Advice for Incoming Medical Students | Short Coat Podcast 415
By David Etler
June 2, 2022
0:00 / 01:02:21
Dave etler00:32

Welcome back to the short coat podcast. The show that gives you an honest look at medical school, a production of the university of Iowa, Carver college of medicine. I'm Dave Etler, but what's really important this, I mean, pay attention listeners, pay attention. What's really important in my co-hosts on today's show, never in the history of this podcast.

Has there been a more intelligent, more compassionate, more collaborative, more organized, purposeful, reliable self-directed and open-minded group of medical student. Co-hosts a prime example of these traits, which I picked out of 317 positive character traits that I found on some random website is MTU Nicole Heinz,

uh, say hello to a top-notch MD/PhD students, Savannah, uh, Ruma gum, and, over here we've got, her intelligence is matched only by her stress level. It's MD/PhD student Riley B Han Bush, and joining us for the first time. sort of all the way from Shanghai. China is. mouse song. Yay. Yep. Let's

Mao Ye01:39

do it.

Yeah. I go by mowing med school though, so

Dave etler01:42

perfect. I w I was, you know, like, you've probably heard, I think you said you'd listened to the show and you've probably heard me screw it up before, so, no,

Mao Ye01:51

that was perfect. Pronunciation.

no one01:52


Dave etler01:53


Riley Behan-Bush01:55

Dave, you messed up my first, my last name on the first time I was, I probably just messed it up now.

No, you did. All right. Well, he was like, we spent the first five minutes when I showed up being like Hasan being, not be hand and the moment the

no one02:07

shelter non, maybe you edited it. I think I just said,

Dave etler02:10

I think he just, did you just say

I could only correctly pronounce one

no one02:17

person's name? It's so funny. Well, I'm glad it was

Dave etler02:25

And, you know, so I put all of my energy. I've been rehearsing. I've been rehearsing your name for days.

no one02:31

I can't. Yeah,

Dave etler02:34

but unfortunately I only have so many brain cells.

no one02:37


Riley Behan-Bush02:37

I'm fine. I'm fine to be the brain cell that doesn't make it

no one02:41

pruned out.

Dave etler02:42

Mal, welcome to the show. I, I think you got your chemistry PhD at the university of Iowa before joining us here at the Carver college of medicine.

And before that, as I said, you came to us from Shanghai. so how long before you came here, did you live in Iowa?

Mao Ye02:59

living Iowa

Dave etler03:00

before I did you come right from China to

Mao Ye03:03

Iowa? Yeah. Yeah. So it was direct to transition,

Dave etler03:06

you know, I, you know, I bet you can't speak for all Chinese people know, who come to the line.

I mean, I don't want to put you under that much pressure, who come to the U S to study, but why did you choose a us school instead of a Chinese.

Mao Ye03:18

that's a good question. so I went to a really good college in China. I don't want to brag about it, but

yeah, so I felt like I wanted more challenge also. No, I grew up with this, like Western, I, I grew up in Shanghai, which is a huge city, you know, I had all the, Western culture influence, I guess I liked it. It's, it's interesting to me. So that's why, you know, when I was, I also got a master degree in China as well, so I went to graduate school there.

you know, like people, classmates in my, labs, they went. Japan, which is closer to China. but I felt like I was a checked, hit to more Western culture. So I decided to go all the way to the other side of the world.

Dave etler04:08

W was there, was there any culture shock for you at all? Or was it just like, oh, I know what this is

no one04:13


Mao Ye04:14

I don't know. Like people say culture shock when that really means, I guess I was fine. I mean, food wise, I always like everything. Very good. You know, Chinese food, whatever. So was not, was not difficult for me. like talking to a people Iowa, no Midwest. Nice. So it was not shocked to me either so interesting.

Yeah. I didn't feel like culture shock.


Dave etler04:42

there wasn't anything puzzling about, about America or Iowa compared to it. Like you were like, w was there anything where you're like, why is this.

Mao Ye04:54

I don't recall. Like I ever thought that like that, you know, I had to practice my English. That was like the, probably one of the shorter, hardest obstacles.


Dave etler05:05

Well, I'm glad you're here. Thank you. I'm glad all of you are here. I don't want to leave any of you out. I'm glad all of you are here. I've already left out my ability to pronounce your name. So I don't want to leave the rest of you out. I'm glad that you're here. shortcodes you can ask us anything about medical school.

You like by calling us at 3, 4, 7 short CT and leaving a message or emailing us at the shortcuts at g-mail dot com. I did not get any questions though. This is a problem. I know I didn't get any questions. So I went to Reddit and I found some,

no one05:41

I found some questions

Dave etler05:43

from the official, mega thread for incoming medical students.

maybe you guys can help answer these questions and. And, you know, just give a little advice, cause people are gonna come here soon.

no one05:54


Riley Behan-Bush05:55

but only if they have a 99% M cat score and also have a 4.3, two, GPA, and every other thing that read it tells you have to have going into medical school.

no one06:04

I, I gotta go.

Riley Behan-Bush06:07

I'm going to need, I'm gonna need to know their credentials. I'm going to need to know everything. Cause that's what Reddit always has taught me is you, if you're not the top, don't even try.

Dave etler06:15

We might need to go with the honor system here. So if you're, if your M cat doesn't in your GPA, don't, you know, reach those thresholds lists.

Here, we're gonna have to go find another medical school podcast listened

no one06:28


Riley Behan-Bush06:29

we're. We're really hardcore here. See if you have not solved cancer, you're out. Like if you've not done 10 years of research,

no one06:37

if you don't

Dave etler06:37

have, if you don't have five first author publications you're done, if you don't. what, what are some other things, if

no one06:44


Riley Behan-Bush06:44

if you're not associated with a Nobel Laureate, like even try, like, if your mentor is not like out here winning awards left and

no one06:53


You're done.

Dave etler06:55

If you got a real letter of recommendation from just a physician, don't even

no one07:01

try, I mean,

Dave etler07:03

get out. that's none of that's true listeners, you know, that's true. No,

no one07:07

that's not true that automatic,

Riley Behan-Bush07:09

you might think it's true. You know, that's not true.

Dave etler07:13

I'm going to level with you. I could get into medical school.

Dave Etler could get into medical school. I promise you that. Could I stay? I don't know if I could, I don't know if I could. I have a terrible memory.

no one07:28

You could work on. What do you mean you could work on that?

Riley Behan-Bush07:32

How do you work on that?

Dave etler07:36

I've had almost 52 years. I've had exactly 52 years to build up this skill. How often are you say

Sahaana Arumugam07:41

your birthday? Is that why you're saying exactly 52 years.

Dave etler07:45

52 years, plus, yeah. I

Sahaana Arumugam07:47

would just want to make sure

Riley Behan-Bush07:51

such a

no one07:51

sly way to tell people that it's your birthday.

Riley Behan-Bush07:54

It's been exactly 26

no one07:56


Dave etler07:57

52 years plus a four

no one08:00


Riley Behan-Bush08:01

Okay. Okay. Well, for the record, all those things I was saying do not count. And that is the only thing you read on Reddit and or student doctor network. Sorry, sponsored by either of them.

no one08:11

We are not

Riley Behan-Bush08:14

studying. I was like, oh no, it's red. It's thrown big money at med

no one08:18

student podcasts.

Dave etler08:21

Oh my God. Don't worry.

Yeah. So maybe you guys can help answer these questions. so let's start with the. How do you take notes? I swear every medical student on YouTube or social media takes either color handwritten notes or uses some intricate notion dashboard. This can't be realistic. So how do you actually do it? What system do you use?


Sahaana Arumugam08:43

of all? I don't know what a

no one08:44

notion dashboard.

Dave etler08:45

I don't either. I don't either. I was hoping

no one08:48

it was something, so we don't know what it is. Nobody's doing it. How did

Dave etler08:54

your closer Mauer to, to the M one year, how did you, what did you do? How did you, how did you take your notes? I did you memorize?

Mao Ye09:02

Memorize, to be honest.

one check I've found is to quiz yourself just to repeatedly. That's how you remember stuff, but the way I used to read a stuff that doesn't help me memorize, yeah, just keep quizzing yourself and you'll memorize more.

Dave etler09:22


Riley Behan-Bush09:22

think everyone does this so differently. I've heard a lot of people, again, just like in the, the world of like debating how best to study. A lot of people will say like taking notes on PowerPoints is worthless. I wholeheartedly disagree as a person. Who's got a very scattered brain. If I'm not doing something in a class, I can't just like sit there and like look at the professor and then absorb all the information.

So for me, I would actually put the PowerPoints on too. I use Notability. You could use good notes. You could use, what are the other ones? I

Sahaana Arumugam09:54

don't know. I used a free app called PDF expert in harvest,

Riley Behan-Bush09:58

right in the margins, right in the margins. And then I would just like re try to synthesize what the professor was saying.

Usually all the things they're saying are on the notes. So it'll just be me adding like little snippets that they might not have added to the notes. Ways that I can, resynthesize the information. And that make more sense in my brain. Was that the best way? I don't know. It worked for me. So you're still here.

Dave etler10:20

I'm still here. Unlike the hypothetical NetSuite, Dave Etler. yeah, I feel like, that's a very common way. I mean, people really depend on the, the PowerPoint, getting the slides in advance from the professors and when they can't get them, for some reason they're thrown into chaos. you

Riley Behan-Bush10:39

guys do like honky or flashcards, like during class.

Cause I know that's another way during class, like people will make the flashcards while they're in lecture or I could not do that. And then like that is their lecture time. They're like half paying attention, but they're using that lecture time as like creation of flashcards. I would see people do that.

Some of the lecture color. Okay. I

Nicole Hines11:02

think this question always comes up around orientation and the sense I always get. When people are super anxious asking this is they forget that they've already finished a degree where they studied and had success. I feel like that would be my first part of advice would just to be, do what you know, how to do.

And then build off of that. With advice from classmates learning specialists, we have one in our counseling center, like they'll have sessions on how to study, go attend those things. If you think you don't get it, but you, you do at this point, have something there that you can build

Riley Behan-Bush11:37

off of the one advice that I would say change immediately.

It was one that I had to change immediately

no one11:43

is that

Riley Behan-Bush11:43

I went from an undergrad. I would like take all my notes. I would never like put the PowerPoints on a slide and then write in the margins. I would always like try to take notes during class. It's going to be too much information. You're not going to be able to write all those notes.

I would just do like the PowerPoint, write in the margins, kind of annotate it for yourself because if you go to the first. And it's like a 60 slide PowerPoint. You're not going to be taking notes on that. Not effectively. You're just going to be like scrambling to try to get every word that's on the PowerPoint.

Take the PowerPoints, annotate them. That's the first change. And then go from there,

Dave etler12:17

back in my day, we didn't, you, you young, you young whippersnappers in your PowerPoint slides. We had, we had, we were lucky if the professor wrote things on a transparency,

Riley Behan-Bush12:29

projectors, not a Blackboard,

Dave etler12:31

wouldn't even take a picture of that transparency.

We had to like, take a picture of it with our minds.

Riley Behan-Bush12:38

This is why you think you're a bad memorizer.

Dave etler12:41

I sometimes I wonder, like, could I like with the technology we have today, like with inky and, and, or inky conky with their like spaced repetition algorithms and all this kinda stuff. Could I could I, maybe I could.

No, I

Mao Ye12:58

do think you could, like everybody could. Okay.

Riley Behan-Bush13:01

Yep. I think there's a multi-verse in which you are a Nobel Laureate, that there is a world in which David Adler is a Nobel Laureate and that he had the ability to use AKI. And that's how we got there.

no one13:15


Dave etler13:16

nice. Well, too, if the, if it happens that the other universe me is listening right now and it has well, the got their Nobel Laureate in some physics discipline that allows them to subscribe to podcasts from other universities.

Riley Behan-Bush13:35

They're good

Dave etler13:37

on, good

no one13:38

on you. And I dimensional podcasts in that way. Yeah. Nice

Dave etler13:42

work. Yeah. right. Have we, have we dealt with that question?

no one13:47


Riley Behan-Bush13:48

Works for you. That's what it comes down to. That's what, like, all of these questions are gonna relate. It's like, do what works for

no one13:54

you. If it doesn't work for you, don't

Dave etler13:56

do it.

Yeah. Change it. Let's try something else. You know what the thing is? You know, people always worried like, oh, if I didn't get good grades in that first, you know, if I you'll, you'll do fine. Right. If you want to do even better, you know? Yeah. You could change it up and adjust, but you know, really when it comes down to like getting your residency, I don't really know that those, that first.

Those first two semesters are really that important. I think what's more important is probably your grades during clinical clerkships. And I mean, you know, you don't want to fail anything, but, you know, or if you do you want to make it up or whatever, you know, like, it'll be fine. It'll be fine.

Nicole Hines14:36

It's one more thing.

It's easy

Riley Behan-Bush14:38

to waste energy, looking at other

Nicole Hines14:39

people and convincing yourself. You're doing it wrong because you're not doing it the way they are. And if you find yourself doing that

Dave etler14:45

stop, do you guys, pay attention to, YouTube and social media med student influencers at all?

Oh, I think Riley might know.

Riley Behan-Bush14:55

I like, well, they'll pop up because tic-tac is an algorithm and you can only like avoid them so much. So I look at them with fascination. I don't look at them with like trying to gain something. I thought they were more interesting when I was an undergrad. And I was like, thinking about going to medical school because I was always so fascinated by like, what is.

Process like, and I think that's the only way in which it is useful as like, what does a day look like as you're trying to figure out, like, is this the right path for me as a medical student? No, I think it's like, it's not toxic, but it's like, it's the comparison. It's the, what is it? Thief of joy is comparison.

Comparison is joy. Yeah. I dunno. Philosopher. Riley can't even remember her saying. yeah, so I think it's not so great.

Dave etler15:38

Okay. Next question. I already know. That I want to do a competitive specialty, EG Opta, ortho, derm. What should I be doing in my first year to set myself up for success?

Riley Behan-Bush15:53

Cure cancer.

Kidding. I

Sahaana Arumugam15:59

honestly don't know.

Nicole Hines16:01

Just doesn't want for me to answer.

Mao Ye16:04

I feel like, just relax and go shadow those specialties. If you want here to make sure that's really what you

Nicole Hines16:13

want to do.

Riley Behan-Bush16:14

Don't fail

Nicole Hines16:15

your classes, start building relationships, but with like good intentions, not just feeling like, because you have to, but with people you want to, because you want to,

Dave etler16:26

and you do want to,

Riley Behan-Bush16:27

and the summer between your first and second year, you can look for research.

If you're into that kind of thing. Look for research in the specific area you're interested in going into Durham, APO, et cetera. I think that's about it all you can do for the first few. Other than carrying cancer other than curing cancer. yeah, that's, that's really, it. Every person who matches into Durham has cured cancer.

Dave etler16:51

You guys, you mentioned research and I worry that people who hear oh, research, then I've got to come up with some genius research. I got to come up with some like, really super valuable research that, you know, cures cancer or whatever. is that true?

Nicole Hines17:09

My current research is not going to cure cancer at all.

I haven't seen a single patient, but I've seen hundreds of patient charts. Like you're not necessarily going to have to be in a lab doing basic research to be getting research. There's tons of opportunities and really just look for what you're interested in and faculty who are already doing. And you'll find a project that doesn't feel like constant work,

Dave etler17:36

but do you feel like the point of doing research is to make some valuable, scientific contribution while you're in medical school?

Riley Behan-Bush17:43

Ooh, that's a tough, geez. That's it? That's a deeper question. Cause I, I have feelings, but

Sahaana Arumugam17:49

they might

no one17:50

be hot takes,

Sahaana Arumugam17:53

I guess, I guess. Yeah. I feel like a lot of, not necessarily like chart review, but like sometimes there are medical students who are like doing research for the sake of doing research. And I don't think that all of it is like necessarily contributing.

Like it might, I guess it depends. Right? Cause like, obviously the there's like a physician you're like involved with who thinks it's important and like is telling you to like do this thing for them, that they want the information. But I think there's a lot of instances where people are just like doing like, people are like the, like find you a project just so you can like have a project.

For the sake of doing something that you can put on your resume, does it make a scientific contribution? Will the physician actually use it like who's to say? I don't, I don't think that all research is

no one18:37


Dave etler18:38

I don't know. Perhaps the point is to just learn how to do research

Sahaana Arumugam18:41

and that's different, but that doesn't mean that it has a scientific, meaningful contribution.

It's like a training opportunity, which is valuable to that person. Sure. I

Dave etler18:49

think even, you know, I, I know that, and you guys can, you MD/PhD students can

no one18:59


Dave etler18:59

I was thinking, I was thinking more in, in, you know, when people come to medical school, when you do your, your PhD phase, like it's a long. Number one. you're you're doing something and hopefully that's important, but sometimes, you know, you're, sometimes it just doesn't work the way you thought it was going to work.

and maybe, you know, and so sometimes I hear it, you know, toward the end, like, oh, I didn't know. My research is garbage.

Riley Behan-Bush19:28

Well, I think the harder part too, is most people in the MD/PhD are doing some degree of like basic science research, which is quite different than what probably 90% of medical students are doing.

When they say they're doing research. I would say most medical students are doing like clinical chart review based research. And please correct me if I'm like super off. And then like maybe 10% are able to get on like a basic science research project that they can continue for the four years that they're here and maybe they'll get a publication out of it.

The hard part is when you're trying to do research in medical school, from what I've gathered from friends, Really the balance between finding a project that you're really passionate about, and that will train you really well or finding a project that is going to get you a publication. Because if you're thinking about competitive specialties, it's kind of sucks, but like publications are the currency, like to say that you've really done something and contributed.

And should that be the case? No, because you could argue that really good clinical research should probably take longer than us summer that a medical student is able to work on it. However, that doesn't mean that the, that the currency is not weighted that way for the same reason that step shouldn't be weighted as

no one20:43

much as it is.

But here's

Dave etler20:44

the thing. I mean, if you do a poster presentation, that's a public case.

Nicole Hines20:50

Counts, counts applications. Yeah. I think. And hearing all of this. And I had the experience of last summer. I did one of the summer research fellowships, and I did basic science research. And now I am looking more into a project that's we're looking at how different patients identify themselves in the medical chart.

specifically gender expansive patients, because when you have, lab tests that have sex specific ranges, it's going to be impacted if you're on hormones or change your legal sex. And when I was in the basic research mindset, I didn't see as much of the value in the current research. I don't feel like there's scientific breakthroughs, but improving patient care and finding those.

I think it's different people looking for different things in different kinds of research, but it does have value and putting it on your applications I'm will go and try to get a publication, but with this. But I feel like it's getting me, the relationships with people who are interested in these things that I am.

And right now I find value in that more than curing

Riley Behan-Bush21:56

cancer. Yeah.

Dave etler21:59

It's also a tad more realistic. Yes,

no one22:02

yes. Just a tittle.

Nicole Hines22:04


Riley Behan-Bush22:04

If you're interested in going into competitive specialties and you see research as a thing, you actually really enjoy doing do it.

If you don't enjoy it, go do humanities projects or volunteering projects do not do research. If you do not enjoy it, it will not. It's a bit of a sock. Like it kind of sucks at times. I really enjoy it, but it's also really hard. another thing for another time, but I think. Looking at the project that you're choosing because clinical based research is super important and it is more so in the scope of what you can complete in medical school.

maybe steer clear of the basic science lab that just got the grant that is just getting a project off the ground, because that is going to be just an extra slog and probably not something you can manage to the extent you want to manage it in medical school, you may want to give more time to that project, but you're probably not going to be able to because basic science research just takes so much longer.

Dave etler23:15

Next question. How do I make friends in med school and corollary? Is it a good idea to date? My classmates?

Riley Behan-Bush23:24

That's like two fun

no one23:25


Dave etler23:26

How do you make friends in med school or med school friends, harder to find than normal friends.

no one23:32


Riley Behan-Bush23:32

you suffer together.

Dave etler23:34

I think it's probably easier. Let me tell you something about friends.

Pretty here. Dave's hot

no one23:40

take on.

Dave etler23:41

When you get out of med school, when you get out of college and you get out of med school, it gets a lot harder to find friends. there's just, I don't know. There's just something about like, not sharing the same experience every single day. That makes it just a little bit harder.

I think it's going to be easy to find friends in med school personally. What do you think

no one24:04

I do look

Riley Behan-Bush24:05

back at my life. And I think every single friend that I have that is close to me is a friend that was made through going through hard shit together. So therefore medical school is exactly that you're going through something really tough together.

And therefore you are going to really enjoy each other's company because you're all going through the same hard thing. And I think there's a lot of friendship that comes from commiserating together. So I would argue that a lot of friends are made just like studying together and being in the learning communities and saying, Hey, let's grab a drink after this exam.

And just like being okay with putting yourself out there.

Dave etler24:37

I would say that's a prerequisite for being, for making friends is putting yourself out there because

Nicole Hines24:42

I felt they're easy. I think joining student groups going and jumping on your school's podcast or something great ways to meet people and make friends.

I mean, most of the people I consider my good friends I've met in this room. If

Dave etler24:57

you're a school, if you're in med school right now and your med school doesn't have a podcast, make a podcast or.

no one25:04


Dave etler25:08

hypothetical days. That's a stupid school.

Riley Behan-Bush25:11

Quit and come to Carver.

no one25:14

We don't take transport

Dave etler25:17

too bad.

no one25:17

You made the wrong. Um, what was

Dave etler25:21

the other question? Is it okay to just indicate a date? Isn't a good idea. I don't know if that's a good

Sahaana Arumugam25:26

idea, but I think it's a fine idea. I mean, there's plenty of people in our year who like met each other in medical school and are like getting married now they're getting married, they're engaged.

There's like plenty of people who get to engage on marriage. Yeah. So I think. Yeah for them. That was a good idea for you who can say right?

Riley Behan-Bush25:43

We don't know you. I think for my personal self,

Dave etler25:47

it might not be grateful for your med school date.

Riley Behan-Bush25:51

I feel like I've thought about this a lot, not in the context.

relationship for six years now. And I'm currently married. regardless. I like think about it because I wonder if it's a good idea, because I'd watched my husband who had gone through law school. He had law school friends date, and it seems like maybe this is not the case, but from an outside perspective, and this is all like me just spit balling here.

I feel like you'd be talking about medicine, like way more than I would ever want to talk about medicine within the confines of when I go home. So I do wonder. Like, it's not a bad idea, but just like, make sure you have boundaries like that. You're not literally only studying together, only talking medicine together.

Like that just sounds like bad relationship time, like boring. I was actually thinking

Nicole Hines26:36

about this this morning. For what reason? I have no clue, but I came into school engaged as well. So I never once looked at my classmates as potential partners. It's really, it's really weird to sit around and have classmates talking about like, oh, there's only this many single people, or like talking about classmates in that regard because my brain isn't in that mode.

but this morning I was thinking about how much I would hate for my husband to be in medicine. Like I really value that we're in completely different things. He's in accounting and I've

Riley Behan-Bush27:10

somebody I worked for

Nicole Hines27:11

talked about when she was in med school with her husband and. She was always

Riley Behan-Bush27:16

doing great, but he was always doing better.

I was gonna say, is the comparison comparison is the thief of joy. Second time I've said it and it's, I didn't get

Nicole Hines27:25

the vibe that like he would rub it in or anything, but it still made her feel a little less. And I just wouldn't want to deal with that. Some people would probably thrive off of maybe a competitive nature or just feeling like medicine is more of their life, but that's not for me.

no one27:45

Yeah. Married people wondering about the,

Dave etler27:49

I would love to hear from med students who are married to another med students or med students, Other med students, how they negotiate that. Cause I, cause my first instinct was just be like, well, just don't talk about it. You know? Just

no one28:01

like, I

Dave etler28:03

know like that's completely unreasonable.

Like, you know, what do you do when you get a bad grade? You'd be like,

no one28:09


Riley Behan-Bush28:09

it's like when I go home to my husband, like, I'll explain my dad. He'll be like, how's your day. And I'm like, yeah, it was good. But then I think about it in my head. I'm like, I don't really want to go into the whole thing cause I'm going to have to like explain words and like terms.

And then we, neither of us just talks about each other's jobs. It's great. Like we say day was great. He'll tell me like a little bit about what he was doing, but not much. And I'm like, this is the perfect amount of detail for both

no one28:32

of us right now.

Riley Behan-Bush28:35

Can we talk about our shows that we're gonna watch. That's my advice.

Dave etler28:39

I think it's a fine, I think it's okay to date your classmates.

no one28:43

All of them.

Riley Behan-Bush28:47

Maybe not at the same time. Hey, it's called networking, but maybe networking, expanding your network. They're all going to be residents

no one28:54

in attendance someday. Oh God.

Dave etler28:58

have you, have you dated any classmates on, are you, are you, are

Sahaana Arumugam29:01

you involved? Are you involved relationship before I even came into med school at the time?


Mao Ye29:07

you dated any classmates seeing a relationship. Okay.

Dave etler29:11

Wrong, wrong question. To bring up on this show. okay, next question. I'm not sure what specialty I want to enter. How do I explore different specialty options? How will I know what's right for me?

no one29:27

Go to school, literally

Riley Behan-Bush29:32

school show up every day, attend interest groups.

I have been my third year, almost fourth, and I don't know what I'm doing,

Dave etler29:40

but you're in your PhD phase now. It's like, you don't have you put that off for a long time, but actually when you get back, I

no one29:47

would like the answer to this

Riley Behan-Bush29:48

question because I'm like, how do I explore this different specialties?

Dave etler29:52


D D do you have a specialty that you've been thinking about

Mao Ye29:56

as an Amazon? No. I keep my mind open. That's where every senior classmate told me, you know, just make sure I, also I had a mentor, who was a general surgeon here, but, he just said in the enjoy everything. And at the end of the day, you'll know.

Yeah. Hope I will now. Cause I'm also a little anxious to be honest, like what I want to do.

Dave etler30:18

Sure. You know, it's funny, you, I think there are people who get to that third year when people start talking about, okay, when are you going to be, what are you going to be when you grow up? What are you gonna be?

And they're not quite sure, but my experience is that I don't know, they all match or apply to something. I

Riley Behan-Bush30:37

feel like most people get to the end of their quarrier from talking to friends that are going through the process of figuring out what they want to do. They usually get to the end of their core year and are left with maybe, hopefully one, maybe two or three that they're really interested in.

And then they can start to figure it out from there. I know people right now that are still like 80% sure what they're applying to and a few months, but that's, it's okay to be 80% sure at the end of it, the hope is you get to the end of your core year and you're like, I liked everything. Now you get like more choices.

Maybe you'll find that the lifestyle of one appeals to you more than the lifestyle of another and the older you get as you do, when you're in school for four years, you're going to start to realize your priorities shift as you go through it. And so Korea is like the perfect time to just start to figure out what you're actually doing.

And for the listeners core year is when you do all of your clinical rotations that are

Dave etler31:29

whatever your school has decided are the key ones, usually primary care

no one31:35

surgery, OB psych

Dave etler31:38

neurology, neuro, I think in our case

Sahaana Arumugam31:41

now we have, ER, also changed a bunch for every year in the past few years. So,

Dave etler31:47

and I can never leave it alone so that I can remember what those things are.

But yeah.

Nicole Hines31:52

I think Riley talking about lifestyle was really important to me. I'll get this inkling. Oh, maybe I'd be interested in this, but then I see a little what it's actually like and like, no way am I going to do this day in and day out forever. And then for me, I walk into where one of the pathology specialties are, and I'm surrounded by microscopes.

And I just feel like I'm in heaven or wherever you're the most euphoric. So you're not going to know unless you get your feet on the ground and you're not going to have had your feet on the ground before your first day of med school.

Dave etler32:27

Also just resolve, to explore as many options as you can outside the curriculum, when you're able to do that.

So, you know, if there is a break, ask to shadow, somebody, some special somebody in some specialty you've never shattered before. Even, you know, shadow people who aren't physicians, but who work in that, in that field, you know, nurses, pharmacists, you know, just put yourself out there so that, you know, what it's like from all angles of that, specialty and, yeah, just sort of try to take it all in.

And I think one thing that sometimes people might make a mistake on is deciding to not go into a specialty because of the people you met in that specialty. I

Riley Behan-Bush33:18

would love more like, experiences about this because it would be so hard for me as a person to be with. Just crappy people, a whole rotation. And then also, still say, no, I actually really enjoyed the work and I want to go into this because I would have a hard time.

Assuming those people are not like that. Literally

Dave etler33:36

everywhere I go. Yeah. I mean, it's really hard. I mean, like it's tempting to be like, well, all surgeons are dicks. But, I mean, clearly, clearly that's not the case. I mean, you know, it's not the same everywhere you go. And it's probably not the same, even within the department that you rotated in.

You probably, we just got

Riley Behan-Bush33:52

just the resident you've got for that specific

Dave etler33:54

week. Bad luck.

no one33:57


Sahaana Arumugam33:57

know, it's hard though, to like parse that apart because that light

no one34:00

color, so much of your experience is like the way people treat you.

Dave etler34:03

I think people make decisions based on that more often than

Riley Behan-Bush34:06

people make decisions on the, like, I want to S I want to call it like the soft side of those specialties.

Like the soft skills, like what is happening in the lifestyle, both when you're at work and outside of work. I think that is like way more of a factor for people once they get to their core year than I even thought. I think a lot of people enter medical school. What am I scientifically most interested in?

I think once you finally start to do rotations, you start to realize who do I actually want to spend every day with which patients do I want to spend every day with? Do I want to wake up at this time every day? Or maybe you do because you really like that science and that's what I've realized over the time that I've been here is the stuff that I do outside of school has become wildly more like important in my brain when I choose which specialty I want to go into.

And the people that I spend every day with will matter a lot to me, because I want to make sure that I really enjoy like the interactions that I've having with people, not just going into something for cool science, because if that was the case, I think everyone would end up in like, I don't know. What's cool science neurosurgery probably pretty cool.

I don't know much about neurosurgery, but it's probably pretty neat. Yeah. People don't because people like people and people want their time outside of work. I

Nicole Hines35:22

just decided I'm going to call pathology pretty science, as long as it's not gross pathology. I don't know if anybody else finds like what you can see under the microscope when it stained does pretty.

Dave etler35:33

But I think you might be finding just the right thing for you. I mean,

Nicole Hines35:36

the first time I was on this podcast, you talked about the pathologists alone in a dark room with their microscope. And I was like, I guess I'm going to go into pathology.

Riley Behan-Bush35:45

I guess that's exactly where I want to be.

Nicole Hines35:47

See me in a few years when I'm not in pathology

Riley Behan-Bush35:51

because you loved the people on neurosurgery, right?

Mao Ye35:55

Yeah. Also, I went to those match panels. now when told me a story, she's like, you know, when you choose a specialty, nothing's perfect. You have deal with the perfect aspect of it. And then the imperfect aspect of it. If you can accept that. Maybe your life won't be too bad.

Riley Behan-Bush36:17

How does

Dave etler36:17

great advice? I, yeah, I mean, this is kind of advice for anybody.

I mean, there's no perfect world that you're going to live in. So, you know, I don't know. Like, I always feel that like, love what you do and you'll never work a day in your life. And I'm like, you know what? That is totally not true. Shut up.

no one36:36


Dave etler36:36

that's why I think it's because you can love what you do. And still