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One of the beautiful parts of attending the Saint James School of Medicine is our diversity of students. People come to our campus from all over the world and from such varied backgrounds. Sit down with any of our med students, and you will experience an incredible backstory unique to each individual.

As an example, we recently had the opportunity to talk with Mrs. Chandler Babb, a current third-trimester student at SJSM who just so happens to be an internationally recognized World Champion in Powerlifting. So, let’s dig into our discussion.

Who is Chandler Babb?

Raised in Michigan City outside of Detroit, Ms. Babb graduated from Grand Valley State University with majors in clinical exercise science and Spanish. After working for a few years as a physical therapy technician, she decided to return to school. This was right around when the global pandemic was affecting millions of lives worldwide.

Ms. Babb began powerlifting in 2017, with her first competition in September of 2018. From there, she has built one of the more impressive careers in the U.S., including representing America in Sweden later that year at Worlds and eventually to competition in Johannesburg, South Africa.

She holds the current World Championship in Powerlifting in her weight class of 69 kilograms (roughly 152 pounds). Keep in mind, this was all while in med school full time. That meant managing all her studying, extracurriculars, and training while maintaining a balanced social life.

What Drives You?

Sometimes when we ask our guests about the driving force behind their studies or careers, we get long, drawn-out answers, but in Ms. Babb’s case, we got such a straightforward response that genuinely reflects her ability to focus. Simply put, she wants to see how strong she can get.

Lifting has been ingrained into her daily habits and lifestyle so much that it is part of her identity. This is not just a goal to win awards and international accolades. This is a motivating force inside her that must be recognized daily.

That includes bringing the same determination to St. Vincent. While the islands did not initially have the facilities for someone of Ms. Babb’s background, there could be changes coming in the future from her high profile.

That is part of the appeal of coming to med school at SJSM. There are plenty of opportunities to build something new. We are a melting pot of various backgrounds, cultures, ideas, and hobbies. All it takes is a couple of individuals to create something unique for others to build upon, and a new community is born. Not to mention it doesn’t hurt being able to put on your residency CV that you began a powerlifting program at a college!

One of the more exciting parts of our conversation revolved around the planning Ms. Babb paid to come to St. Vincent. She checked out the physical distance between the gyms, medical school, facilities, and other activities to ensure everything she wanted to complete in a day as possible. That includes public transportation and some interesting problems solving.

For example, her coach is not located on the island. They have to communicate via email, WhatsApp, Instagram, Zoom, and other digital platforms to maintain the caliber of training required for international competition. A typical day for her is 8-3 in classes, 3:30-7/8 in the gym, and then the rest of the night studying.

Advice for Other Students

We talked about new students coming to the island for med school. For Ms. Babb, it is all about setting your expectations. Knowing in advance what you are getting into so you can adjust accordingly. In her case, adapting her schedule and travel allows her to maintain her powerlifting career while also having the mental space and motivation for a challenging medical career.

Many people at SJSM are happy to answer questions about student life and attending school on the island. Those insights are valuable when making such a different adjustment, especially for students who live in landlocked areas or fast-paced major cities. It also helps to reach out to staff and students before visiting. It also helps to reach out to staff and students before visiting.

It was a wonderful experience sitting down with Ms. Babb and discussing her successes in powerlifting and her future career at SJSM. We highly recommend you check out the entire podcast episode as we went into much more detail about student life and what she uses to fuel her incredible motivation.

As always, you can add Med School Minutes to your favorite podcast app, so you get notifications for the latest episodes where we cover all kinds of topics about student life and building a career in the medical field. Thank you again, and good luck to Ms. Babb!

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