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Alumni Advice

2013 Graduation picture

Putting on your cap and gown may signal the end of your student career, but you are a Johns Hopkins alumnus forever. You now belong to a network of more than 24,000 School of Medicine alumni and 170,000 Johns Hopkins University alumni worldwide. Below you'll find words of advice from a few of those 24,000.

Want to share your advice? Email us now, and we'll add your thoughts to this page.

Always keep your eyes and options open.
- Steven Sherman, Med '85

As a medical student, you have been afforded an amazing opportunity for an incredible education that will lead to a profession in which you will help to change the world be it through clinical practice, research, education, or community service. So be passionate about the specialty you choose because it is truly an honor to be trusted to care for our patients.
- Elissa Palmer, Med '86

Be sure to enjoy each day and do not put too much focus on the future.
- Charles McDonnell, Med '86

Becoming a physician takes a very long time, enjoy the process along the way.
- Wallace, Med '88

Do not borrow money for school. Follow your interests.
- Cathy Hoff, Med '86

Enjoy being where the action is, so to speak, in the world of medicine. You're now spending time with many of the "best of the best." And although your price of admission is plenty of hard work, and a constant balancing act with respect to your personal goals and values, you've got a front-row seat at the show. Take it all in and enjoy. 
- Christine J. Julian, Med '85

Enjoy life.
- Margaret Kurohara, Med '85

Enjoy the incredible experience of Hopkins Medicine.
- Scott Carnivale, Med '85

Explore as many different options related to medicine.
- Mun Hong, Med '86

Find something along the way that fascinates you, immerse yourself in it, and make a career out of it.
- Kevin M. Miller, Med' 85

I know that when you are just out of residency, you may need to work for somebody else for a while, but I would definitely advise the current med students to start their own practice as soon as is practical. It actually isn't as hard as many people make it out to be. I would be happy to talk to anybody who would like to try. I find the business side of medicine actually exciting, and it's a real trip to be the one making all of the decisions!
-Christine Harder, Med '85

It never ceases to amaze me what you can learn, and how you can so much more effectively help patients, when you take time to really listen to what they have to say!
- Joan M.T. Collison, Med '85

Keep a journal - someday you will wish you had. And never stop working out. Medicine is still a great and satisfying career. Pick what you'd like to do and go for it.
- Michael Jabaley, Med '61

Keep your mind open.
- Ed Ward, Med '86

Learn as much as you can and keep a diary of special experiences in medical school. You think you won't forget, but you will!
- Beth Shapiro Bromberg, Med '85

Learn as much medicine as you can. Learn something about the special place in medical history that Hopkins holds. Spend the time getting good at organizing and presenting a case the Hopkins way. It is difficult, but I guarantee it will serve you well your whole life.
- Richard Pomerantz, Med '85

Love what you do, and do what you love.
- Steven Rosen, Med '85

Make sure you learn about things other than medicine and maintain interests outside of your chosen career. It will keep you going in the long run.
-Arnold-Peter Weiss, Med '85

My favorite quote: "Be the change you wish to see in the world" Gandhi
- Kenneth Pienta, Med '86

Once you know your career field: Read the whole major testbook for that area during your first year in residency, even if it is a 4000+ page compendium and makes it a more miserable year; it will pay off during the coming years.
- Philip Sweetser, Med '86

Your training at Hopkins will serve you well no matter what aspect of medicine you pursue. 25 years later I am so very grateful for the opportunity I had to be trained there.
- Nancy (Shigaki) Boerner, Med '86

Work hard, be organized and have fun.
- Marc Safran, Med '85

While no profession is perfect, medicine has to be the most rewarding; what you give will reap many dividends.
- Warren D. Bromberg, Med '85

Try to be a good person more than a good doctor, as the former will guarantee a solid basis for the latter.
- Mun Hong, Med '86

There are many ways to make contributions to the medical profession, and not all of them may be obvious to you as a medical student. Take the time you need to find something in medicine that you are truy passionate about, as this is what will sustain you in your career 20 years from now. Do not be afraid to take extra time to explore your interests, even if it means taking a year off to do research, get an MPH or MBA, or travel and work in the developing world. Your passion might be something that seems more "conventional", like the feeling of satisfaction that comes from making a difference in a patient's life or watching someone you have taught master a skill. But it could also be the thrill of a discovery in the lab, the stimulation of managing people or starting a health care related business (yes, the medical profession needs people who understand both business AND medicine). If you are excited enough about something that it keeps you up pacing at night, that is a good clue that you are headed in the right direction!
- Jonathan Talamo, Med '86

Spend more time with your family and friends. Work hard, but don't get caught up in the work/academic grind. Strike a balance where you can. I have never heard a colleague tell me they spent too much time with their loved ones.
- Peter Anderson, Med '85

Sometimes an unexpected path takes you to exactly where you intended to go... Be open to possibilities.
- David Rimm, Med '85

Remember why you wanted to become a physician and never lose sight of that passion.
- Nancy Drucker, Med '85

Remember that everyone is your superior, in that you can learn from them.
- Lynn Bickley, Med '85

Plug away, work hard, wear a will positively impact the lives of many! 
- Kathleen (Antishin) Finta, Med '86

Pick a specialty that you really like - not one based on money.
- Alan P. Marco, Med '86

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