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David Freeman


Nashville, TN

Undergraduate School and Major 
Washington University in St. Louis

Specialty/Career Plans
Still undecided: leaning towards pediatrics or urology

Extracurricular Activities
Yoga! Racquetball, running, drawing/writing graphic novels, movies of all sorts, good conversation

Marital Status

David Freeman   
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Why Quillen
After four years in Washington University’s research-intense environment, I had a deep yearning for a program that focused on people instead of merely being populated by them. When I visited Quillen, everyone I talked to impressed upon me how important interpersonal relationships were in the curriculum, as well as among the faculty and studentry. This intimation of people-oriented learning has only been verified during my time here; Quillen is chock full of good soul. All of this is not to mention the high quality of instruction, which is made all the more salient by the connection between student and staff. And the location! Johnson City is not a big town, but Appalachia is a gorgeous locale for meditative study. What Quillen added up to, to me, was a place where people were first and that was consistent with how I wanted to live my life.

Being a Quillen Student
One of the first things that anyone notices about Quillen is the class size. Sixty people is a small cohort compared to other schools, and it comes with innate ups and downs. For one, most of the M1 year is spent in one classroom, everyday, with the same group (when you’re not in the anatomy or histology labs with, again, the same group). It is hard to hide in that small of a population; everyone wants to know everyone else’s business. That can be taken as a bad thing or a good thing – personally, I greatly enjoy being able to know everyone in my class on a level deeper than acquaintance. Think about it – these are the people to whom you might recommend patients in the future; wouldn’t you want to know them? A couple of extra points. The atmosphere of Quillen is highly supportive – it is like being in a big family. Professors are approachable and know your first name, you are welcome to have dinner with their families, and even the cleaning staff will ask you how your life is going. As for the academic workload, it is manageable. Bottom line on being a medical student: you’re studying all the same material that everyone across the nation is studying. So go study it.

Life Outside the Classroom
At medical school, time becomes a commodity. You have precious little that you can call your own, and how you spend it is central to how you will experience medicine. Personally, my free time is utilized as a way to decompress from brain-cramming, and there is much fun and enjoyment to be had in Johnson City. If I were not in medical school, I might have a more difficult time finding enough to do. As such, free time for me is occupied with JC activities with classmates, and we make our own fun. Post-exam plans have varied from ski trips to listening to musicians in Asheville to myriad costume parties (personal all-time favorite…It has been commented that all we med students seem to do is study and dress up). School-sanctioned events are a rollicking time too: the formal Cadaver Ball and informal Back to Books parties, phlebotomy workshops, and intramural sports on the ETSU campus. And for the stoic loner, the hiking trails through the Appalachian Mountains are a wonderful place to contemplate.

Living In Northeast Tennessee
If you have not seen the Smoky Mountains, y’all ’re missing out on a vision. Northeast Tennessee could not be more picturesque when it comes to natural beauty. I have been on the Appalachian Trail twice since I have moved here – breathtaking. As for the populations in urban and rural areas, fight back the corn pone stereotype. If the residents of NE Tennessee follow any Southern typecasting, it is niceness and congeniality. And fine Southern cooking. The Tri-cities (Johnson City, Kingsport, and Bristol) describe the 4th largest metropolitan region in Tennessee, and the feel is semi-small town. One of the ways that I have always portrayed it is that a town like St. Louis has four to five of a type of restaurant, coffeehouse, neighborhood – Johnson City has one of each. My only regret is the lack of an indy movie theater. Alas! Synopsis: it is a great place to live for a student; life outside of school is easygoing and nonstressful.

Words of Wisdom
Er, “Change is inevitable except from vending machines”? When it comes to applying to medical school, I believe that the key is honesty and openness. Everyone has done the work to get to the point of applying, and the key to standing out to an admissions committee is to be honest and earnest. People identify with honesty right out of the gates, and honest folk are the type of people that should be getting into medicine. Now when it comes to being a medical student, the paradigm shift I have noticed (in myself and others) is the evolution from “studying” to “having a profession of study.” Medical education is not hard so much as it is high-volume, and to do well, you have to put in the time. Just like you would in a paid job, you treat certain hours of your day as medical-study time, no exceptions or truancy. Not a complicated formula. Work hard everyday, don’t burn yourself out (This is vital – I recommend yoga!), and you will succeed. Then remember to carry that ethic for work and that honesty into your career.

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