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Maanas Tripathi HST’ 13 (photo courtesy of Tripathi)
What are the unexpected benefits of your degree and what value do you see in it?
I think that during my interviews for medical school and residency, my degree helped me stand out among the competition. Multiple interviewers made note of it and asked me about it. I had not prepared responses to that question the first few times, but I was able to talk about my history degree extemporaneously, and I believe it added flair to my application.
What career have you pursued?
I am an Internal Medicine resident at Las Palmas Del Sol medical center in El Paso, TX. I went to medical school at the University of Miami. After my residency, I will either work as a hospitalist and practice general internal medicine, or I will go into a fellowship and subspecialize (eg: in critical care, rheumatology, nephrology, and so on).
How has your degree in History impacted you?
I think that my history degree taught me to find information, prepare arguments, and present them cogently and efficiently. I also think it enriched my college experience considerably. A pre-med course load involves many biology and chemistry classes in lecture halls, while a history major complements that with courses involving seminars and discussion with your peers and professor, which made college much more exciting and variegated.
I think that my history degree helped me become a happier, more inquisitive, and well-rounded person.
What are the most important aspects of the degree or what skills did you gain from obtaining the degree?
My history degree helped me develop a facility with research, writing, and speaking, skills that are important in any career you go into, but especially in medicine. On my residency and medical school interviews, I emphasized that we developed these skills through numerous seminars and papers, which complemented my scientific premedical education.
How has your degree help you see/interpret the world?
I think that now, when I read nonfiction, I have a much more robust internal dialogue with the work in question. When I read something, I'm considering how an author shapes an argument, what is implied, what is omitted, and so on. We live in contentious times, and I would say that my history degree has been invaluable in making me an educated citizen and consumer of knowledge.
What would you advise other students who might be considering a major in History?
I would tell them that if they enjoy forming and presenting arguments and learning about the past, then a history degree will make their college experience immeasurably more interesting. I would tell them to make the most of their coursework in history, enjoy themselves, and develop skills that will serve them well in the future, personally and professionally. Finally, I would tell them that along with their history major, there is ample time during college for specific pre-professional preparation in whatever field they choose.