Embrace Change (a quick bathroom read)

Neil Pithadia – BS 2008 Cellular and Molecular Biology

So here I sit in my den sipping on a nice cup of Peet’s go-go juice thinking of my undergraduate days.  I set off in the Natural Sciences sitting through Orgo, P chem, A chem, every MCDB course imaginable.  I know there are many of you that recall the one semester you crammed a Biochemistry, Org chem and Physics course in one semester and thought your life was miserable.

I was medical school bound – it was a match made in heaven.

Or at least I thought it was.  Looking back, my perspective was quite myopic.  Yes, I did a semester of med school and it was shortly evident that it was not for me.  So what else is a guy with a science background to do?  Pharmaceuticals, yeah that’s it!  I much enjoyed the school environment, so graduate school sounded like a great match after an untimely divorce with medical school.  I worked in commercial and academic labs for a couple years and paid my dues.

So here I stand in front of you, many (feels as if many, many, many) years later as….a health care administrator.

I’m here to tell you, my baffling road is not uncommon.  In fact, these days it’s becoming mainstream due to the ever-changing landscape of the economy and the areas of opportunity and need.  I recently was at a health care management conference and had dinner with the CEO and chairman of the board of a large medical device company.  We discussed our paths in life and he discussed how he started off as an analyst at IBM, went to Eastman Kodak as the SVP for Sales, then was an EVP for an electronic medical records company, moved to strategy consultant for Quintiles a CRO (contract research organization with Pharma) and, finally, is in his current position.

Do you see the linear progression?  Uh, I sure don’t.  And, that my friends, is the point.  What you intend to do with your life right now is static and I am here to say that it is very likely it will change considerably. So embrace change.  In a very long about way, if I could tell those current and future LSA’ers one thing, it is this: don’t be rigid in your education path; be adaptable to and open to new experiences.  If a course even vaguely piques your interest, explore it and do not shun it away.

Neil is a member of the LSA Dean’s Young Alumni Council.

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