This is my last week of class! I can’t believe it, and although I’m really excited for what comes next I’m also sad to be leaving. Hopefully, those of you coming to Harvard College next year (class of 2015!!!) will find these series of posts useful if you are considering medical school, graduate school, or a combination.
When I arrived in Harvard Yard four years ago, I thought medicine and science were pretty cool. Like many of you, I had volunteered in a hospital in high school, and I felt at home there (I also didn’t faint when observing surgeries and enjoyed watching my blood get drawn as a child, strange as that sounds). I had the opportunity to work in a biophysics lab at the end of high school, and was excited to join a lab in the MCB Department when I got to Harvard (which meant I didn’t have to ride the M2 shuttle back and forth between my dorm and Longwood like many of my friends!) And yes, I had taken some AP science classes in high school, but my freshman fall I didn’t even know what an MD/PhD was (you can get both degrees? And the NIH pays you?!)
I took Life Sciences 1a and 1b–like many of you will, edited lots of drafts in Expos, and spent quality time in Lamont Library (open 24 hours!) Yet probably the two most formative experiences were getting to know my lab and being matched with my physician mentor. From my PI and the postdoctoral fellow who mentored me (for all four years!) I learned not only about PCR and how to run a gel, but slowly but surely, how to design experiments and think like a scientist. Along the way, I tried to figure out how to balance classes, extracurriculars, lab, and the rest of my life. My first summer, I was able to participate in PRISE—the Program for Research in Science and Engineering — along with a community of like-minded undergraduates, which you can read about here on the blog I wrote for the Office of Career Services. Looking back, I made some of my closest friends that summer, and many will be continuing on with me to medical school or graduate school. My physician mentor was incredible, and took the time to take me on rounds at the NICU and teach me about data collection and clinical research and what it means to be a physician. Spending time in the hospital with him strengthened my desire to go into pediatrics and learn more about how humans develop and how we get diseases when things go wrong. Little by little, I realized I wanted to pursue an MD/PhD, and I started looking into how I might spend the next eight or so years of my life.
To be continued!
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