26,000 Views and Counting: Student Inspires through Blogging (and Makes Dean's List, Too)
“I average about 14 emails a week from prospective students,” says Emma Cronk. “And that’s not counting my Instagram messages!”
Is Emma Cronk an admissions counselor? No—she’s a fourth-semester student at Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM). But since the personal blog where she chronicles her medical school journey took off among prospective students, she’s found herself a go-to resource for medical school hopefuls asking about her RUSM experience, seeking advice and simply wanting to know more about her. As of June 2016, her blog had more than 26,000 views.
Cronk grew up in a small rural town called Parham in Ontario. She started her blog in fall 2014 as a way to keep in touch with family after she entered the Medical Education Readiness Program (MERP) prior to beginning medical school—knowing she likely wouldn’t have time to keep up regular emails while immersed in microbiology. She chose the name “bigcronk” (she’s 6’4”) and gave it the pithy title “From D1 to DR” (she played Division I basketball during college).
It wasn’t long before she noticed that the number of views and comments on her posts was far surpassing the number of relatives she had. The sudden popularity came as a surprise, but a good one: She was glad to have an avenue to reach students.
“I write how I feel. I don’t hold back,” says Emma. “I preface that this is a blog that details all my emotions. And I think that’s why a lot of students relate to it and feel comfortable emailing me with questions about my experience.”
Why She’s a “Huge Advocate” for MERP
One of the most frequent questions Cronk receives centers around MERP, the 15-week program Cronk completed as a condition of her acceptance to RUSM, which provides additional academic preparation for medical school. Since completing MERP, Cronk has become a “huge advocate” for the program.
After graduating from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 2011, Cronk spent a few years traveling and working in Australia before applying to medical school. So she was glad to have the opportunity to get back into “school mode” and prepare for her M.D.
I knew I needed that refresher in the sciences,” Cronk says. “And once I got to Ross, it was clear just how amazing of a foundation it gives you. Microbiology, anatomy, biochemistry—all of these subjects are going to be with you the rest of your career. MERP shouldn’t be the exception, it should be the norm.”
Her number one tip for MERP students?
“Treat MERP like it’s your first semester of medical school,” Cronk says. “That mentality is the best thing I did—it’s what helped me succeed.”
Now, four semesters into her time at Dominica, Cronk has earned a scholarship, made Dean’s List every semester, and started a brand-new club on campus for her passion, sports medicine.
“I’ve always pushed myself to never settle, whether in school, sports or being a physician, because life’s too short to be something I don’t want to be,” says Cronk.
And through it all, she still manages to find time to keep updating her blog with new experiences, insights and plenty of photos.
“I want to thank everyone who reads my blog for cheering me on,” Cronk says. “I feel like I have a cyber-family. The comments I get are amazing, and they help me get through times when I feel stressed. Medical school can be tough, but it is so worth it.”