Confirming my future direction

Before the start of this fellowship, I was contemplating whether I wanted to go into medicine, research, or both. Upon talking to many mentors, I was leaning towards going into practicing medicine, but finding a way to also stay involved with research. However, although I have had a passion and interest in both for quite a while now, I wanted to experience more before I made the decision.

After the first several weeks of the fellowship under Dr. Peterson, I loved lab bench-work so much that I doubted my choice of being pre-med. It wasn’t that I loved medicine or the idea of helping patients any less; it was just that research was too much fun.

I could see myself doing this for the rest of my life. I know that research isn’t all wet lab and bench work. I know that there is a lot of writing grants and going to conferences and reviewing others’ work. It doesn’t matter. Research is just so amazing. Any time something finally works in lab, you get this sort of adrenaline rush. A mentor once told me that he never gambled because research was enough of an adrenaline rush for him; I completely believe him.

Then, Dr. Peterson gave me the opportunity of shadowing him in clinic in the rheumatology department. He also gave me the opportunity to help with patient recruitment for the project I am involved with. I don’t know what exactly was so moving to me. Maybe it was the amazing staff and faculty that worked there. Maybe it was the physicians’ relationship with the patients that I witnessed. Maybe it was the entire environment of the clinic. Most likely, it was the combination of all of these things.  Whatever it was, it confirmed my desire to practice medicine. I want to work to be able to play a vital role in patients’ lives as a physician.

My conclusion right now is this: Dr. Peterson’s job is a dream job. 

I cannot believe how powerfully medicine and research attracts me. Dr. Peterson’s job of working as a physician in a clinic, while running a research lab sounds like an absolute dream job. I know that the path won’t be an easy one, especially when I am a female with the desire to build a family in the future. However, this fellowship so far has made me reaffirm my passions and made me more determined to work for everything that I want to do.

Ami Yamamoto

About the Author:

LFM 2013 Student Summer Fellow Ami Yamamoto will be a junior at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities this fall. She is currently working on her major in Genetics, Cell Biology and Development in the College of Biological Sciences Honors Program. Ami’s passion lies in medicine and biological research, and she hopes to both practice medicine and do research in the future. Ami will be working in Dr. Peterson’s lab this summer on a project to help understand the effects of the PTPN22 risk gene on Systemic Lupus Erythematosus patients and their immune response.
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  1. Achieve Birmingham  August 22, 2013

    This is absolutely incredible to hear Ami! I am not sure if you actually get a chance to read this comment (as you sound pretty busy), but I am really glad to hear that your experience in research has been so positive. I think it can be easy to get a different view on this line of work, which doesn’t sound that enticing. Those moments of success really do come with a rush of adrenaline!


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