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Sage Advice

By: Merge magazine's editorial advisory board
Posted: September 1, 2010, from the September 2010 issue of
Three professional women in suits, standing outside and speaking to each other

page 3 of 6

If someone needed advice on getting into medical school, when I was a student, the biggest mistake a lot of my friends made in the first few years of college was to have a “good college experience,” which meant they didn’t do as much academic work. They found out later they would have to do a lot more to catch up. Once people made it into medical school, they didn’t realize the work involved. I volunteered a lot—in doctors’ offices and at hospitals—and got a better idea of what it would be like, but I think some people who get into medical school find they may have made a career mistake because they don’t understand how much work it is until they are submersed.
Nowell Solish, MD, FRCPC

I would say do it for the right reasons, because it’s something they have a passion for. Being a physician is immensely rewarding—patients, for the most part, are appreciative when coming to see them and they get positive feedback throughout the day—but a career in medicine is such hard work that they really need to feel a calling for it.
Hema Sundaram, MD, FAAD

Any college student should make sure they are pursuing something they have a passion for. That will enable them to stay excited and have their work not become mundane, and encourage them to strive for their best. Striving for excellence is an important thing, and that’s something they can only do when their job is something they really enjoy.
Jonathan Sykes, MD, FACS

Make sure they want to go into this field for the right reasons, because it is a long haul. I would also recommend majoring in a non-science field in their undergrad, because it’s their chance to explore other interests in depth before they get into medical school.
Heidi Waldorf, MD

Spend as much time as possible with a variety of physicians that practice in a variety of specialties, and who practice in all types of environments. Don’t limit themselves to spending time with just one physician, because it will be very important to spend as much time as possible in a variety of settings with a variety of individuals.
Steven G. Yoelin, MD

Q: What piece of advice would you give to a graduating resident in your specialty focusing on aesthetics?