Name: Michael Shafique
Specialty: Internal Medicine – Hematology/Oncology
Fellowship: Hematology/Oncology – University of South Florida
Residency: Internal Medicine – Duke University
Medical School: University of Virginia
Undergraduate: University of Pennsylvania
1) When did you decide you wanted to become a Medical Doctor and what led to this decision? I first decided to become a Medical Doctor in the middle of my sophomore year in undergraduate (it’s never too late to decide to pursue medicine!). I was studying finance and found it to be a less rewarding profession for me. I decided that studying medicine was a way to leave a lasting impact in the world.
2) What was the most difficult part of getting into Medical School for you? The most difficult part of getting into Medical School was definitely the requisite courses. By the time I enrolled biology and chemistry in my Junior year, I had not been in a science course for over three years.
3) How did you study for the MCAT? How do you recommend students study for the MCAT? My approach to the MCAT entailed doing as many practice questions and practice exams as I could. I also took 3-4 months, in between my regular classes, to study. Of course there are many ways to study and prepare for the MCAT, but I think what worked best for me was taking a piecemeal approach and not trying to master the material too quickly.
4) What did you do during your undergraduate summers? Because my course of study was so condensed, my summers were a bit different than those of my biology major colleagues. I took summer courses one summer, and then I work as an EMT and did clinical research the second summer prior to matriculating.
5) What is one thing you wish someone told you while you were in college? I wish someone had told me that whether you are just starting your undergraduate studies or are near completion, it is never too late to decide to pursue medicine. IT just takes some extra determination.
6) What led you to choose your current specialty? I chose internal medicine because it is such a broad and diverse specialty. I found it exciting to learn how all body’s organ systems worked together. I ultimately decided to train as a hematologist/oncologist for a number of reasons. First, I think the new advances in cancer treatment and our understanding of cancer biology are fascinating. Second, I believe that I have a unique opportunity as a hematologist/oncologist to positively impact a patient’s life; especially when they are facing a cancer diagnosis.
7) Briefly describe your average work day. The best thing about internal medicine is that there is no average work day. I admit and discharge patients from the hospital. I will round on those patients under my care. I perform various procedures throughout the day, as well. Two to three half-days per month is spent in my continuity clinic.
8) What do you enjoy most about your profession? What do you enjoy least? I enjoy the variety in my profession; I see many different patients every day, and the illnesses they have are never the same. The way they respond to treatment is never the same. I also enjoy making a difference. Perhaps the least enjoyable part of my profession is the stress associated with working with sick patients. It is physically and emotionally demanding, and sometimes I have little time for other things at the end of a work day.
9) What words of advice would you like to leave with pre-medical students? Throughout your training, keep an open mind. Always be ready to experience new things.