When making a decision as large as what medical school to attend, it sometimes helps to hear from someone who has gone through it before you and knows what she is talking about.

Addressing an auditorium of potential Saint James students at our Chicago Open House, Carolina Salazar, MD, an obstetrician-gynecologist, empathized with the crowd saying she was once where they are, learning about what the school had to offer and how it could help them along their journey to becoming doctors.

Dr. Salazar, who moved to Florida from Columbia when she was young, graduated from the University of Miami with a major in biology and a minor in psychology. She would go on to graduate from Saint James School of Medicine in 2019.

She first heard about SJSM when her family met a student on a flight to the Caribbean. He passed along his contact information and she talked to him several times while she was studying for her MCAT exam.

“I felt that SJSM was the right fit for me. Low tuition, MCAT optional, tropical environment, rotations in Chicago and an opportunity to live under the Caribbean sun,” Dr. Salazar said.

She went to the Anguilla campus and said she fell in love with the island. The lack of distractions, the kind people who lived there, the safety of Anguilla, and the peace she felt while there, made it a great place to study and work towards her ultimate goal of being a doctor. She also used her time to be a volunteer for the Red Cross on Anguilla. She said she looks forward to visiting Anguilla again on vacations.

When she came to Chicago for her clinicals, Dr. Salazar said Saint James offered multiple hospitals to choose from and she was able to establish contacts. One of those hospitals was Mercy Hospital, where she’d eventually match in the OB-GYN department.

While the OB-GYN department is a difficult program to get into, SJSM has been successfully placing on average one student per class into the program.

Dr. Salazar found herself going to work during her days off and holidays to check on her patients and learn. She said it helped her with her residency.

Dr. Salazar said Saint James School of Medicine has given her the opportunity to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a doctor and for that she will always be grateful. Through SJSM’s structured curriculum, she was prepared to pass her Step 1 exam and met amazing mentors while creating her own network in Chicago through her clinical rotations.

Her advice to prospective students is to keep working towards the goal of becoming MD’s. She said there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Let the passion drive the student and success will come at the end of the long journey to become a doctor.

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