The famous line from George Bernard Shaw’s “Man and Superman”—“those who can, do; those who can’t, teach”—is sometimes quoted to explain why certain of us choose a career in academics. Fortunately for many medical students, the head of medical student education in my medical school was both a doer and a teacher.
This professor was among the most famous leaders in studying and treating retinal diseases. But unlike a lot of people who rise to the top of their fields, he never lost his ability to relate to young trainees. He was an empathic person who was eager to work with intelligent and curious students who showed up with little or no knowledge about the eye.
I never envisioned ophthalmology as a career when applying to medical school, but Mark’s enthusiasm about the specialty was infectious and so I headed over to see this professor. We spoke and he told me to come spend time with him in his clinic.