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From purposely tanking a placement exam to applying to medical programs

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From purposely tanking a placement exam to applying to medical programs

Senior Shahzan Mian holds a strip of potassium over a bunsen burner. Mian has pursued accelerated math and science courses in order to follow a career in medicine.

Senior Shahzan Mian holds a strip of potassium over a bunsen burner. Mian has pursued accelerated math and science courses in order to follow a career in medicine. "I’ve worked so hard in high school and I’ve had the stress of the ACT and all of the standardized tests. If I can get the solid guarantee of getting into medical school, which is a very, very difficult thing to do, statistically, I won’t have to stress as much," Mian said.

Caroline Judd

Senior Shahzan Mian holds a strip of potassium over a bunsen burner. Mian has pursued accelerated math and science courses in order to follow a career in medicine. "I’ve worked so hard in high school and I’ve had the stress of the ACT and all of the standardized tests. If I can get the solid guarantee of getting into medical school, which is a very, very difficult thing to do, statistically, I won’t have to stress as much," Mian said.

Caroline Judd

Caroline Judd

Senior Shahzan Mian holds a strip of potassium over a bunsen burner. Mian has pursued accelerated math and science courses in order to follow a career in medicine. "I’ve worked so hard in high school and I’ve had the stress of the ACT and all of the standardized tests. If I can get the solid guarantee of getting into medical school, which is a very, very difficult thing to do, statistically, I won’t have to stress as much," Mian said.

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The test proctor announces that time has expired, marking the completion of another AP exam for senior Shahzan Mian. It’s already his 12th such test over the past four years. With one eye on high school and the other on a future career in medicine, Mian’s daily life is a tightrope walk.

Mian understood what his parents wanted from him at a young age, and he has focused his high school years on his parents’ goal for him to pursue a career in medicine.

“Back in fifth grade, when we were taking a placement test for math, I [intentionally] did poorly on it, and I was so proud of myself for thinking outside of the box so I wouldn’t have to take a hard math class in sixth grade. I went home and bragged to my mom and she got mad and told my teacher. My teacher got annoyed, contacted the middle school, and told them to place me in the accelerated math program anyways,” Mian said.

Mian was part of an accelerated math program which put him on track to complete AP Calculus BC by junior year. However, he was not always inclined towards the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

“My parents always pushed me and my brother towards medicine and it wasn’t really until high school that I thought that it was something that I also wanted to do. In high school, I found that I was able to do well in my science classes and I really enjoyed those science classes,” Mian said. “I would say Physics is something I was able to excel well at.”

I really [attribute] everything to my parents, especially my mom…. My mom’s always been the one who’s been there to push me. Without her, I probably wouldn’t be where I am.”

— senior Shahzan Mian

It is because of AP Physics teacher Ellen Wilke that Mian took three AP physics classes, alongside his accelerated math courses.

“I believe that Mrs.Wilke is easily one of the best teachers at this school and probably one of the best teachers that I’ve ever had,” Mian said.

Six years ago, Mian’s older brother, Humza, was a senior applying to colleges and medical programs. Since then, his parents have discussed college plans and a career in medicine with Mian as well.

“My parents were definitely the ones who pushed me towards these accelerated programs,” Mian said. “They were the people to first give me those ideas, and then once they explained them it made sense to me as well so I thought, ‘why fight it?’ and just [went] along.”

The activity that affected Mian’s view of a career in medicine the most was the Students and Teachers as Research Scientists (STARS) program.

“They had physicians from different fields come in to and speak about their professions and what the actual lifestyle and toll is,” Mian said.

After considering various medical programs at colleges around the country, Mian has narrowed his list of schools down to a few top preferences. Realistically, he is trying to go to the six-year med program at UMKC. However, his dream schools include Stanford, Northwestern’s seven-year program, Baylor’s eight-year program and Brown’s program.  

“I’ve worked so hard in high school and I’ve had the stress of the ACT and all of the standardized tests. If I can get the solid guarantee of getting into medical school, which is a very, very difficult thing to do, statistically, I won’t have to stress as much,” Mian said. “I’m a bit ambitious in my goal. I’d like to be a surgeon, specifically a neurosurgeon. However, being as competitive as a thing it is, only time will tell.”

Mian has developed a close-knit group of friends that act as his support system whenever problems arise, whether they are academic, personal or otherwise. He is also very close with his family.

“My family is really centered around spending time with each other, [from] movie watching, grabbing lunch and dinner with my family, spending all day with them on weekends,” Mian said. “I really [attribute] everything to my parents, especially my mom. I didn’t want to at all be on an honors track. Since elementary school, I knew that’s what they wanted from me. My mom’s always been the one who’s been there to push me. Without her, I probably wouldn’t be where I am.”

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From purposely tanking a placement exam to applying to medical programs