BA in English Literature and Anthropology
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
“As a freshman, I assumed that if I was planning to go to medical school after college, I would have to pick a major in the hard sciences, such as biology or chemistry. While those majors are great choices, I think it’s really important for students to realize that there is no single ‘best’ major that will prepare you for medical school. College is a time to explore your personal interests and to learn how to think critically, both of which can likely be accomplished within any field of study.
“In medical school, the first two years of the curriculum are composed mostly of book learning and written exams, whereas the last two years involve experiential learning in clerkships, during which we rotate through various specialties and manage the often complex problems that the patients on those services have. As I recently finished my last third-year clerkship, the skills I gained as an English major have certainly been at the forefront of my activities on the wards. We are asked daily to communicate our findings related to our patients, both orally and through written histories and physicals. Most importantly, though, we are asked to develop an assessment and plan as to what we believe the patient’s diagnosis to be and what we are planning to do for her based on that diagnosis. I view this process to be akin to writing a critical paper in which one tries to persuade the reader of a particular argument.”