My name is Maya Feyzo-Pearlman, I am a rising senior and psychology major, and on the pre-health track. Throughout the first few years at Skidmore, I found myself working towards becoming a veterinarian. Consequently all of my summer internship experiences were in veterinary clinics, shadowing vets and vet technicians on rotation for the duration of a summer. However, I always had an inkling that I’d be interested in human medicine. Since the requirements are similar and I could more or less apply to either school following graduation from undergrad, I decided to spend this past summer shadowing physicians at a teaching hospital and test my curiosity.
Through the Career Development Center, I corresponded via email with Shannon Rodriguez, who helped me clean up my resume, search for internship opportunities on Handshake, the Liberal Arts Career Networks (LACN), and the like, to browse as many available options as possible. After searching many databases, I came to the conclusion that the best indicator of what it means to be a medical doctor (and consequently, the ideal way to make any sort of conclusion about a post-grad career choice), would be to observe said doctors in their everyday work inside a hospital. Upon making this decision, Shannon put me in contact with Andrew Warner, a Skidmore alumni linked within the Skidmore Alumni Network. Dr. Warner, the chairman of Gastroenterology at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, was kind enough to sponsor me for the summer. Thus, I secured a student shadowing opportunity for the summer of 2018 at Lahey Hospital in Burlington, Massachusetts.
Above gaining experience in human medicine in a hospital setting, I hoped to achieve greater insight into what becoming a doctor entails. Becoming a medical doctor (MD), or a doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) for that matter, is a large commitment spanning many years. After medical school, I would have to undergo an internship year, residency, and fellowship, before gaining attending status. From my internship (not to be confused with a post-graduate internship), I anticipated exposure to doctors of a range in years of experience. I also hoped to gain a first hand understanding of individual experiences through medical school and the years to follow, as well as what a medical doctor does day to day. After all, I had spent some 500 observation hours in veterinary clinics and knew close to nothing about human medicine. I chose this internship to help sway me in a particular direction, either towards veterinary or human medicine…or perhaps even away from both. Finally, the decision to pursue this internship was partially influenced by the fact that medical schools value some sort of exposure to the field prior to application.
Whether it be shadowing hours or working as a research assistant, an experienced applicant is a valuable one. After having completed my time at Lahey, my advice to students like myself searching for an internship in the medical realm would be to seek a shadowing experience first. In doing so, one will be provided with the opportunity to witness what a hospital career entails, and may move forward from there. The relationships one builds from the one-on-one exposure to physicians is invaluable. I was informed prior to applying for summer internship funding that shadow interns are rarely award recipients due to the flexible nature of the internship. My suggestion to students in a similar position is to not let this stop you from applying. Communicate your interests and needs honestly and professionally, it’s always worth a shot.