1. Why do you want to become a doctor?
I was enrolled in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Virginia when I applied to medical schools, so I realized I wanted to be a doctor later in life than the traditional medical school applicant. I first considered the profession after traveling to Central America where we set up and worked in medical clinics in rural Panama and Costa Rica. It was a tremendous experience and it solidified my desire to pursue medicine. I was studying biomedical engineering at UVA which made the pursuit of medical education a natural segue. Perhaps the most appealing aspect of the profession are the wonderful relationships one forges with patients and colleagues.
2. What year are you at UNC? How did you happen to enroll at UNC i.e. where did you receive your undergraduate education? What specialty or area of medicine are you planning to pursue?
I’m a second year medical student, or “MS2” in the medical campus vernacular. I went to undergraduate school at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, but I am a Raleigh, NC native. Choosing the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for medical school was an easy decision: it’s the best medical school in the world; contact me and I’ll tell you why. I’m undecided on what area of medicine I plan on pursuing; hopefully my rotations in the various departments next year will elucidate this conundrum. It’s often easier figuring out which areas of medicine you don’t want to practice!
3. What was your biggest surprise upon entering Medical School?
Medical School is notoriously difficult and hyped as a time-demanding commitment. I expected life to be anhedonic. This couldn’t be further from the truth. As a medical student you are surrounded by wonderful professors and classmates. It is a stimulating, enjoyable environment filled with excitement as one explores the complex profession of medicine.
4. What does the next 1,2,3 years look like for you?
1 year – Third year. I’ll be rotating on different services for several weeks at a time throughout the year (neurology, internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry and family medicine). These rotations can happen at hospitals throughout the state.
2 years – Fourth year. I’ll have several elective rotations during which I can learn more about various specialties and explore potential career paths. I’ll spend much of the year traveling and applying for residency programs. I could also take a year off to do research, if that were something that would interest me.
3 years – If all goes as planned, I will have graduated from medical school and will be in my first year of residency or internship.
5. What are you most excited about, and most anxious about, upon entering a career in health care?
Excited about – being out of the classroom and finally applying the techniques/procedures we have learned to practical scenarios involving my own patients.
Anxious about – where health care reform will take the industry.
6. What has been your greatest achievement in medicine so far?
Learning the brachial plexus.
7. What has been the most difficult adjustment in a postgraduate education in medicine?
Realizing I will not get a pay check for four more years. A physician friend of mine in Costa Rica was a full doctor by the age of 21. Best case scenario: I have my first payday as a resident at 27.
8. What is your ideal hospital or working environment?
It is hard to say at this point in my young career, but I think I’d enjoy being in a large academic medical center, much like what we have here in Chapel Hill.
9. What would you like to see in a health care reform package?
Hm. Tough question. I guess the quick answer is that I’d like to see a system with three things: 1) the patients receive the best care available 2) the physicians are adequately compensated for their services and 3) the country doesn’t go bankrupt. I’ll let the politicians figure out the details from there.
10. What has been your greatest challenge in medical school?
Pinpointing the anatomical location of the funny bone on our cadaver.