What students say about pursuing passions

Yale offers one of the most valuable characteristics of a medical school program - that of flexibility. This flexibility has offered me the chance to enrich my learning and medical skills with experiences as diverse as working as a junior physician in Gabon, Africa, performing research in the Caribbean, working in a gene therapy lab, and participating in a violence prevention program at the Centers for Disease Control. All of these opportunities have been instrumental to my development as a physician, and to the development of my career plans. At Yale you receive the support and guidance needed to make such projects possible.

  • Carole Smarth, Yale University, 'YSM '97

Like many of my fellow classmates, I have chosen to stay at Yale an additional year. After returning from India, where I will spend six weeks working on the infectious disease ward of an Ahmedabhad City Hospital, I will pursue my thesis project studying bacterial infection in infants. I am also going to teach an undergraduate course that examines advances in molecular biology and the practice of medicine. Yale's curriculum has given me the opportunity to pursue my intellectual interests without the hindrance of excessive requirements.

  • Samir Shah, University of Pennsylvania, YSM '98

Three summers before I began medical school, I was part of a program held here at Yale. It was amazing in an intangible way. I immediately felt at home, I felt a sense of community, and that was when I decided; this is where I want to be.

I have experienced a variety of school systems and curriculums ranging from time in a six year medical school in Nigeria, West Africa to classes in Boston, Massachusetts and I explored various medical schools in the U.S. before I decided on Yale. I know what it is like to feel frustrated, feeling like a crab in a crab bin (you never have to put a lid on a bucket full of crabs because any that try to escape, the others pulls him back in.) I don't look back on my first year here and think, "I can't go through that again."

Here I feel I can express and develop all parts of myself, the part that has a passion for the medically underserved and the part that adores Camus and Milan Kundera. I can get on the train and shop for leather shoes and lipliners, I can hike in Sleeping Giant Park.

If I had to retrace my steps I would follow them back here, to Yale.

  • Nnemdi Kamanu, University of Nigeria and University of Massachusetts, YSM '99