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Episode 114 – Brett, first year medical student at University of Utah School of Medicine

Dec 26, 2018

“It’s all about the deep breath.” At 15-years-old, Brett had spinal fusion surgery that he received permission to record. Seeing the footage confirmed his desire to become a doctor. He talks about his surgery experience and what it was like to go back to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles a year later to spend time in the OR with his surgeon and see the same surgery he had been through. He shares what his connection is to Kevin Costner and what it was like to be the youngest “jacketed member” of the Ski patrol. Finally, we talk about how he ended up at the U for undergrad and became “Swoop”.

Episode Transcript

Dr. Chan: What convinces a 15-year-old that medicine is the career for him? What does Kevin Costner have in common with a medical student here at the University of Utah School of Medicine? What's it like to be the youngest jacketed patrol member on ski patrol? And how does playing Swoop compare to medical school interviews?

Today on "Talking Admissions and Med Student Life" I interview Brett, a first-year medical student here at the University of Utah School of Medicine.

Announcer: Helping you prepare for one of the most rewarding careers in the world, this is "Talking Admissions and Med Student Life" with your host, the Dean of Admissions at the University of Utah School of Medicine, Dr. Benjamin Chan.

Dr. Chan: Well, welcome to another edition of "Talking Admissions and Med Student Life." I've got a great guest today, Brett, incoming med student.

Brett: Yeah. Very happy to be here.

Dr. Chan: How does it feel?

Brett: Oh, it's amazing. I cannot wait to get back into the swing of things.

Dr. Chan: Awesome. All right, well, let's start at the beginning. When did you first have this desire to be a doctor? Where did that come from?

Brett: People have this conversation all the time, so I've spent a lot of time trying to pinpoint that exact moment where I had the interest. Ever since I was 12 I've said, "I want to be a doctor." But where it finally crystallized was I had back surgery for scoliosis. I have a spinal fusion. My T12 through L2 vertebrae.

Dr. Chan: How old?

Brett: I was 15 when I had the surgery. I was so curious about medicine at that time that I brought my GoPro or other type action camera and had them bring it in to the OR so I could actually see parts of my surgery.

Dr. Chan: Wow.

Brett: Yeah. So there's this clip that I have where you're actually looking down and you see me with the rib spreaders in, you're looking in and you see him holding . . . they actually had to take out my T10 rib, and so you see him holding that.

Dr. Chan: Did you get to keep that?

Brett: No, that's what they used for the bone graft.

Dr. Chan: Oh, okay, all right. Okay. Wow, so 15.

Brett: Yeah, and then the really great thing, I was in the Children's Hospital Los Angeles with the incredible Dr. David Skaggs. Since then he's actually become a very close personal and family friend and mentor. So the year after when I was 16, I went back to Children's Hospital Los Angeles and I was really lucky to be a part of their Camp CHLA, where I got to go into the OR with Dr. Skaggs, my surgeon, and stand shoulder to shoulder with him and watch him perform the exact same surgery I had had the year before.

Dr. Chan: Wow. That must have been amazing.

Brett: It was incredible, yeah. After that we wandered around the OR and we'd pop into different surgeries, and they were super open about just letting us walk.

Dr. Chan: How long were you out for?

Brett: It was about a three-month recovery until I was normal. His standard is actually . . . he said he had people doing high impact sports within three to four months with a good PT routine.

Dr. Chan: Sounds risky.

Brett: Yeah. For me, I took it easy for three months and at six months I was able to get back on ski patrol and back up on the mountain.

Dr. Chan: Oh, that's awesome. That's amazing. So this is Los Angeles, are you from California?

Brett: Originally, yeah. I have been here since I've been 11 years old.

Dr. Chan: Okay, yeah. What brought you to Utah?

Brett: My parents came here on vacation twice and they said, "This place is really beautiful," and so we moved here.

Dr. Chan: We have a lot of Californians who move here.

Brett: Oh yeah. I tell people that being a kid in L.A. is amazing because my dad was a studio executive at one of the motion picture studios out there, so I had the season pass to Disneyland and Universal Studios.

Dr. Chan: Do you have a celebrity story?

Brett: My godfather is Kevin Costner.

Dr. Chan: Cool guy?

Brett: I haven't met him since I was much younger.

Dr. Chan: So the opposite of godfather.

Brett: Yes. He talks with my dad a lot. He came here filming "Yellowstone," his new TV series, and so I've been down here busy, but while he was up there he had dinner and lunch with my parents.

Dr. Chan: So "Field of Dreams," "The Untouchables," these are all classics in your household.

Brett: "Dances with Wolves," I've got the poster downstairs.

Dr. Chan: Oh sweet. That's awesome. All right. So you have this amazing surgery, you recovered, did well, you've shadowed Dr. Skaggs. That sounds like that was really the genesis of you deciding to be a doctor.

Brett: Absolutely. That happened concurrently with me starting on ski patrol and I think I had a really unique opportunity with that as well because . . .

Dr. Chan: Yeah, what's ski patrol? Let's talk about that.

Brett: Yeah, so I was 15 and I was a sophomore in high school, and actually the year before I had broken my knee and that was the first time I met the ski patrol, got to know some of the people. At the time, they still had their junior program, so at 15 I was able to start my training, get my outdoor emergency care certification and actually get hands on with patients from that young age. Then after that training I had the surgery, and then when I went back to ski patrol, I was a full-fledged jacketed patroller. I was actually the youngest jacketed patroller on the mountain that they had.

Dr. Chan: When you say "jacketed," what does that mean?

Brett: During your training years you go through and you kind of shadow patrollers, you do training regimens and learn how to handle toboggans and do assessments and all that. But once you're actually free to fly on your own, you're given your red jacket with the white cross on it and you're considered the jacketed patrol.

Dr. Chan: And is there a lot of good stuff in there?

Brett: Yeah, well, for me, I had a fanny pack.

Dr. Chan: Oh, so that's where the good stuff is.

Brett: Yeah. I've still got my med pack actually in my Jeep with me. I carry it at all times.

Dr. Chan: And where does the St. Bernard fit into this?

Brett: That was one of the best parts of ski patrol. Park City has one of the best avalanche dog teams in the world. They actually get shipped out to Sweden or Switzerland, and they train other avalanche dogs because they're so good. I used to be the bait. So I would give them my jacket and it would smell like me, and then they'd bury me in a hole in the snow and I'd wait 10, 15 minutes and I'd start hearing the paws scratching above me.

Dr. Chan: So you wouldn't cheat just because you don't want to be left in the snow and put some beef jerky on you so the dogs can really sniff you?

Brett: Well, we did have a toy, and the goal is to let the dog drag the person out. So when they finally break through, they grab the toy, you just hold on tight and let them pull you out of the hole.

Dr. Chan: But they're not necessarily St. Bernards, right?

Brett: No, no. Most of them were Labs.

Dr. Chan: The St. Bernard lobby has been very powerful in pushing that narrative, where there's this image of St. Bernards running around the mountains.

Brett: Barrel of whiskey.

Dr. Chan: Barrel of whiskey or, I don't know, maybe their jacket was right there. Beautiful. So you must have a lot of stories.

Brett: Yeah, yeah. This part might have to be edited out. I was just actually going to ask you if it's a HIPAA violation.

Dr. Chan: I wouldn't mention names, but you can be vague.

Brett: So the patient used to be Cosmo for BYU. So if I don't mention his name, is that enough identifying information to be . . .

Dr. Chan: Brett, now I have to check with legal. I don't know.

Brett: Do you want me to tell this story and if it works you can . . .

Dr. Chan: Just tell the story. I just love hearing stories.

Brett: It's a fun one because it has a happier ending. On ski patrol you're not used to actually seeing the accident happen. You usually just get a call, you get there, you figure out what's going on, try and get the narrative from bystanders and whatnot. But on this occasion, after I got my paramedic certification for my major at The U, they knew that I was a trauma junkie so they would put me at the stations where it was the most busy. So I would be at the Three Kings . . .

Dr. Chan: The wipeout, where people just crash all the time.

Brett: Exactly. Most of the time I was at the training park. Sometimes at the main lift.

Dr. Chan: Is it usually professional skiers that are crashing or is it newbies who don't know what they're doing?

Brett: Honestly, it's just luck of the draw. A lot of times someone just catches an edge and they're like, "I've been skiing for 60 years, I've never fallen and I just happened to catch this bad light or catch an edge over here or something like that." On this particular occasion I was riding back up the ski lift to get back to the patrol shack and I watched this kid go off of one of big jumps in the training park directly underneath the lift and he does a backflip and perfect rotation, except he overshoots the landing by about 35 feet. So you think about how high they are and how they need that angle to be able to just gradually get back down on the ground, he completely overshot that and just came straight down on the flat part.

So I called it in immediately and they ended up sending a rookie down there to treat him. So I get off the lift, I'm sprinting on skis to get there, and I pull up and immediately it's just a code red situation where you have someone who's not breathing with trismus, jaw locked shut, can't get an airway, severe head, C-spine and thoracic spine injuries.

Dr. Chan: So is that toboggan time or is that calling the helicopter?

Brett: So we called an air ambulance immediately, air med from The U. They are fantastic, my favorite guys. I always tell people that you have EMTs who are the basic life support. If they have an EMT ambulance, when things go bad they call the paramedics, the advanced life support. And then when things go bad for the paramedics then they call the super heroes and that's the life flight. I respect those guys so much. But we get them started heading our way and we start just trying to get an airway, trying to get them on a backboard package.

Dr. Chan: Ten minutes out? How long does it take them to get out there?

Brett: Typically, yeah, about that. They have a station, if you know where Kimball Junction is and then Clem's Junction, somewhere right in between those two. So yeah, to get the engine going and get them up in the air it's about 10 minutes, and that's about the time it took us to get him packaged, get him down to the bottom, all sorts of signs that I'd never seen in a patient before. Even though I've seen other massive trauma patients, he just had a lot of typical signs of certain things like battle signs and all these kinds of things I've never seen.

It was an interesting call, but the happy ending to the story is that we managed to stabilize him, we managed to get an airway, we managed to get him to life flight. We got him to the hospital and saved his life.

What I found out the next week, because I was on patrol every Saturday, so I came back the next week and it turns out that the kid who had been injured was actually Cosmo, the mascot at BYU. It turns out that about a year or two before this accident, I had been hanging out with him in the locker room at BYU the last time Utah was there playing.

Dr. Chen: Okay, because we haven't told people a cool fact about that. So let's talk about that. What is an interesting activity you did leading up to applying to medical school?

Brett: Well, I was a University of Utah cheerleader when I first started at The U and kind of my entr� into that was playing Swoop, the mascot for The U. So the summer while I was still finishing up high school and then before I started my freshman year I went to charity events in costume, I went to all sorts of 5Ks and whatnot. I even visited the Athletic Director's granddaughter at her elementary school for her birthday.

Dr. Chen: You'd do gigs.

Brett: Yeah, so it was a really, really awesome time.

Dr. Chen: How long did you do that for?

Brett: About a year, so my entire freshman year and then I ended up with rotator cuff injuries.

Dr. Chen: Was that from a mascot battle?

Brett: That was actually from baseball back in high school, combined with cheerleading, lifting the girls above your head. It was a little too much strain for the shoulder. But it was one of the most incredible experiences. I mean, I got my motorcycle license solely so I could ride that beautiful Harley Road King onto the field at the beginning of football games.

Dr. Chen: So what's it like to put on the costume? What do you call it, outfit? I mean, what's the proper term? I don't want to be derogatory.

Brett: Yeah, it would be a costume. In high school I was an actor so I was in the stage productions. Me and one of my best friends were the leads, our junior and senior year co-leads and it was really fun. So I was used to kind of getting into another character. In my senior year of high school I ended up talking with the school and realized that they had a mascot costume but no one was playing the mascot so I ended up just doing it for fun.

Dr. Chen: Where was this?

Brett: At Park City High School, Manny the Miner.

Dr. Chen: Okay. I was about to say I'm not familiar with theirs. So Manny the Miner.

Brett: Manny the Miner. So I ended up traveling with the cheerleaders to games. So because of that, they started inviting me to cheer practices where I'd be part of the dance routines and whatnot, and then they said, "Okay, you're stronger than we are so get into this stunt and start learning this type of cheerleading." So eventually I ended up being the first male cheerleader at Park City, and I recruited a friend of mine, Eric Alcox to be the other one with me there. Both of us auditioned at The U and made the cheer team here together. But it was my experience at Park City High School as the mascot that kind of got me the gig as Swoop here.

Dr. Chan: Was it enjoyable? Did you love it? Was it exhausting?

Brett: I would take the costume off and be five pounds lighter and just looking like I stepped out of a pool because I was so hot inside. The head weighs like 14 pounds, but completely worth it because one of my favorite memories was being at Raging Waters and it was me and Cosmo again. We ended up having a dance battle in front of all these kids and we were at Raging Waters. It was a Make-A-Wish Foundation and so entertaining them, getting to have these dance routines, take pictures with them and make them smile and laugh and all that, it was just really fulfilling. So it's nice to be able to have fun and also make people have a good time as well.

Dr. Chan: I assume little kids come up and take pictures with you, opposing fans might give you problems. You must have some stories.

Brett: I had people pull the tail. I had people grope me in weird places. Yeah, that stuff happened.

Dr. Chan: Did you have a minder?

Brett: Yeah, so . . .

Dr. Chan: You can't see what's going on at all times.

Brett: Decent visibility. Not great. What was nice was whenever it was crunch time, like at football games, you had to be at point A exactly 2 minutes and 13 seconds after you were at the place before that for these media spots and all that. So you'd have a handler who'd have a whole schedule in front of them and would drag you from A to B and make sure you were there.

But when you're just doing events and you're just wandering around taking pictures and making fun of people and messing around with them, that's when you kind of just roam on your own and pretend to be Swoop for awhile.

Dr. Chen: You must be the most highly photographed medical student in history because you probably have thousands, if not millions, of people who have pictures of you as Swoop.

Brett: Yeah. I actually have a giant cardboard cutout of me as Swoop for a Coke commercial that they did. So there was a time where I'd walk around any Smith in the Salt Lake Valley and I'd see, "Oh, that's me standing on top of those Coke boxes right there." It's just a really surreal experience.

Dr. Chan: Would you have like a national convention where everyone who kind of . . . tricks of the trade, tools of the trade kind of thing?

Brett: Kind of. We practiced at two gyms down in South Salt Lake. We'd split time between the two of them. We had a relationship with the owners there so we didn't have to pay. We could just go and practice and by doing that we'd meet cheerleaders from other states and whatnot and learn some of their techniques and practice with them.

Dr. Chan: And commiserate.

Brett: Yeah. And there was a select few group of cheerleaders who would go and either compete or just go to the Pac-12 conferences up in Seattle. I never went on that trip but from what I understand it's a really, really fun time.

Dr. Chan: Awesome. All right. So you're ski patrolling, you're Swooping. What else did you do that prepared you for medical school? What was going on in your life?

Brett: Well, my high school also offered an EMT class. It was another one of those where you get to learn hands-on skills. It's more just that emergency medicine that pushed me to where I am now. I was also lucky enough to have . . . my parents had several friends who are in the medical field, anesthesiologists, mostly Utah doctors, like Dr. Joe Morelli and Barbara Murosco who's at Miranda and a bunch of these people who I was able to get close to and Nassir Marrouche, the cardiologist over here who does some incredible research. His new microscope that he's getting a patent for is unbelievable. It's going to completely change the field of research. But I think just having people like that who are inspirational medical figures to say, "Okay, so you can be a doctor or you can be a doctor who's changing the field of medicine, who's actually pushing upwards against the boundaries."

Dr. Chan: You know, Brett, I'm not going to hold you to it, but today, if I had to ask you what kind of field you were going into, I get the sense, would it be emergency medicine or surgery or what would you say?

Brett: I think definitely surgery. Emergency medicine is my passion and I'd love to stay involved with that as a medical director or something like that as best I can, but I just don't know how sustainable it is as a lifestyle for me personally with the family life and whatnot that I want to have. So I'm leaning a little bit more towards . . . surgery is fascinating to me. Eighty-five percent of the reason I went to paramedic school was because I'm obsessed with the heart. So getting the advanced cardiac life support there. So cardiothoracic surgery, and then also spinal orthopedic surgery because of my background. I can make that work. I can do well in that field.

Dr. Chan: All right, so you're applying to med school and I have to ask you this question. You have an actor background, you have been Swoop, ridden a motorcycle in front of, I don't know, 70,000, 80,000 people.

Brett: Whatever it is in a full house.

Dr. Chan: Did that compare to the nerves, your anxiety leading up to your interview day? Is it completely separate, or were you cool and calm as ice?

Brett: You know, the stressful part was the gap between submitting my secondary and getting the interview invitation.

Dr. Chan: Really?

Brett: Once I found out I had the interview, I love interviews. Getting face to face, getting to make a connection with someone, getting to share stuff.

Dr. Chan: That's a strength. That's in your wheelhouse.

Brett: I love that. So as far as the interview itself went, not too nervous, but the thought process of, "Oh my god, am I going to get an interview, is this going to work out?" When it's your top school, you could be pretty heartbroken when you get the bad news. So I think that first one was stressful, but once I had the interview, I came out knowing that I did my best, I felt really comfortable with the questions. So at that point it was out of my hands, and I just did my best to push it back and away.

Dr. Chan: Do you have any tips for people before they interview? What do you do to calm . . .? You know what I'm saying? Before someone goes on stage, before someone runs into a stadium of full of 80,000, what are some techniques, what are some tips?

Brett: Take a deep breath. It's all about the deep breath.

Dr. Chan: The deep breath.

Brett: Yeah. Any time I'm on a scene in an emergency, whether that's opening the back of ambulance doors, whether that's getting on scene at ski patrol, whatever it is, if I ski up to a bad scene and there's lots of blood and carnage and it looks bad, before you take your skis off, you just inhale, hold it for a second, blow it all out, focus yourself, kind of prevent that tunnel vision a little bit, and then step into it. You've had enough training at that point that you know what you're doing.

It's the same thing when you're backstage. I used to get stage fright in the wings.

Dr. Chan: Performance anxiety.

Brett: Exactly, yeah. So I was offstage and I'd be like, "Okay, it's game time."

Dr. Chan: "It's going, it's going."

Brett: Yeah, and the second the curtain opens it's like, "All right, cool, it's game time. Let's do it. We are as best prepared as we can be, so do it."

Dr. Chan: That's awesome.

Brett: Yeah, it's amazing. I swear by the breath. I do it before anything. So before I go into the interview room, they'd ring the bell and I'd go, "All right, let's go," because that extra two, three, four seconds, that's not going to change anything.

Dr. Chan: That's awesome. So where were you when you learned you got in? Do you remember exactly what you were doing?

Brett: I do, and I have to apologize to you because I was at the Mirror Lake Cafe. I was getting brunch with my girlfriend there before we went out for a day of rock climbing in Uintas.

Dr. Chan: Okay, I know where that is.

Brett: Yeah, so right there, right at the base before you turn on . . . Amazing brunch. So we're there. Our food gets set down right in front of us, two seconds later my phone rings. And I get a lot of calls from telemarketers at really bad hours, and I'm grumpy, it's early, I haven't eaten yet, and so I answer the phone, I go, "Hello?" He goes, "Is this Brett?" I go, "Yeah." You go, "This is Dr. Chan with the University of Utah." I'm like, "Oh, Dr. Chan, hello. How are you?"

Dr. Chan: Yeah, I remember. It was a complete pivot in your tone.

Brett: Yeah, so I have to apologize for that.

Dr. Chan: It's okay, it's all good. I should post stories of people who answer the phone in interesting situations.

Brett: But I stepped outside, we had a conversation and I still remember when you said, "This is the point where the table turns and we are now trying to get you to come to us rather than you trying to get us to accept you." That was just having that point of clarity to be like, "Oh, wow, I'm going to be a doctor." And this was August 15th? October 15th?

Dr. Chan: Yeah, it was very early on, I remember.

Brett: So having that, my number one school in my back pocket, I'm like, "All right, cool. It's going to be a good year."

Dr. Chan: So did you hold it from your family, or did you surprise them?

Brett: No, I called my parents immediately because they were more stressed than I was about the whole process.

Dr. Chan: Really? Did you tell them to take deep breaths?

Brett: I did. I called my dad first and I said, "Dad, I'm going to be a doctor. It's going to happen now. It's no longer 'if', it's like, okay, we just have to get through four more years."

Dr. Chan: Well, you can tell your dad that Dr. Chan would love to have a little signed picture of Kevin Costner in his office.

Brett: I've got one hanging in my house, so we might be able to do that.

Dr. Chan: Oh, it's amazing. All right, so you're about to start soon. Are you feeling nervous, or are you feeling ready or you're worried? What emotions do you have right now?

Brett: The only thing that I'm trepidatious about is finding the rhythm again because I am a very schedule-based person. I like being able to have my routine, to be able to study at this allotted time and go to this class on this day every week. This past year I've had a little bit looser of a schedule because I've been doing an AmeriCorps Vista service mission at the Midvale Community Clinic with Dr. Samuelson. But then I've also been volunteering at the People's Health Clinic where my mom's the executive director up there, and I've been volunteering with several other organizations. I did a humanitarian service mission with The Hope Alliance to Guatemala. So all of that has been exhilarating and relieving and relaxing and amazing, but I am ready to get back to the grind.

Dr. Chan: Hit the books. Time to hit the books.

Brett: It's now finding the routine, but once I get it, I'm confident and excited for that.

Dr. Chan: Okay. Awesome. Let's talk about AmeriCorps Vista. What's that about and how'd you get into that?

Brett: Yeah, so AmeriCorps Vista is a program through the U.S. government. I got a government salary, and during the government shutdown I got a notice saying, "You will not be paid your salary." So I took a screenshot of that because it's kind of cool.

But the purpose of the organization is to increase the capacity of communities serving organizations. Because of my mom's relationship with the People's Health Clinic, I also knew a couple of the other directors like Jeanie Ashby at Maliheh and Mauricio Agramont at Midvale. Jeanie always has a ton of Vista at her clinic and I wanted to really make sure that I was someplace that needed me and where I could make a true impact. So that's why I ended up working at Dr. Samuelson's clinic with Mauricio Agramont at the Midvale Community Clinic.

It's a really different type of organization than almost any other kind of medicine that you'll see because they do a lot of good with very little. I think something like 95% of the patient population are Spanish-speaking. Even in the clinic most of the people have Spanish as a first language, which is an incredible experience because I speak Spanish, I work as a translator at some of these clinics and being able to only speak Spanish when I go there, to kind of engulf myself in that culture was a really interesting change of pace. It was a different perspective.

Dr. Chan: So would you be translating, interpreting? Would you be doing medical assisting or just everything?

Brett: The hands-on stuff like that I do at the People's Health Clinic where I volunteer. What I did for Midvale was at first volunteer recruitment and retention, so I was just organizing people or training them, getting them in the right spot and making sure that they were there when they needed to be and repeatedly. But then I saw a need because I was given the task of finding a new organizational system for their 5,500 paper patient files. So 5,500 patients with bundles of paper within them.

Dr. Chan: Some thick, some thin.

Brett: Exactly, and completely out of order. So me being a little lazy, I thought, okay, there's got to be a better way to do this than red tab, green tab, blue tab type of thing. So I started talking to some of the other clinics, and I realized that both Maliheh and the People's Health Clinic use Athena Health, their EHR. So even though that was a big mouthful for the next nine months, I have focused entirely on getting them an electronic health records system so that we can transfer over. And actually, tomorrow we're finally getting our internet upgraded. The second we plug in that cable, the system's all set up. I've done all the coding. We are ready to go. So it's very exciting.

Dr. Chan: Awesome. I wish to say that it'll probably go off without a snag, but my experience with IT, there might be little things.

Brett: We got quoted by Comcast that it would be two months until we were up and running and that was five months ago, so we're almost there. That's Comcastic. Amazing.

Dr. Chan: All right. Well, Brett, this has been fantastic. I guess last question. What would you say to someone who's thinking about applying or maybe in the middle of applying? What advice would you give them? What would you say to them?

Brett: There's someone who I know who I'm very good friends with who's working up at the People's Health Clinic and she's applying right now and this is her number one school like it was mine. So for her, I've been talking to her about her MCAT and about her secondaries and how to submit all these things and looking at her essay and all that. So seeing that process from the outside once the stress is gone, you can kind of more logically point at things and say, "You can do this better," and, "Oh, in this whole process I wish that I had done this better, so maybe you should do that."

So I think that first and foremost it's good to talk with people about the stories that you're going to include whenever you have to do essays. So I get my secondaries back, and I'd spend a week just talking with my parents, talking with my friends, figuring out, okay, what is the most interesting thing that I can answer this with? How can I tell them I've had experience in this field and I'm qualified because I have experience in this field, and here's how it can relate to that question? So I think finding those stories, finding your strengths and identifying those in those essays is the hardest part, but by far the most important part because that's where you get to tell your story, tell the admissions committee who you are.

Dr. Chan: So use your loved ones kind of as a sounding board.

Brett: Yeah, yeah.

Dr. Chan: Perfect. Well, Brett, I'm excited for you. This is amazing. I can't wait to see. I think at this moment you have this image, idea of medical school.

Brett: Yeah.

Dr. Chan: But it's hard because you're not in medical school.

Brett: I've got to get feet first in and then I'll be . . .

Dr. Chan: I want you to come back and we're going to share stories because I want to hear how it goes and how you progress as you become closer to your dream of becoming a surgeon or an ER doctor or a cardiologist or whatever path you choose.

Brett: I'd be very happy to come back, absolutely.

Dr. Chan: Well, thank you so much, Brett.

Announcer: Thanks for listening to "Talking Admissions and Med Student Life" with Dr. Benjamin Chan, the ultimate resource to help you on your journey to and through medical school, a production of The Scope Health Sciences Radio, online at