Name: Dan Harris
Class Year: 2014
Hometown: Wellsville, NY
Undergraduate Degree:BS, Brain and Cognitive Sciences; University of Rochester
Hobbies: Playing music, golf, billiards and racquet sports
Favorite Musicians: Roger Miller, Levon Helm, Ry Cooder, and Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, to name a few
What influenced your decision to pursue a career in Medicine?
I readily rejected the idea of pursuing medicine while growing up. Science did not appeal to me until my college years. Then I began to realize the respect and admiration I had for physicians in my hometown. So, a combination of developing interests and a desire for a career with rural utility led to a gradual embracing of the path to medical school. Underlying it all is the goal of developing a work ethic in everyday life comparable to that of my parents.
What has been your most gratifying moment in medical school so far?
It's a tie! First, being completely engrossed in the anatomy lab is the most gratifying memory I have from classes so far. I cherished that time and time flew because I was having fun. Outside of schoolwork, my time spent at the Catholic Youth Organization's after-school program has been very rewarding. I remember the look of shock on a little girl’s face at seeing her own patellar reflex (and partly because she thought I hit her knee pretty hard!)
What faculty or staff member has most positively affected your experience at Upstate Medical University thus far? Why?
The faculty is wonderful, but I want to recognize one of my favorite staff members. Escola Echols is the security officer sitting at the front desk in Weiskotten Hall. She has been kind and welcoming from the very first day I showed up to interview. Upstate quickly felt like a home away from home – in large part thanks to Escola!
What has been your most challenging aspect of medical school thus far?
Keeping motivated through all of the work is a real challenge. Finding the time and perfect environment to focus remains a work in progress for me. There's a four-way balance between studying, community outreach, recreation, and relaxation that puts time-management skills to the test. So - like any other time in life - the most challenging part is trying to develop oneself on multiple levels.
If you could pass along any advice to an incoming Upstate Medical University medical student, what would it be?
Find a frame of mind that focuses on the role you see for yourself in your future community. Do your best to continue being, or even become more generous with your time. Keep part of your identity separate from medicine. I’m trying to imagine my own role so it’s hard to expand on the idea, but putting thought into it seems to benefit me.
What experience in medical school has surprised you the most?
Students and administration are constantly trying to find ways to improve and adapt Upstate for the future. It makes for an added challenge to be thoughtful and proactive about the state of education and life here at Upstate.
What are your aspirations following medical school?
I hope to find a specialty I enjoy that I can set up shop with in a rural setting.
What do you do in your spare time?
I play a lot of guitar and ukulele, a little piano. I'm involved with the Upstate Vocal Music Club and Family Medicine Student Organization. I get together with all of my new friends here at Upstate. Most importantly, I go home to see family and old friends as often as possible!