@UCSD: An Alumni Publication

An Alumni Publication   Archive vol1no3 Contact
Up Front: Letters to and from the editor
Campus Currents: UCSD Stories
Shelf Life: Books
Cliff Notes: Student life and sports
Class Notes: Alumni profiles
Looking Back: Thoughts on UCSD
Credits: Staff and Contributors
On the Job: Palestinian Drama
The Intellectual Eatery
AIDS In Kabul
The Kite Runner
40 Years A-Growing
Making Waves
King of the Reefs
Police Pursuit
Iceberg Hotspots
Silent Desert
Hopping Robot

Features May 2007: Volume 4, Number 2


The Unexpected Career

by Tifany (Milner) Markee, Revelle ’95


I was one of those admittedly annoying children who always knew what she wanted to be in life. I have vivid memories of a plastic doctor’s kit and bandaged dolls. In high school, I adored science and math and begrudgingly succeeded in history and literature out of sheer necessity to maintain my GPA. I even personalized my first license plate: FTR MD [future MD].

My choice of UCSD was easy; settling into Revelle College with its spectacular science reputation was even easier. I devoured chemistry, physics and biology. Then came the preposterous demand from UCSD and Revelle that I be well-rounded. My parents lovingly reminded me that classes like humanities and music were important for a complete education. To me, they were rigorous versions of the high school classes I had halfheartedly tolerated.

I surprisingly began to like these diversions from science.
I expanded my comfort zone, voluntarily enrolling in classes such as philosophy and human sexuality, yet I remained ever-dedicated to my dream of medicine. I was an “intense” person who took my college career very seriously, and I now realize that my college boyfriend deserves nothing short of sainthood for his patience.

In August 1996, I attended my first class at the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, giddy with the realization that I was finally a 1M (first year medical student). It would therefore shock everyone, especially me, when in April 1997, I came home for the weekend, and never returned to school. Two weeks later, my dad drove a U-Haul of my Dallas apartment contents back to San Diego.
To say that I was lost was an understatement. I had voluntarily withdrawn from medical school, my lifelong dream. Despite my need to rationalize it, I couldn’t. I simply knew in my heart, from the first month of classes, that I was on the wrong life path.

After wallowing in self-pity for a reasonable amount of time, my supportive parents kicked me back into school. I agreed to law school, knowing it would buy me three years to figure myself out. At California Western School of Law, I suddenly became thankful for humanities, philosophy, and all of Dante’s circles of Hell. Without knowing what my life would have in store, the fine faculty of UCSD had prepared me for my future studies—even those that had nothing to do with medicine. I loved law and its lack of equations or acid-base reactions. I graduated at the top of my class, this time because of the love of the field, not for where it would take me.

I’m 33 now, and my professional life is nothing like I had envisioned it at 20. I am a practicing attorney and partner in my family’s law firm. I am married to a wonderful man, and have two amazing, precious children. And yet, even my personal life is not as I had planned it. I had looked forward to the miracle of pregnancy. Instead, we completed our family through the miracle of adoption. This unexpected pathway also led me to my sub-specialty of law: International Adoption.

Due to the rarity of attorneys in this field, I have spoken at several area law schools. After the expected questions about Angelina Jolie and Madonna, I am often asked for career advice for these future attorneys. My answer is always the same. Keep your hearts and your minds open, and be willing to travel paths that had once been unconsidered. As I said, my life is nothing as I planned it to be; it is even better.

Tifany (Milner) Markee is married with two children. She is a partner in the law firm of Milner & Markee, LLP, in San Diego, California.


@UCSD Celebrating Our Sun God


Sun God Festival Posters


Niki de Saint Phalle - Sun God


Do you have a memory  or story about UCSD?  This space could be yours.

Email the editor.