Wellness Student Spotlight: Nicholas (Niko) Kakos, MBS20, M24

"Tufts has a way of attracting a certain type of person to their student body; they are outgoing, spontaneous, compassionate, driven, and will always be there to celebrate your highs and to carry you through your lows."
Nicholas Kakos, MD24, MBS20

My name is Nicholas Kakos, I’m receiving my M.D. and will be continuing my medical career at Brown University’s neurology residency!

Who is someone who has had an impact on you during your professional degree program?

The friendships I’ve made with my classmates has undoubtedly been the most impactful experience throughout my education here. Tufts has a way of attracting a certain type of person to their student body; they are outgoing, spontaneous, compassionate, driven, and will always be there to celebrate your highs and to carry you through your lows. 

What is one activity you have done that contributed to your physical, mental, or emotional well-being over the course of your time at Tufts?

A handful of other students and I have been golfing together two to three times per month since late second year. Prior to matriculating, I was playing competitive lacrosse daily as part of my training routine. When medical school started though, the education became such a major part of my life that I had to step back from competing at that level. In doing so, I lost the daily practice of a tactile skill that would keep me sane. Golfing with my classmates here has been an unexpected grace for me in that regard because it’s allowed me to focus on a new, nuanced hand-eye game that I can play for the rest of my life! Plus getting outside, socializing with peers, and making professional connections while playing has been a rewarding byproduct of the experience.

What is something you have done in your professional degree program that you are proud of?

Research, clinical experience, exam scores, and various other academic milestones are all major parts of medical school that we gain a sense of pride from. But if I’m speaking honestly, the hidden curriculum of medical school is designed to sculpt a budding physician into a person that can connect with anyone, a person who can think critically in any moment, and a person who truly cares about helping someone else live the best version of their life they’ve been given. The prior academic achievements I listed in the beginning of my answer pale in comparison to the pride I feel in the type of person I’ve become while being a student here. Medical school, both professionally and personally, has been the most formative years of my life. 

What is a challenging situation that you did not think you would overcome, but you did?

The latter half of pre-clinical years were very tough mentally for me. I felt extremely burnt out by then, like I was living in a lecture-exam-lecture purgatory that would only end when I retired from medicine all together. In those years, it’s easy to be tricked into thinking “this is what being a doctor is like” and lose all hope of a fulfilling professional career. Then your clinical rotations begin and you’re reminded that being a doctor is the coolest job in the world. Getting to actually practice what it is to be a physician reminded me of why I was here in the first place.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in pursuing this career?

The patience. It’s a LONG road going through school and training until you can practice autonomously. I’ve learned that enjoying the process is just as important as the end result. 

What is something you wish you knew at the start of your journey and what is a piece of advice you would give your past self?

It’s cheesy but… cherish all the moments, it goes by faster than you’d imagine.

What will you miss most about being at Tufts and/or living in Boston?

The people. For sure, the people. I’m looking forward to saying in the future “oh, you see Dr so-and-so? I went to medical school with them, they are absolutely wonderful!”

What is one thing you are looking forward to most in your life post-grad?

Further deepening the connections I’ve made here at Tufts while we all forge into the physicians of tomorrow.