Moments in Medicine at Michigan
Hilary Alpert, from Troy, a 2003 Michigan graduate, begins
her medical studies this fall with the class of 2007.
J. Adrian Wylie
“My first exposure to medicine occurred when I was four, and again at
eight when I had surgery on my eyes. I thought it was cool — all the
doctors talking quickly, like the hustle and bustle of a big city. I always
had an interest in science and it was a genetics class in high school that
made me think maybe I’d be a genetics counselor — or a doctor.
“It was a rigorous four years at Michigan majoring in physics, doing
research in a prostate cancer genetics lab, doing a lot of volunteer work — plus
playing piccolo in the Marching Band — but those years taught me some
very good problem-solving skills and study habits.
“The summer after freshman year, I worked in a chemotherapy lab. One
time I was helping a nurse transfer someone who was very seriously ill through
the tunnels to MRI. I waited with the family for about 45 minutes while the
test was going on. They knew that the patient wasn’t going to make it,
but they were so hopeful and gracious. They were really pleased with what the
doctor had done for them. And I knew I wanted to be like that — a doctor
who would give hope to patients and do everything possible to help.
“I’m as apprehensive as anyone about taking anatomy. It’s
something so completely different [from physics], but I’m in the same
boat with 169 other people. We’re all on the same team and in the same
community working together toward the same ultimate goal.
“I know that I’ll be able to make friends, but sure, I’m
nervous. It’s like you’re back in elementary school, taking all
your classes with the same people. I know it’s going to be stressful
and tiring to an extent I don’t even know about. Everybody tells you
that, but until you experience it yourself…”