I am sitting with my 9-year-old daughter who is happily dreaming of becoming the first astronaut who is also a physician and a musician: she wants to study space medicine and is wondering if she will take her cello or French Horn as she travels to Mars. I am struck by her earnest ambition and her sweet innocence with her excitement and dreams for the future in which anything is possible. I begin thinking about my 50-year-old journey in life so far and start to reflect on my career in academic medicine over the years…

As a young premedical graduate, I am walking through the lush green field of dreams. I see many tall verdant trees around me, and I am drawn to 1 of them: the tree of medicine. But first, I must engage in a fight of the fittest to gain entry to the prized tree. After emerging...

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