Shin Mei Chan
Where did you grow up and where were you living immediately prior to medical school?
I am the daughter of Chinese immigrants from Myanmar. My younger sister and I spent our early childhood in Canada, until my family moved to the United States, where we spent the bulk of our childhood growing up among the rolling hills of Northern California. I completed my undergraduate studies at Stanford University. After earning my Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in History, I spent a year in San Francisco as a Life Science Consultant for pharmaceutical and medical device companies before finally making my way out to New Haven.
Why did you choose Yale School of Medicine?
When it came to picking a medical school, I knew I wanted to be somewhere that prioritized a degree of freedom when it came to learning the copious amounts of material one needs to know in medical school. The Yale System offered just that. Because of the Yale System, I have also been able to use my time in ways that will make me a better physician outside of memorizing lectures. For example, the flexibility in our curriculum has allowed me to participate in numerous research projects, shadow multiple specialties early on in medical school, and give back to my community. Additionally, the small class size at Yale offers a special camaraderie that many other medical schools lack. It is very rare that I walk around the campus and do not stop to chat with somebody, whether that is a classmate or a professor. Beyond the medical school community, I appreciated Yale's dedication to serving the greater New Haven community. When it comes down to it, being a medical student at Yale also means racing in the Haven 5K along with your attendings, biking to support cancer research with your neighbors in the annual Closer to Free ride, and supporting the Hunger and Homelessness auctions that benefit New Haven non-profits. There is something very special about planting your roots not only in the classroom and in the hospital, but also in the community that you learn in.
Can you briefly describe your schedule on a typical weekday?
During my preclinical years, I would wake up around 6am, get ready for the day, and then listen to online lectures, religiously do my Anki cards, and do some reading until noon. I would usually then head to campus for various meetings and required in-person workshops. After, I headed back to my apartment, go on a five-mile run through the beautiful East Rock park, and then have dinner. Evenings consisted of some more studying, research, meetings, and spending time with my friends. During clerkship year, most days were spent at the hospital or in clinic (with either a run before or after). Evenings were filled with learning outside of the hospital, research, and spending more time with friends.
What neighborhood do you live in/near New Haven?
I live downtown, right across the street from the hospital. This has been incredibly handy for those 5am pre-rounds!
What is your favorite thing to do in/near New Haven?
I was surprised to find that New Haven has a plethora of running trails and hiking trails not too far from hustle and bustle of downtown! I try to spend at least an hour a day running, and the trails in the city are well-kept even in the snow. East Rock and Sleeping Giant are particularly beautiful, both in the summer and in the winter. There is also no shortage of delicious restaurants in the area (especially the famous New Haven pizza), and it seemed like every weekend my roommate and I are trying a new place. Not too far are some wonderful breweries and wineries as well. In the summer, there are beaches within driving distance as well as camping locations not too far away. And every so often, you can find me on the very convenient Metro North headed to NYC to see college friends.
Do you have any final thoughts or advice for prospective students?
Medical school is one of the hardest, but most rewarding things you will ever do. It is so important to trust your gut and find a place where you believe you will be supported, both academically and personally. A very wise person once told me that any medical school will teach you how to be a doctor, so it is important to find a place where you can learn how to be both a doctor and a person (after all, this is at least four years of your adult life!). There is truly no other medical school like Yale. If we are lucky enough to have you join us, you can bet that we will welcome you with open arms. Please reach out to me anytime if you have any questions about Yale!