indicated that a student had declined their offer so there was an open spot. I wrote my essays and gathered my transcripts in 24 hours and applied. Within a few days the director of the program scheduled an interview and I was accepted. In 2018 I started my Master of Financial Economics degree with the goal of starting a career in investment banking. I put the thought of medicine out of my mind for a while because I couldn’t apply until this degree was over and I wanted a solid plan B career in place. I networked with over 100 finance professionals (cold calls, emails, blind coffee chats in Toronto, networking events etc.) - little did I know all this talking to strangers would help down the road . I ultimately landed an internship at a global finance firm with their boutique investment banking team in the summer of 2019. In May 2019 I moved to Toronto for my internship. The hours were long and I spent that summer grinding to get a full time offer. In August I received a full time offer at the end of my internship and breathed a sigh of relief. Around this time, the idea of medicine started creeping back into my mind. I started to question whether investment banking was aligned with my values as a person. After some introspection I realized it would not offer me the personal fulfillment that I’ve been looking for. I sat down with my partner and explained to her that I wanted to give medicine another shot. She supported me completely. I was scheduled to start the final semester of my Masters degree in Sept so started on my Med application in August. I spent two months refining every aspect of my application (essays, ABS, picking good references etc.). I applied to Toronto, Western, Queens and Ottawa. In October my employment contract came in the mail and I asked for a March 2020 start date because I wanted to use the time between graduating from my masters and starting work to prepare for interviews (hopefully). I felt comfortable with my interviewing skills because of all the networking I did during my Masters and all of the finance interviews I had. However, I still spent a lot of time preparing because I didn’t want to leave anything to chance. I received one interview at Schulich and scheduled an early March interview date because I knew my workload would start to pick up if I delayed the process. I interviewed and felt okay about it all. Now the waiting began...luckily I had work to keep me distracted. As May 12 (decision day) grew closer I started picking apart every answer and felt nervous. Try not to do this. I woke up on May 12, 2020 to some fantastic new from Schulich and started to cry tears of joy with my partner. All of my hard work finally paid off. I am truly honoured and thrilled to be a part of the Schulich Med family. PART IV - Takeaway It took me 12 years to receive an acceptance to a Canadian medical school. That time consisted of 2 undergraduate degrees, 4 MCAT attempts a masters degree, working on Bay St. and 2 application cycles. There were a select few people in my corner and honestly I’m sure some of them lost faith in me. I remember being told to try for the Caribbean, Ireland, or Australia. I ignored their suggestions and chose to remain steadfast and believe in myself. By taking the harder path I grew a lot as an individual and was able to have some really cool experiences that I hope to draw from as I begin my journey as a medical student and beyond. Please never give up on your dream, the time it takes to accomplish something should not deter you from striving towards long term happiness and fulfillment. Thanks for taking the time to read this. If you have any questions feel free to PM me
  2. Result: ACCEPTED (unspecified) Timestamp: 9:02AM 2-year GPA: 3.95 MCAT: 129/126/128/132 (515) Interview: In person interview. I came out feeling like I did well, but it was really hard to gauge it. There were some impressive things on my application I really wanted to talk about in the interview but didn't get a chance to. Worked out in the end! Year: Graduated from Masters, been working for a Bay St. firm for about a year. Geography: SWOMEN Will be accepting since this is my only offer.
  3. I’m predicting buttons for Western and Toronto applicants come out on Monday. Dental students received their offers today...so maybe these schools were preoccupied with giving out dent buttons.
  4. I could see them using Zoom or another video conferencing software.
  5. Agreed. Even stats may not do anything though. There are so many variables in play that multicollinearity issues could arise. Also it’s such a small sample size that it wouldn’t be truly reflective.
  6. As someone who’s done both types of interviews for investment banking jobs. I personally find virtual interviews to be easier. There are definitely arguments for both cases, but I think having a virtual interview could lead to biases in interviewers assessments. They may feel more sympathetic towards those who have to interview virtually because of the possible complications that go along with that format (bad internet connection, video quality etc.). One solution could be to do a statistical analysis of scores from both types and normalize to adjust for biases. Then standardized scores can be compared. Or put less weight on the interview and more on the aABS.
  7. I thought it went well overall. One question was tough for me, but the others were standard. My panel was fairly neutral through the whole thing. I thought I was able to make connections with the 2/3 of the panel members.
  8. I don’t think it’s customary here in Canada. I’ve never heard of anyone doing this for a Canadian school. I could be wrong.
  9. Time Stamp: 10:14 AM Invite/reject: Invite IP/OOP: IP SWOMEN (Y/N): Y 2YGPA: 3.95 MCAT (CHEM/CARS/BIO/PSYCH): 129, 126, 128, 132 Essays (X/8): 8/8 Spent a month writing and perfecting these. Super grateful for the chance to interview!
  10. Thanks for the compliment and reaching out. I think the difference is somewhat negligible between the S&P500 index and the US total market index. If you take a look at the link below and scroll down to the end of the equities ETFs you can see that the S&P500 index has lower management fees and has outperformed the total market index over the last 5 years. I chose Vanguard because they are reputable. The S&P500 represents the 500 largest companies on US exchanges. It is a market cap weighted index which means that the 10 largest companies account for approximately 22% of the index. So if you choose that, you are putting a bit more faith into the largest public companies. You'd be more diversified with the US total market but you'll likely have a lower return over time than if you went with the S&P because you are taking on less risk. Also the US total market fund has higher management fees. You could also decide to split your money between the two and see how each performs over time, then move more of your funds into the index that performs better. Overall, it really depends on you and your husband's risk tolerance and your investment horizon, but I really don't think there is a huge difference and you can't go wrong with either. Hope this is helpful. https://www.vanguardcanada.ca/advisors/products/en/overview/etf EDIT: Forgot to mention that a good book on investing is called "A Random Walk Down Wall Street: A Time Tested Strategy for Successful Investing" by Burton Malkiel
  11. Congrats on becoming net worth positive, that's a huge accomplishment and it requires a lot of financial discipline. I'm a Master of Finance student and was fortunate enough to work in the high finance industry. I'm not a portfolio manager, but took a portfolio management course last semester. I would personally pay off the remaining LoC and any other debts (car payments etc.) asap, then max out TFSA. Afterwards, start saving for an emergency fund -- account for royal college costs in this. I can't tell you how much to save because that really depends on your own personal situation, which I don't know enough about. Also, how much you invest in equities versus fixed income securities using your TFSA is entirely up to you and your risk tolerance. Are you going to feel tempted to try and time the market if you see small fluctuations in your portfolio? A very risky portfolio tends to have a higher return, but if it's going to tempt you to try and time the market (which is virtually impossible) this could lead to high transaction costs from frequent trading and decrease your overall return. If you feel you are disciplined enough then I would invest in index ETFs, they have lower fees and track an index. I would personally use these for long term investments (40+ years) and reinvest the gains. Compounding interest is a beautiful thing. Personally, I would stay away from mutual funds because after fees they tend to underperform the benchmark (S&P 500). There is a ton of literature on this. At the end of the day, I would be patient as there really is no huge rush to invest. Take the time to learn so that you feel comfortable. Try to find a good financial advisor -- someone who teaches and challenges you rather than either (a) being a yes man/woman or (b) giving you advice without backing it up. There are a lot of bad financial advisors and portfolio managers out there and it is a lot easier to lose money than it is to make money. Take your time to seriously vet them before investing your money. Don't trust anyone who promises extraordinary profits on your investments. Investing is a long game centred around minimizing loss rather than maximizing gain. Always remember, it is YOUR money and YOU worked hard to make it. They are your potential employee and you should not feel obligated to invest with them. Feel free to DM me if you have any questions. Always happy to help.
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