Lauren Nichols had to choose. As a little girl, she set her sights on two career pathways—working as a famous actress or as a not-so-famous doctor. She considered both options, from that point on, all the way through her undergraduate work where she studied both biology and theater at St. Olaf College.

“Even since middle school, there were different things that drew me to medicine, including the documentaries I watched and volunteering at the hospital,” Nichols said. “And then going into undergrad, I still did some theater stuff here and there, which was good to get both sides of it, but ultimately, I decided to pursue medicine.”

As soon as she received her acceptance letter from the University of Minnesota Medical School, Nichols was all in. During her first year, she joined the student council to serve as a representative for the Center for Health Interprofessional Programs. Today, she is the student council’s executive vice president. 

“It has been really eye-opening to see the way the Medical School runs, working with the deans and addressing students' concerns while trying to make change,” she said.

Nichols shared even more of her time with the Women in Medicine group and the regional board of the Student National Medical Association, all while meeting deadlines, acing exams and giving her best self to each clinical rotation.

“I went into clinical rotations with an open mind. All the rotations I thought I would be horrible at, I ended up thoroughly enjoying, and I really learned from each one because I had that mentality,” she said. 

By her third year, she admitted she was “definitely tired and stressed out. I was about to start my pediatrics rotation, and I wondered if I had the right mindset.”

Nichols, though still open-minded, knew she carried a special enthusiasm for children. 

“After each shift, I actually went home happy. I think that was a good sign, especially since I actually enjoyed my night shifts,” she said. “Those patients were my favorite. They were so funny and open to learning. I loved interacting with my patients' parents who valued the time and perspectives that medical students brought, and I was especially enthused when they asked specifically to speak with the medical students. It was really rewarding.”

Nichols may have chosen medicine, but pediatrics chose her. Today, she matched at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles in pediatrics. She is most thrilled to care for a diverse patient population and, more specifically, to work with the underserved. In 10 years, she sees herself working in both outpatient and inpatient settings—but she’s keeping her options open.

“I’d love to be a part of an interprofessional team where I am working with other physicians as well as nutrition services, social workers, nurses and a variety of people who can bring in different points of view that are really valuable. I also want to be involved in different things outside of medicine, whether that be volunteering or spending time with family and friends. Who knows?” she laughed. “I might still become famous.”

Lauren Nichols is the daughter of Brenda Nichols and is the older sister of Candice and Erin Nichols.

To find out where all Medical School students matched, visit the 2020 Match Day page.