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Meet the medical students we have featured thus far. You could be next!
Laura Henry, UPenn
"I was a late comer to the medical field. I majored in Political Economy at Williams College and went on to New York City after graduation to begin a career in finance. Fueled by a need for purpose, I started volunteering an hour per week at the Hospital for Special Surgery. After a few months of uncertainty on how to proceed, along with the rock-solid support of my family and friends, I took a leap of faith. I left my job in finance, started volunteering for full mornings at HSS, helping out in a homeless shelter’s medical clinic in the afternoons, and babysitting at night to pay the rent. The following year I completed a pre-med post-bac and am now a third-year med student at Penn. I haven’t looked back once."
Abbey Brindley, Semmelweis University
"I am a big knitter/crocheter - it’s such a stress relief during med school! But, to answer your question, I decided to join medical school and become a doctor because I honestly couldn’t see myself doing anything else. This career will be challenging, hands on, teamwork-oriented, but most of all, ultimately satisfying since I get the chance to combine my medical knowledge and critical thinking to treat patients. It is an honor to be taught by such inspirational doctors. I can only aspire to be as hard-working and ambitious as they are. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to study medicine and feel as if I will never have to work a day in my life!"
Gina Aeckersberg, Goethe University
"I think one of the most valuable things we learn in medical school is the importance of teamwork. During my last year in med school, a family from Afghanistan came to the hospital with their sick child. The parents only spoke Farsi and we had no idea what was wrong with their daughter. Luckily, one of the guys that worked in patient transport spoke Farsi and he agreed to help us out. We ended up admitting the child and from that day on he would round with us every day until the family left the hospital. This experience really taught me how incredibly important it is to have a great team that goes above and beyond for their patients. To me - this is what makes medicine such a great field to work in!"
Dan Pelzman, University of Pittsburgh
"We are usually told that the most competitive specialties (based on percent of seniors who match, average board scores, etc.) are: dermatology, neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, otolaryngology, ophthalmology, plastic surgery, radiation oncology, urology, and vascular surgery. Often, the competitiveness is due to a combination of perceived specialty prestige, post-residency lifestyle, and the small size of programs. However, matching into any prestigious program can be extremely competitive, so specialty is not the sole determinant of a program’s competitiveness.”
Negin Karimian, Charité
"Since I was a child, I have always dreamt of being a singer. Then, my mother got breast cancer when I was 12-years-old and I decided that I want to fight diseases because they seem so unfair. Thankfully, my Mom got better, but it made me realize how precious life is, which led me to studying medicine. Having experienced nearly losing someone I love, I want to help others going through the same thing. I want to show them that anything is possible and you have to keep fighting the disease! And no worries - I still sing!"
Mutasim Battah, Jordan University
"The small efforts often make the biggest difference! Despite all those moments when I thought I couldn't do it, I always remind myself that all of these difficult days are worth it. I once met a family in the hospital. I was the only one who spoke their language. I visited them every day, fostering a relationship with them. The relief they had when they could communicate all their concerns to someone who understood, and the joy the father conveyed when he knew his daughter would get better made me realize the huge responsibility I have."
Naren Nallapeta, University of Buffalo
"Residency in the U.S. is very different from the residency in India. There are many pros and cons for both countries, from patient population to healthcare systems. 1. Medical education in India involves more rote memory than practical learning. In the U.S., there are less theory-based examinations and more practical and application-based testing, overall. 2. India has a diverse disease burden when compared to the U.S. 3. The U.S. has a very litigate type of practice. 4. The demographics of both countries are completely different. "
Abby Goron, University of Maryland
"There are ways that I stay motivated and keep things in perspective. One, I just remind myself that it is such a privilege and an honor to have the opportunity to study medicine, something that really fascinates me. Many would kill for this education, so I always need to express gratitude. Two, I remind myself why I'm doing this, which I've come to appreciate, not so much for myself, but for my future patients. I've learned it is much more important to treat a patient and not a disease - to go above and beyond for them! And those thoughts are what keep pushing me forward."
Evan Kuhl, George Washington University
"When I was 18, I became an EMT and started working part-time. After my very first experience in an emergency department, I knew I wanted to become an ER doctor. The hum of people and activity always felt like a second home. Anytime I needed inspiration, I would spend a shift in the ER, and it would remind me what I was working towards."
Armaan Rowther, Johns Hopkins
"The most difficult aspect of training to become a physician is not relinquishing your humility along the way. Education is defined as much by what we learn to forget as by what we learn to remember. In med school, while memorizing dizzying amounts of information, I am afraid we too often unwittingly learn to forget our limits - the limits of not only our own knowledge and abilities, but also the limits of our own importance. This is evident every time we think ourselves too busy and our time too precious to speak with our patients rather than at them."
Janicca Jänz, Medical University Berlin
"When I was 27, after having obtained a degree in management and working full-time for three years, I couldn't picture myself doing an office job for the rest of my life. As medicine had always interested me, and I wanted to make a difference, I thought, 'this is your chance - it's now or never!' So, I quit my job and enrolled at Medical School Berlin. The first semester was pretty rough. But now I am in my 3rd year and everything is going well. I think taking that big leap of faith was the best decision I could have ever made!"
Michael McClurkin, Harvard University
"I grew up in Buffalo, a post-industrial town in western New York. We were quite poor, but at the same time, I didn't know any better. My Mother always stressed the importance of a good education and encouraged me to do my best in school. As a teenager, I started to realize that poverty through stress and lack of resources can have a negative impact on health and I wanted to make sure that those who are in poverty had a voice in healthcare. By the end of secondary school, I had committed to studying medicine. By the end of university, I realized that public and private forces exert a large influence on the well-being of the society I aim to serve."
Michelle Lund, Northwestern University
"My sister was my first patient. Each time she scraped her knee I would make gauze pads out of soggy Kleenex and bandage her up. Fast-forwarding to college, I discovered I was passionate for teaching science. While volunteering at a local hospital, I realized that what I was really looking for was a doctor-patient relationship. In that unique interaction, we have the opportunity to empower our patients by educating them about something as valuable as their health. We are in a better position to teach people how to have better, longer lives. Who wouldn't want to be a part of that?"
Amna Iftikhar, CUNY School of Medicine
"I reflect on why I wanted to study medicine in the first place. I picture myself seeing patients and being the doctor that they trust their lives with. This is the biggest motivation because I realize that although what I am learning now is going to show up on the boards, it is also going to show up in how I treat my patients. I remember it is vital for me to get a good understanding of the material if I am going to help heal patients and be the best doctor I can be."
Sereen Hussain, Shaheed Suhrawardy
"As a child, I remember seeing pictures of doctors wearing white coats, which struck a nerve in me. I loved seeing them treating patients, showing compassion, giving others hope. Therefore, I was fascinated by the life of a doctor from a very early age. Fast forward to medical school, and the thing that most attracts me now is the ability to communicate with patients. As a med student, we get the unique opportunity to talk with patients, listen to the history of their diseases, and sometimes explain their illness to them. The way they look at us, that smile of gratitude, is priceless."
Hassan Bouguila, Medical School of Tunis
"I think humanity is experiencing a huge leap in its evolutionary history in all fields. I chose to become a physician because I wanted to be a part of this innovation. We are already able to manipulate genes and make programmed cells - the flow of progress is growing exponentially and that, to me, is utterly amazing! No one knows what the future holds! So, in addition to solving patient problems everyday, it's a passion of mine to make progress in the medical field. Why? Because I will be shaping the future of medicine by participating in revolutionary studies and research. "
Get involved! Our new campaign, #anatomyofamedstudent, will feature medical students like you on the AMBOSS Instagram platform. The objective is to provide a space for medical students to voice their opinion on the many issues facing medical education. If you would like to participate, please contact Kristy at Kristy@amboss.com.