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Summer 2009

In Misc. on July 21, 2009 by David Tagged: , , ,

Wow. Its been a long time since I felt the urge to write. And even longer since I decided to write on this blog. Time for an update of Summer 2009!

This summer has been going by really fast, in part due to amazing people, interesting work, and great weather. I really like the Bay Area. Fingers crossed for 4+ more years here? I am working in Wendell Lim’s lab. Quite an amazing lab, they do lots of really good work using synthetic biology to understand signal transduction. Their paper was showing that a scaffold protein (which have no catalytic domain and is thought just to bring to key players together) plays an active role in regulated the yeast MAP kinase cascades. Anyways, before I get distracted on a supernerdy tangent, I just want to say I’m having a great time and im totally impressed by all the smart, insightful, and HELPFUL people here.

Anyways, the poeple in the SRTP program are pretty awesome. They are such a hardworking and passionate bunch – really puts me to shame and makes me want to work harder. Yesterday, we got back to SF from Amgen conference in LA at 4PM and people started organizing a bus to drop us off at Mission Bay. After an action packed weekend, Myron, Laura, Nick, and etc were energetic enough and motivated enough to keep going to work. That totally energized me, and I ended up working for 3 more hours, leaving at eight. That is what I love about this program – that people are so motivated and ambitious. They will really go far in life. I want to be part of a community of such amazing poeple.

Speaking about amazing poeple, this past weekend was the Amgen Scholars Symposium. It was a pretty amazing experience, with important industry leaders such as Joe Miletich (the senior VP of R&D at Amgen) and academic giants such as Owen Witte (HHMI and NAS professor at UCLA). Everyone there was so helpful – offering advice and suggestions about what a career in science and medicine means.  My take-home conclusion has been that you have to enjoy where you are – regardless where you are, and don’t try to plan too far in the future. Have faith in God/chance/luck/yourself, and simply seize the opportunities before you. (In a similar vein, I am reminded of this essay by Paul Graham.) The greatest people, in looking back, had no idea their lives would turn out the way it did, and simply did what they enjoyed. I was really happy to hear this, and want to structure my life that way.

This summer, I am really taking time to enjoy what I am doing, just chilling out, doing work that I am passionate about, and trying not to think too often about what is ahead in the horizon. Too often in the past, I had the mentality of “head down and plow through this” instead of stopping to smell the roses. In high school, I was “Aite, lets get through SATs and all this junk. If I sacrifice now, I can chill out in college.” Then, in an abrupt about-face, in college, I was “OK. I’ll just dominate MCAT and hurdles, I’ll find more time to relax in med school.” How short-sighted am I? What’s next, hardcore through med school, so I can “chill” in residency? Life is a journey, and its quite a beautiful and exciting one at that.

This summer is the epitome of my new perspective. I had no problem with hard work – but I’m staying late and occasionally coming in on weekends not to push a objective; but because I enjoy it. I am spending more time just chilling out with poeple; after all interaction with people is the root of my medical ambitions. This summer is really cool, chilling out with SRTP people and even getting to hang out with TAMS people (Dustin is at Google and Paul/JJ are at Berkeley. Jeff is coming up this weekend?). I went bull riding in LA! I have an awesome video. Haha. Before I go to med school, I want to: Work for a company (I don’t think I’ll ever have a stereotypical cubical job as a physician), travel around the world (will it ever become anything more than a blue sky dream?), play more bball (finally be able to touch the rim), and do more stuff with MUN (gah, every time I talk with a debator/person interested in policy, I am reminded how much I miss policy debate).

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