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2013年7月11日 (木)

is always to be cultivated

I suppose the first thing I should address, in discussing my time at Gilder, is how I got to be there in the first place. The details are a little subtler than this, but the story basically boils down to the fact that there is necessarily a yawning gap of a year between when the Columbia premed postbac program ends and when med school starts, and a man has got to find a way to kill that year. As such, I started fishing around for work during the end of my time at Columbia. I applied to all sorts of things on the premed message board, and began going to interviews—you know, playing that game. Before long, a good friend of mine, who was working at Gilder at the time, caught wind of the fact that I was applying to jobs in the city.

“Why don’t you apply where I work?” he said.

“Oh—because I’m totally unqualified,” said I.

  “Don’t worry about that,” he said. And when, a couple weeks later, I went into Gilder for the crucial in-person interviews, this friend of mine gave me only one tidbit of advice: “Don’t be an idiot.”

    Apparently I wasn’t an idiot, because I got hired. It became overwhelmingly clear to me the moment I was offered the job that there would be no resisting the allure of discovering a world I had always assumed that I, as a philosophy major, would be forever denied access to—so even as I studied for the MCAT, I began to supplement my science textbooks with how-to books about Wall Street and some of those justly lauded Michael Lewis classics. I was perfectly aware at the time that the distraction of the imminent job may have been hurting my performance in my final set of science courses; but then (I mused philosophically to myself), every facet of life robs time from the others, and it is always simply a question of judging which ones are valuable enough to preserve, and which must be sacrificed. I found it strangely thrilling to be preparing for such drastically different tasks—the MCAT and a job on Wall Street—at the same time, and in my own eccentric world-view, such excitement is always a good sign; is always to be cultivated.

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