Shakespeare in the park & more about my career path

Hello lovely readers,

It has been quite a week!

I think I literally spent most of my days this week in lab. Things are moving along slowly and it seems that there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel 😉 .

Thankfully though, I have good friends who are constantly trying to get me out into the world and one of them scored us tickets to go see “The Taming of the Shrew” in Central Park. This is part of a free cultural event that NYC puts on every summer and it allows you to see a play by Shakespeare performed in the park. I had never been and it was quite the experience. I had so much fun mostly because the actors were great and they adapted this play so that it just resonated with me. If you are in NY, I would definitely recommend doing this. It is one of those experiences that you cannot miss in NYC and it is free if you can get tickets.

Ok- so given that this is the most fun I had all week mostly because of work and because I caught a nasty cold. I thought I should write a bit about my career path.

I am currently a sixth year MD-PhD student in NYC. After completing four years of undergrad education, in Chemistry and Biology, I decided that I wanted to go to grad school. I wasn’t sure what type of graduate school I was going to go to, but after doing a summer program in which I worked in a lab and got exposure to medicine, I decided that I wanted to pursue getting an MD-PhD degree.

When I applied, what drew me to these programs was the idea that this training would allow me to combine medicine and research in such a way that I could study human disease from a more basic science perspective. I really like thinking about biological mechanisms and answering questions about these mechanisms and so I thought that applying this to medicine would be ideal. So, I applied to these programs, which are highly competitive, and I was fortunate enough to meet their criteria and got into a couple. I then chose to come to study in NYC (for multiple reasons).

So far, I have complete two years of medical school. These were the basic science years where we learned everything about human physiology and disease. I took our first national certifying exam after those two years. Once I was done with that, I joined a lab to start my PhD in immunology. Prior to that, I had done rotations in various labs during the summer before choosing a lab to join. Right now, I am finishing my third year of my PhD and I am hoping to publish and wrap up this part of my training by next summer.

Ideally most people finish the program in 6-9 years. I will be taking 9 years to finish because I am taking an extra year to wrap up my PhD work.

Being an MD-PhD student has definitely been a challenge. It is a really long process and transitions are made all the time (from the clinic to lab and vice versa). These transitions are tough, but you learn to deal with them and I think that our medical and basic science training helps a lot with this. Apart from that, life happens during this time. I came into this program when I was 23 and now I am 29. So much of my life has happened during those six years. It has been rewarding and difficult at times to balance both this path that I have chosen and having a “real” life.

If you have any other questions, let me know. I have enough experience following this path at this point that I hope I can answer most of the question you’ll ask.

Otherwise, have a great weekend friends! Even with this cold, it is so nice and sunny out that I think I will head out to the park and soak up some sun.

xoxox,

M

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