I’m Tim, and I currently research in the Daggett lab. Immediately after graduation, I plan to work for a few years. Med school is in the cards for me eventually, but we’ll see how this turns out. I’m planning on taking a couple years to figure things out; I have a couple of extra years over most of my cohort because I’m part of the UW Academy.

Going to college early comes with its unique set of challenges. I think maturity-wise there’s a lot of things that I’ve had to get up to speed on. Like for job applications, I’ve learned recently that I’m very impulsive and optimistic. I’m not saying that being optimistic is a bad thing, but I’ve just learned that it’s also important to be realistic and more grounded. Not finding a job immediately was kind of a paralyzing prospect. It’s not something that really ever crossed my mind as a possibility because I’m so used to having well-defined structure. All of a sudden there’s so many different considerations and the future is so open-ended. Overall I guess I’ve just been learning to be more patient and less easily excitable.

I think if I had the choice to do UW BioE all over again, I would. Life sucked a lot during core and I considered changing majors just because there were ways for me to go to medical school that involved a lot less work and stress, but looking back I’m glad that I went through what I went through. You develop a lot of skills that you tend to take for granted but that are actually quite valuable, such as effective time management, how to give an effective presentation, write a technical paper, think critically about research, etc. I think if I had studied something else I would have missed out in some way.

My takeaway from these four years is mostly just realizing that life is so open-ended. It’s so easy to get fixated on a certain goal or certain path, especially given how young we are. I think that’s the source of a lot people’s anxieties. Something may happen that makes people feel like their plan is suddenly in jeopardy, but I’ve been realizing that there are always multiple paths to achieving a goal. Just because one path doesn’t work out doesn’t mean that reaching your goal is suddenly impossible. I think because of this I want to take some time to explore whether med school is the right option for me. It’s honestly a big time, money, and energy commitment, and I can imagine a future where I can be happy without practicing medicine. I don’t have to force myself down this path because I feel that it’s something that I should do. Everyone has their own decision to make and their own priorities, of course, but that’s just my personal feelings on the matter. In the end, if something makes me happy doing it, that’s okay and there’s nothing wrong with that.