What was the primary reason you chose your career path?
I chose medicine largely as a leap of faith, seeking a career that intertwined science with personal interaction. I worked closely with clinicians as a UCLA undergraduate through research and volunteering, and I could envision myself in their shoes. However, it is only now in hindsight, after several years of residency and having completed medical school, that I fully appreciate how amazing a career as a physician is. We see the full spectrum of life, from the young and healthy to the terminally ill, and support individuals in their most dire times. We are privileged with the ability and knowledge to help patients and their families overcome or manage the challenges they face. It’s a career with a heavy burden of responsibility, but with that comes the fulfillment of making a tangible difference in someone’s life every day.
What was the most meaningful takeaway from your UCLA education?
My most valuable takeaway from UCLA is the still-developing skill of being resourceful and independent in the pursuit of my goals. UCLA is overflowing with opportunities and sources of support, but there is no one assigned to hold your hand throughout your undergraduate years. Recognizing this during my first year, I worked to identify resources from which I can learn and gain guidance. The Alumni Scholars Club was invaluable, particularly with its Mentorship program, from which I gained lots of insight from physicians volunteering their time who counselled me on the appropriate steps toward medical school and the realities of life as a physician. Most importantly, UCLA taught me that all good things require hard work, and it’s always worth it.
What is your favorite memory from your time at UCLA?
My favorite memory is walking through our beautiful campus my senior year and inevitably running into friends on my way from class to class. Those short conversations that would make me a couple minutes late to lecture were totally worthwhile, and those relationships I developed over my undergraduate years are priceless. UCLA begins as a huge campus, and as the years pass, it gets smaller and smaller as you learn the ropes and meet more people. It becomes a family that remains with you long after you’ve graduated.
What is the best piece of advice you can give to students pursuing a career in your industry?
Keep your eye on the prize and enjoy the journey. The path toward a career in medicine is one of delayed gratification and can seem intimidating, so it’s important to remind yourself of the big picture as you focus on the details of every step to get there. Pursuing a career in medicine is like building a massive brick wall. Thinking of building an entire wall can be demoralizing. So instead, focus on laying each brick as perfectly as possible. Pretty soon, you’ll have built the most beautiful wall.
How can students best utilize their mentor as a resource?
Students who guide their mentors with specific questions or describe their goals or ideas will be best served through the mentorship program. Mentors have a plethora of wisdom and insight but may not know where to begin or how best to help. We’ve all been in your shoes and remember how daunting the paths toward our careers can be. We’re always happy to help you achieve your goals however we can.