Matthew, Pre-Departure

Hi! My name is Matthew Massa and I just finished my first year at Brandeis University. When I first became a part of the Pre-Med Program at Brandeis, I was near certain I wanted to be a doctor and most likely a surgeon. That interest has survived my first year, and now I intend to put it to the test. I will be shadowing Dr. Cataldo, a Colon and Rectal Surgeon at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. This will help me, in part, determine whether I still want to be a Surgeon and help me understand the specialty. I expect to understand the daily routine of a Colorectal Surgeon and what it takes to be a Surgeon. I expect to understand the patient-staff interaction, and I expect to view and understand (as much as possible) various surgical procedures. Above all, I plan to solidify my interest in the medical field and become more informed on what it means to be a surgeon. I need to decide (the sooner the better) and this will help me make an informed decision.

I am most excited about viewing Dr. Cataldo operating in the OR. I have seen operations online, but I have never seen one in person. I am really looking forward to that, it is going to be so cool! What I really like about it is how different it is from anything I’ve seen before. To see the inner machinery of a person just like me is so strange and so interesting. To see it in person is the only way I can appreciate it fully.

I am most nervous about interacting with Dr. Cataldo and the other Staff and asking questions. Specifically, I’m nervous that I will be too nervous to ask questions. I love asking questions, it is how I learn best, but in some of my classes I get psyched out and don’t ask them as often. I hope to overcome this, and that is the biggest obstacle I need to overcome when I shadow. I’ve read great things online about how welcoming he was, though, and how easy the transition was, from other students. I hope that means I’ll be comfortable asking questions. I am also nervous about how I am going to make connections and get other shadowing opportunities from this. I’m nervous about asking and I need to figure out how to. It’s more of an issue near the end, though. For now, I’m going to focus on the experience itself and what’s in front of me, because that is what most interests me.

My goal is to learn what I expected to above. I expect to be intimidated at first, but to grow to be comfortable and I expect them to be real nice over there. These folks save peoples’ lives I’m sure they are as nice as I hear! I look forward to this experience, and I am more grateful than ever for being given access to it.

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