Adam Knecht
  • Hometown: Barboursville, West Virginia
  • Undergraduate Degree: Biochemistry from West Virginia University

1. What made you want to get your MD degree at WVU?

I went to undergraduate school here and it is close to home. I feel the program is very competitive with other schools around the country which I think our school's past performance on board exams has proven. I felt very comfortable here and I knew this is where I was meant to be which is why it is the only school I applied to.

2. What made the program so appealing?

The program was appealing because it is has a lot to offer. We get to take shelf exams in every class which help us prepare for board exams. Our STEPS simulation center provides us with opportunities to get hands on learning before clinical work and our new ultrasound curriculum helps us better prepare for the future of medicine. The people here are very nice and happy to help you when you have questions. We have a saying here that goes "once a mountaineer, always a mountaineer." Quite simply, once you are part of our family, you are always part of our family and help can always be found to those who ask. That is one of the unique aspects of our school you will not find many places.

3. What is your favorite part of the program?

I really enjoyed the PDCI course the first and second year. You are introduced to your first patients in this class and you learn the basic skills of becoming a doctor. You will not remember every single fact that you learn in medical school, but PDCI sets the foundation you need for the rest of your career and you will use these skills in any specialty that you choose.

4. What made you want to become a doctor?

No one in my family is a doctor and no one in my family was even in the medical field until just a few years ago. I was not exposed to medicine at a young age like many of my classmates and I was never the child who played surgery on his stuffed bear. However, there are two moments that shaped my life which were my grandpa had open heart surgery when I was young and my grandma died from cancer. Those two events really opened my eyes to medicine and I find that I love it more every day. At the end of the day there is nothing that I could imagine doing other than being a doctor and I know I made the right choice.

5. How do you balance home, school, and a social life?

This was the hardest part about the transition from undergraduate to medical school. I remember during orientation we were all told that medical school was now our profession and we were now held to higher standards. After 2 years, I see how true that statement is. You will work hard, but you cannot let school consume you. You have to make time for friends and family and most importantly you cannot give up the things you love to do. Medical school is a huge time commitment, but I have also found that you have plenty of time for yourself and the things you love to do once you get use to the demands.

6. What do you think about the school's community service requirement?

I really like it because a large part of being a doctor is helping others and giving back to your community. This gives us our foundation to continue giving back for the rest of our lives which will never make us forget why we went into medicine in the first place. It may be daunting when you see the requirement at first, but our school and community have plenty of service opportunities and you simply have to find the things you enjoy and are passionate about.

7. The program had a week long orientation before classes started. What did you think of that?

Camp Ferrari was great! It was a lot of fun getting to meet my classmates and some of the faculty that would teach us in the first 2 years. We were told what to expect by teachers and medical students who have already gone through part of the curriculum which took a lot of worries off of my mind. It was fun playing Frisbee golf and corn hole and I also made friends I still have today.

8. You recently received your white coat. How was the ceremony?

It was great to take a break from school and get the messages that we got in out coats. The messages were from alumni and told me that school does not last forever and you will be doing what you love soon. I got to spend the weekend with my family and really gave me a shot of motivation to help get through the shelf marathon at the end of 2nd year. I would like to be part of more when i graduate provide the same motivation to future medical students.

9. What are your goals after graduating?

I would like to do something cardiology related, but I may change my mind as I experience what medicine has to offer the next 2 years. I also hope to start my own summer camp for children as many of our faculty currently do. Finally I would like to continue to be involved at WVU whether that is through practicing here or donating future white coats or stethoscopes to future WVU medical students.

10. What is your favorite thing to do outside of school?

I love to golf. I have been golfing for 13 years and many people in my family golf which is a good way to spend some quality time with them. For me, it is stress reliever to be outside and be with my friends and family.

11. Do you have any advice for anyone thinking about medical school?

I would recommend to shadow someone get a little experience. You certainly want to know what you are getting yourself into because medicine is a very trying, but also a very rewarding career. I belief if you have some experience and are able to truly understand why you want to be a doctor you will always be happy with your decision. There are times where you will be stressed and will struggle, but there are also times that put a big smile on your face. I believe if you have some experience and expectations of what to expect for the next 4 years, you will have many more smiles on your face than stressed out looks. If I can do it, then anyone can!

- Interviewed summer of 2014 (at the beginning of the MS3 curriculum)