|I will take any chance I get to incorporate a Hamilton reference into my posts (Listen to the Schuyler Sisters if the title confuses you.)|
Last Thursday, I attended Medical Day on the Hill, an annual networking event hosted by Health Professions Advising. The evening featured a panel of Tufts alumni now in the medical profession as well as a buffet dinner where current students had the opportunity to speak with more Jumbo-docs. This was the first professional networking event I've attended (for personal rather than Career Center-related reasons, that is), and I found it so incredibly motivating and illuminating that I knew I had to write a post about it. Here are my key takeways from Medical Day on the Hill:
You get what you work for. Every speaker on the panel iterated the importance of hard work in reaching their career goals. While this is certainly true of the medical profession, the same could be said for any field. The sentiment wasn't surprising to me, but it was a powerful message all the same: no one got to where they are today by being really really smart, or being the Surgeon General's daughter, or getting lucky. If you just work at it, you can get there.
Go at your own pace. A common topic of discussion among students and alumni was the idea of a gap year - or "growth year" as Health Professions Advising has begun to call it. All three alumni on the panel had taken at least a year in between undergraduate and medical school, along with the alumna sitting at my table, Marjorie Affel (A'03). Everyone had different reasons for their gap year, but I related best to the one that Marjorie gave - a desire to enjoy senior year of college and avoid rushing into medical school too fast. Taking a gap/growth year is a growing trend, especially in medicine, and it's an option that everyone should at least consider when deciding what to do after Tufts. Personally, I've already made up my mind to take a gap/growth year - stay tuned for updates on my search for a job/fellowship to fill it!
|Me, every day.|
It's a balancing act. Work-life balance came up a lot throughout the evening - probably because medicine is a field notorious for historically overworking its members. (Marjorie attended the event with her 3-month-old daughter in tow - as she put it, a clear sign that balance is something doctors "struggle with.") However, this doesn't mean that work-life balance is impossible to achieve; the panelists stressed the value of their support network of friends, family, and colleagues that keep them going through crazy times. Marjorie also gave our table some advice that really resonated with me: people (especially women, who often feel greater pressure to prioritize their personal lives over their professional ones) need to stop feeling bad for enjoying what they do. If you work a 60-hour week because you love every minute of your job, that's reason enough. If you want to cut back on hours to stay home with your kids, that's equally valid. While there's no one-size-fits-all approach to a perfectly balanced life, it's possible to find a balance that works for you.
Networking always seems intimidating to college students, but a lot of us don't realize that it's basically just talking to people. I had a great experience at my first networking event, and hopefully I can attend more like it in the future! Be sure to check the Career Center calendar and e-News to be informed about events on and off campus.
Until next time,
Class of 2017