How one kid from a not-so-prestigious college became a heart surgeon

During our four years at UC Irvine, I don’t think my college buddy Shane ever once missed a party.  And whenever our fraternity would head to the annual spring break trip to Mexico with the Tri-Delts, Shane was the first one there with a bottle of Coppertone and a hideous bathing suit.

Shane was also a premed who decided that one major—biology—wasn’t enough.  So he added a second major in chemistry…and a minor in global peace and conflict studies just because he found it fascinating.  During midterms and finals, Shane would bury himself in the basement of the library and never pick his head up from the books.  He worked as a tutor through our school’s “tutorial assistant program,” volunteered for the summer orientation program for new students and was a resident advisor in the dorms.  He played guitar in a band, volunteered in a hospital, did science research with a professor, was a teacher’s assistant for a social science course, and eventually graduated with high honors.  He was and still is the best example I’ve ever seen of someone making the most of college on all fronts.  He worked harder—and had more fun—than anyone else I knew.

Shane went on to medical school, graduated at the top of his class, and spent the next decade of his life becoming a cardiologist.  He is now one of only a handful of doctors in the world who can do a catheter ablation for complex arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia. I have absolutely no idea what that means.  But Shane does.

UC Irvine is a good school.  But it’s not world-famous like Ivy League schools are.  From a selectivity standpoint, UCI is middle of the road for our UC system, with Berkeley, UCLA and UC San Diego being far more selective and famous. 

But I’ve said it on this blog before, and I’ll keep saying it.  Where you go to college matters much less than what you do while you’re there. 

If ever there were proof of that, it’s Shane.