There are many paths to medical school

My time in high school

Attended high school in the

Overall high school experience
3/10. When I was in high school I was depressed, anxious and had an eating disorder. I hated Palo Alto. Everything felt artificial. We were sheltered from the outside world and knew it. After the suicides started, there was a haze of sadness across campus. However, looking back on it, I made many close and wonderful friends at that time, who still have my back today. Even though it sucks to hear it, it's one of the times of life when your responsibilities are the lowest. Of course, the quality of education and the support of the faculty was unparalleled. Compared to other high schools, but also compared to my college and med school experience.

Grades in high school
A's and B's. Lucky number 3.5


Favorite subjects
Math, Biology

Struggled with...
Chemistry! I said that after high school I would never do chemistry again. Then I took chemistry and organic chemistry in university... never say never. I started to love it.

Favorite extracurricular
Sports / Recreation

Life since high school

When I was in high school I thought there was a rigid path to success. That the only way I could succeed was by getting the right grades, doing the right things and picking the right career. As I got older, I realized that there are many different paths to the same place.

Attended college / university at
UCSD. I also took some classes in community college after graduating.

Majored in
Physiology & Neuroscience and Psychology

Post-graduate education or training

Places lived in US
New York, California

Current occupations / past occupations
I have been a sports coach, a hospital volunteer, a teaching assistant, a lab assistant, an EMT, and a medical assistant.

Industries I've worked in
- Administrative and Support Services
- Educational Services
- Health Care and Social Assistance

Did your education prepare you for your career or occupation?
The coursework at [high school name omitted] prepared me very well for my classes at university. By taking difficult classes at university, I prepared myself better for medical school. But more importantly, working hard helped me create discipline that followed me later on in life. Everything you learn matters and helps you later on in life, even if only by helping you rule out things you don't want to do. And even if you dislike something, doesn't mean you will always dislike it. Sometimes a professor or even a time of day can make an interesting subject uninteresting or vice versa. I'm not sure if I expected anything when I was in high school. But what surprised me was how happy I was to be away from home. College was great, I had a huge diversity of experiences. There was always the anxiety of "what am I going to do with my life?" hanging over my head though. Glad that's over with.

Has your education or career/occupation trajectory ever changed? How?
When I was in college, I took as many different classes as I could, and tried to learn as much as I could about different fields. I took as many volunteering and job opportunities in my interests as I could. I ended up gravitating towards healthcare because that's where I felt my educational abilities and interests coincided. Originally I wanted to go into psychology, then nursing, then PA school. I ended up choosing the MD path because I felt like I would have the most independence in practice. I think it was a good choice.

A little introspection...

To me, being successful means...
Pushing myself to learn more every day, to be a better person every day, to enjoy every moment as much as I possibly can. It means not wasting the precious time I have in my life, on making a difference in the world as much as I can.

My definition of success has changed over time. 
When I was in high school I thought there was a rigid path to success. That the only way I could succeed was by getting the right grades, doing the right things and picking the right career. As I got older, I realized that there are many different paths to the same place. I am lucky to have had the opportunities that Palo Alto afforded me, to have gained the work ethic that I did there. But it wasn't my grades that defined me, it was my experiences.

My greatest accomplishment to date and what I’ve learned from it
My greatest accomplishment was getting into medical school. It was something I never thought I would achieve, because I never had the right grades or the right test scores. But it turns out, that's not the most important thing about you. Your experiences and your maturity matter too. People always told me that I would make a good doctor, and I guess maybe I was able to share that in my applications. 

My biggest mistake or regret so far and what I’ve learned from it
I think I've always been too hard on people. I have rarely given my friends second chances when I felt they had hurt me, and that has limited my community. I think that most people are trustworthy and do their best, and sometimes I regret not trusting people more. 

An unexpected event that significantly changed my life and how it impacted me
I was very ill for a long time. I had a medical problem that wasn't diagnosed, that ended up requiring surgery. I thought I would be disabled forever. I was in such excruciating pain that all I could do was lay in bed. No medications helped, not even morphine. After I recovered, I was immensely grateful to be alive. I took advantage of every opportunity I could. I was so grateful to everyone who had taken care of me and had helped me. I also realized that after that, I could handle anything.

This alumni is open to your questions and follow-ups.
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My favorite spot in or around Palo Alto

Starbucks on El Camino and Maybell