To all pre-med “Josh” Hoyas,

I write this as I sit in the depths of another university’s library, preparing myself for yet another physiology test in less than 36 hours.

I was privileged, unlike many Hoyas, to be able to make it through the rigorous curriculum and approval process from Georgetown’s Pre-Medical Committee. I know how difficult it is to balance a pre-medical “concentration” along with one’s own major, minor/certificate, extra-curricular activities, research and professional opportunities and personal life. Despite a precocious attraction for my budding profession since childhood, Georgetown continuously asked me, “are you sure that you love medicine?” along my journey. None of this is unique to our institution.

While it may be true that Georgetown’s infectious white-collar culture is prevalent in many circles, it holds equally true that other areas to develop one’s passion for medicine exist on our Hilltop. Unlike hereditary conditions, this calling is not received through Mendelian inheritance. Our university is exceptional in that it offers a plethora of spaces for pre-meds to explore medicine and the impacts it has on patients’ lives — people ranging from undocumented immigrants unable to obtain employment, to blue-collar workers who struggle to make ends meet for their families and even white-collar laborers who are fortunate to have time to discuss issues such as the one we visit now.

It is also true that it is notoriously difficult to matriculate into medical school in this — and many other — countries. However, one truism holds among all institutions: medical schools are looking for future physicians, not consultants nor bioengineers. They are not as interested in financial headlines, the glamour of some Northeast city’s downtown neighborhood, or the high-paying salaries of other professions as they are about the struggles of dealing with chronic illnesses or obtaining care for rare and neglected diseases.

So, my question remains: are you sure that you love medicine?


Samuel Kareff (F ‘13) is a second-year MD/MPH candidate at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

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