P&S Class of 2016: Randall Lee
After college, Randall Lee, MD'16, went straight to work on a Wall Street trading floor and stayed there for 10 years. And he was happy there—until he wasn’t. “I grew to despise coming to the trading desk every day,” he says.
A career in medicine had never before entered his mind. “Only the smartest people from my high school aspired to go to medical school, and I wasn’t one of them,” Dr. Lee says. But during time away from work, he helped a friend with a clinic in Haiti, where he enjoyed working with patients. And then, several years into his career, his mother passed away at a young age. “Ultimately I decided that life was too short to do something I didn’t enjoy,” he says.
Despite his unhappiness with his finance job, Dr. Lee still had a hard time switching careers. He continued to work full time while completing his postbac studies and he even worked during his first year of medical school.
Initially, Dr. Lee thought he would get his medical degree but then spend most of his time on the business of setting up clinics in underprivileged areas locally and abroad. Now he is more focused on day-to-day doctoring. “Spending time with patients is the core of why I became a doctor,” he says, “and the interactions I have with them are the most rewarding part of medicine.” Dr. Lee will start a residency in emergency medicine at UCLA this summer.
“I was really nervous about quitting work and going to medical school. I was afraid I was too old, I wouldn’t fit in or make friends, and I wouldn’t like medicine. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done and graduating will be my greatest accomplishment.
“Every aspect of medicine has surprised me, mostly in good ways. I couldn’t be more excited to start residency and I feel so grateful and humbled to be accepted into the field.”