Taishi Nakase '21 | MD | Stanford

Pursuing an MD at Stanford Medicine, entering class of 2022

Undergraduate Major: Operations Research and Financial Engineering with a certificate in Program in Applications of Computing

Significant college activities: Undergraduate preceptor for organic chemistry, computer science and financial mathematics; BSE Interactor; Summer research in clinical medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine; Infectious disease modelling research with the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Vietnam; summer intern at Rogers Investment Advisors in Tokyo.

Words of wisdom about being prehealth at Princeton: As a premed, it is often challenging to find the time, energy, and mental bandwidth to take on experiences outside of the requirements and activities that you are expected to work through in preparation for medical school. Yet, exploring what lies outside of the path to medical school will not only deepen and colour your experiences making you a better candidate, but also enrich the unique time you have as an undergraduate at Princeton. This exercise of active exploration will not and should not be the same for everyone. I spent much of my time at Princeton taking interesting courses in finance and computer science, delving into infectious disease modelling, and interning at a hedge fund in Tokyo. These experiences were not directly related to my medical school trajectory, but they did teach me how people in other fields think about problems and most importantly, they were something new and fun.

Your time at Princeton is special because it offers opportunities for exploration that become increasingly harder to come by once you have to contend with the responsibilities of life beyond the “Orange Bubble”. While at Princeton, I encourage you to take classes outside of your comfort zone and seek out experiences that you won’t necessarily be able to do once you enter medical school. I know it can be hard to do this when you are struggling and striving to be the best possible candidate for medical school and become a great physician. But I promise you won’t regret it because often these new experiences will make you a more thoughtful and, in my case, kinder person.

I would also encourage you to seek out mentors as early as possible, even when you are still unsure whether or not you want to pursue a career in medicine. For a long time, I didn’t know whether I really wanted to be a physician or whether it was a place for someone with my interests and motivations. I talked through these doubts with other premed students and alumni working in medicine, and eventually managed to see how I might fit into the field. These contacts, all of whom I met through HPA or Princeton premed networking events, were also incredibly helpful when I was completing my applications and interviewing for medical school. They thought through my application essays with me, gave me advice on what to expect in the interviews, and put me at ease when I was feeling anxious or overwhelmed.

As a student at Princeton, you too have access to the whole network of Princeton students and alumni, so please reach out to these people (including me) as you work towards medical school. If you don’t know where to start or just want to chat, feel free to reach out to me ([email protected]) or someone at HPA – I’m addicted to my emails so I will get back to you. Good luck!