Meet Hardik Parikh, MG23

School: Tufts University School of Medicine

Degree: Doctor of Physical Therapy

Home: My family is originally from Vagad, India, but we all moved to the States when I was three. Home for me is Vacaville, California, where I was raised.

What’s an adjective that best describes you?

Jovial! I always try to be light-hearted and find silver linings. If you look at the bright side of a situation, you can take away a lot of the burden that comes with difficulty.

Why physical therapy—and why Tufts?

I played football in high school and had a knee injury that required me to undergo physical therapy. That’s when I fell in love with the field; it seemed like the best job in the world. I could be chatty and active and do work related to something I cared deeply about: physical health.

My cousin went to the School of Dental Medicine, and he spoke worlds about it and the culture of the university. That sparked my interest, and when I took a look at the program, it seemed perfect—I especially liked the hybrid format, because it offered the best of both worlds: I was able to be home for part of each semester and in Boston for part of each semester.

Also, my cousin was right: the culture here is one of continuous betterness. My professors and peers constantly say, “This is great—how can we make it better?” or “This is good—let’s keep going.” It’s a place where you’re always pushing the needle further in a direction that’s going to help not only yourself but also everyone around you.

What’s one thing you learned about yourself at Tufts that surprised you?

I’m more resilient than I thought I was. The program was difficult—very challenging academically. But before Tufts, I thought that if I failed at something, there was no comeback. Here, because it’s such a supportive environment, I learned that I can bounce back from anything.

And one thing you learned that you know you’ll carry with you into your career?

A good clinician is sympathetic but a great one is empathetic. One of my clinical instructors was diligent about teaching us the difference. Empathy, they said, is when you’re identifying with a patient; sympathy is when you’re looking down on them. That distinction really stuck with me.

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