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What do you think is special about Queens campus life?

What extracurriculars did you do during your high school years? Did you win any awards?

QUESTIONS

For another Queens QuARMS Student...

JUICY

What is some advice you would give students when applying to QuARMS?

Focus on what you're passionate about. Don't plan your entire high school career with one set program in mind, or even with one set career path in mind. Take the time in high school to really explore your options, and keep an open mind - you never know what will pique your interest. At the end of it, if you decide that one career or that one program really is what you want to pursue (QuARMS or otherwise), give it your all when applying but also know that your worth is not at all tied to whether or not you are accepted. You're no less of an individual if you are not accepted, and you're also no better of an individual if you are accepted.

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I initially was really interested in politics, youth engagement, and event planning, so most of my extracurricular activities in high school were in those realms. I was active in all three levels of government, was part of a few different Youth Councils, and was pretty involved in a number of youth non-profits and public speaking initiatives. I had my first biomedical research exposure at a Toronto hospital starting the summer following grade 11. My school also started a DECA chapter in my last two years of high school, so I competed at the international conference for that both years, along with some other leadership positions at school.

I love how involved everyone on campus is at Queen's. There's a true sense of community, and basically everyone is involved in at least one thing outside of academics, which is not the case at some other universities. I also think that the school is the perfect size to allow there to be something for everyone while also not being so large that you feel isolated or alone.

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How often is collaboration or group work required?

Collaborating with others is a large part of medicine, and medical school is certainly a reflection of that (we do a lot of small group learning and assignments). QuARMS does a great job of mirroring that along with some group presentations and service-learning built into the curriculum. I think group projects tend to get a bad rap in high school, but in postsecondary education in general, it's overall a really positive experience. A large task becomes a lot more manageable when divided amongst the members of the group, and more importantly, you learn so much from the others in your group that you may have never considered before.

Why did you choose QuARMS, what makes it unique to you?

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I love that the QuARMS program is developed specifically to allow you to grow both as an individual as well as a future physician. The focus of the program really is about the non-academic skills that you need to be an excellent clinician in the future - skills such as empathy, integrity, teamwork, resilience, and lifelong learning. There are no other programs out there that I know of that work so hard to specifically develop these skills, and especially not in many of the traditional science undergraduate programs that many future physicians pursue after high school. I also loved that the program gave me the freedom to explore my interests without any fear that it might impact my ability to pursue medicine in the future. During my undergrad at Queen's, I took mostly courses and got involved in extracurricular activities on campus that were not related to healthcare (including a business course taught entirely in French, and a lot of policy and political advocacy extracurriculars). These experiences allowed me to be a much more well-rounded individual, and I likely would not have taken the step to explore these options had it not been for the freedom that the QuARMS program gave me.

A very special thank you to our interviewee...

Headshot (Photo Credit - Justice King).j

MARY ZHU

A Third-Year Medical student at Queens University.

Mary Zhu is a part of the QuARMS program at Queens university and is currently starting her third year at Queens Medical School. She also runs a blog called "Counting to MD" where she discusses her journey to becoming a licensed physician and discusses all things lifestyle, self care, and medicine! Be sure to check her blog out for more information and commonly held misconceptions about QuARMS.

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For another Queens QuARMS Student...

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What is some advice you would give students when applying to QuARMS?

I would say that my greatest piece of advice for high school students planning on applying to QuARMS would be to never be afraid of pursuing and sharing what you are passionate about. To 

elaborate, never worry about trying to assimilate your interests and passions to a conventional mould; pursue extracurriculars that bring you joy and allow you to grow as a learner, community member, and, most importantly, as a person. Unapologetically pursuing your passions will enable you to build character and I believe this will help prospective applicants stand out and excel in not only their application to QuARMS, but all applications alike.

QUESTIONS

MORE JUICY

Why did you choose QuARMS, what makes it unique to you?

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I primarily chose QuARMS due to its unparalleled, accelerated structure. As someone who has been adamant about pursuing a career in the medical profession and admires medical innovation, I felt that the QuARMS pathway would be an excellent fit for me. QuARMS will allow me to work in a field that I am extremely eager to enter, at an accelerated rate, while providing me with the necessary tools to create positive change in the lives of patients and my community as a whole. Additionally, the tight-knit nature of QuARMS specifically appealed to me as a learner; I would liken the family or community-like feeling of QuARMS to that of the Shad program. Not only do you learn with your 9 other peers, you grow together and support one another, an aspect which I think is unique to QuARMS when compared to other undergraduate health science or medical pathways across Canada.

How would you describe the supplemental application process?

As of 2020, the application process for QuARMS now looks different in comparison to the year that I applied (2018-2019). My application process involved an initial application through the Chancellor’s Scholarship application. From this initial application, approximately 200 students were selected to write a supplemental application through the medical school. After this stage, 40 students were invited to an in-person interview on the Queen’s campus and from these 40, the 10 QuARMS students were selected. While the application process is now different, I believe that there are always shared themes across the old and new application processes.

What inspired you to work hard and strive to get into QuARMS?

Growing up seeing my loved ones, my late grandfather in particular, frequently in and out of hospital settings, I witnessed first-hand the pivotal role physicians play in a patient’s life. While physicians are able to uniquely enhance the quality of life for their patients, this effect 

extends to the patient’s family members, friends, and community. It was this effect that prompted my initial interest in the medical field, and it was this interest that helped me evolve as a learner. Moreover, I treated my failures with the same level of appreciation as my successes. In doing so, I was able to focus on growth and the development of character. I believe this approach to learning is responsible for the person I am today and that it was this approach that ultimately made me a suitable candidate for the QuARMS program. 

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How would you describe the workload and work-life balance?

I would describe the workload and work-life balance through the QuARMS pathway to be extremely manageable. Given the unique, accelerated approach of the QuARMS pathway, it gives students the opportunity to pursue several of their interests and hobbies that they would otherwise not be able to enjoy in a conventional route to medical school. Students in QuARMS no longer have to worry about the MCAT, among several other demanding application factors, freeing up their schedules. For example, being an avid singer, not only was I able to pursue my academic interests via QuARMS, but I was also able to continue singing and sharing my vocals with my community at Queen’s and joined an Acapella group on campus. Furthermore, being a highly family-oriented person, I also found that I was always able to make time for travelling back to my hometown each weekend so that I could spend time with my loved ones (my dog included)! Finally, as a whole, the unique structure of QuARMS enables students to dedicate some of their undergraduate career to learning and investigating the humanitarian and personal aspects of what it means to be a physician, aspects that are often lost given the workload of other health science pathways across the country.

A very special thank you to our interviewee...

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KABIR WALIA

A Second Year QuARMS student at Queens University.

Kabir Walia is entering his second year of studies at Queen’s University in the Queen’s Accelerated Route to Medical School (QuARMS) pathway, with a major in the life sciences. Kabir currently serves as a national officer for HOSA Canada, working to coordinate their annual spring leadership conference. In his free time, Kabir sings professionally, specializing in the genres of jazz, rhythm and blues, as well as musical theatre. Kabir is also an avid connoisseur of bubble tea!

Recently, Kabir started a page to share his voice and music with the world and has also been hosting virtual concerts through the COVID Performers Initiative.

Check out his music page below. 

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NEW CHANGES - 2020

Read about new changes to the 2020 QuARMS admissions process below...