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Episode 116 – Will, The Road Less Traveled

Jan 23, 2019

“I started studying for the MCAT and kept coming to the fact of why am I doing this?” Will was on the path to medical school, studying for the MCAT and volunteering, when he realized it wasn’t the path he wanted to take. He talks about how this realization came to be and what the shift towards pursuing dentistry instead was like. We discuss the differences in the MCAT and DAT, and finally, the similarities between applying to medical school and dental school.

Episode Transcript

Dr. Chan: What happens when you're studying for the MCAT and you realize you don't actually want to be a doctor? How do you shift from pursuing medical school to dental school? What are the differences between the MCAT and the DAT? How is the process applying to dental school similar to that of applying to medical school?

Today, on "Talking Admissions and Med Student Life," I interview Will, future dentist and soon-to-be graduate of the University of Utah.

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, we have a very special podcast today. We've got Will. Hello, Will. How are you doing?

Will: How's it going, Dr. Chan?

Dr. Chan: Good. So I'm going to call this podcast "The Road Less Traveled." You know, when I talk to a lot of people, they're in med school, they're physicians, kind of talk about their journey. But your journey is different, and there was like a fork in the road. Would you say that?

Will: Yeah, totally.

Dr. Chan: Or a spoon or a knife or . . .

Will: Yeah, some dividing line.

Dr. Chan: Okay. So let's go back to the beginning. When did you think first about going to med school or being involved in health care? When did that start?

Will: So, after high school, I got a job working as transportation for a skilled nursing facility in Holladay, Utah.

Dr. Chan: So you grew up in Salt Lake?

Will: Yeah. So I grew up in Salt Lake. And then I really enjoyed that. I always worked with a lot of nurses, lot of physical therapists, and stuff like that, and got to see a lot of the different hospital facilities around because it was my job, transport patients who had gotten new hips, new knees, around the Valley to their respective appointments.

Dr. Chan: Okay. So you enjoyed helping others, making a difference?

Will: Yeah, so I . . .

Dr. Chan: You said during high school?

Will: So this was just after I graduated.

Dr. Chan: Oh, after you graduated, okay.

Will: So I decided to not go straight into college. I decided to work, get some money. And during that time, I got to see what nurses did, what PTs did, I interacted with a lot of variety of doctors, and even PAs. And so, that was kind of cool and that's when I started to say, "You know what? Maybe it would be kind of a cool route to go, is maybe the doctors."

Dr. Chan: Okay, medicine. And where did you go to undergrad?

Will: So I attended here at the U. I did a semester at the Salt Lake Community College just to get a few credits under my belt and get on up here.

Dr. Chan: And then, while you were in undergrad, same thing? Were you like shadowing docs and doing community service? What kind of stuff were you doing outside of classes?

Will: So I had a friend that . . . I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to study, and so when I first got to the U, I started studying engineering because he was like, "Hey, you can do this for a few years. It's kind of cool and you can transfer it to anything else." And so I was like, "All right. That sounds like a good idea," and realized I really didn't like engineering and I couldn't handle doing my entire undergrad . . .

Dr. Chan: It's intense, yeah.

Will: Yeah, and it was interesting stuff, but it was really when I got to . . . it was like a material science class, and it was super science heavy and I was like . . .

Dr. Chan: Just blew you out of the water, yeah.

Will: Well, I was just like, "I miss this stuff. I don't really like the math. And you know what? If I'm going to be paying for this, I might as well enjoy some of it." So that's when I decided, "Okay, I'll find a new major and I'll focus on these pre-reqs and get these out of the way." Because with engineering, it was like you do all your pre-reqs at the end because you just don't have time, so . . .

Dr. Chan: So, when you say pre-reqs, you're talking about pre-reqs for engineering or medical school?

Will: Medical school. Just because there are so many required classes for the degree in engineering, they just say, "Just do your pre-reqs at the end because you don't have time."

Dr. Chan: Did you love the pre-reqs? I mean, did you love the biology, the chemistry?

Will: I really did. So, after that material science class, I had done some chemistry, and I hadn't done any biology yet, but once I got back into it, it was like, "Okay, this feels right. This is . . ."

Dr. Chan: This is your wheelhouse, yeah.

Will: Yeah. So I really enjoyed that and it was fun. I enjoyed the pre-reqs. I mean, there were some that, no matter how hard I tried, I just got a B.

Dr. Chan: Yeah. They're intense classes. They're very competitive.

Will: But it was good. I enjoyed it.

Dr. Chan: So this entire time, medical school, medical school, medical school, what kind of stuff were you doing in the community? I mean, what kind of activities?

Will: So I worked with a group that kind of focused on a lot of refugees that were coming from, like, Nepal and Congo and all over the place.

Dr. Chan: Is this is the [inaudible 00:04:49] clinic?

Will: Yeah, so . . .

Dr. Chan: Am I saying that right?

Will: Yeah. [Inaudible 00:04:53], I think it's . . .

Dr. Chan: You're probably closer than I am. I apologize to [inaudible 00:04:59] if she's listening to this out there.

Will: But I worked with the . . . it was called Get in the Hood, so it was kind of like the mirror to the academics, so we did a lot of the fun stuff, like teaching the kids about the American holidays, like 4th of July, Mother's Day. And so, one of my favorite ones was we'd go do Soap for Santa, and we'd have a yearly auction where people would come buy stuff and we'd use that money to buy presents for some of the families in need.

Dr. Chan: Cool.

Will: And then I also worked a lot with the HELP program up in the hospital, so . . .

Dr. Chan: That's Elder Life?

Will: Yeah, so the Hospital . . .

Together: . . . Elder Life Program.

Will: So they focus a lot on delirium prevention in the hospital because that's kind of a big factor in . . .

Dr. Chan: How do you prevent delirium in the hospital?

Will: So it's mostly . . .

Dr. Chan: What's the magic? What are the secret tricks?

Will: Just engaging people mentally. So, in the hospital, you're sitting around a lot of the time, and a lot of the geriatric population doesn't quite have as many people around to come visit them. And so we would go and do interventions with them, which a lot of it was body movement. So just get the blood flowing and there's a lot of good with that.

Dr. Chan: Cool. So, I mean, during this entire time, it sounds like . . . I mean, there would be sometimes probably physicians in the room. Were you shadowing doctors kind of during this time?

Will: Yeah. So I shadowed like the house doctor for that . . .

Dr. Chan: Like, "House M.D." and the TV show?

Will: Yeah, the . . . No, no. It was like the physician that was over the skilled nursing facility. I got in touch with him, shadowed him a few times, and I didn't love it. And so I was like, "Okay, maybe this isn't the right specialty," because he was more in geriatrics. So he got me in contact with a couple of surgeons. He's like, "Maybe you'll like this more," and he was all . . . whenever I shadowed him, he was always trying to convince me to do something else.

Dr. Chan: Oh, boy. One of those, huh?

Will: Yeah, so it was like . . .

Dr. Chan: What were the reasons? What would he tell you?

Will: He's like, "Oh, there's too much debt. There's no autonomy anymore as a physician. The insurance companies say, 'Jump,' and you have to say, 'How high?'"

Dr. Chan: There are definitely nuggets of truth to that.

Will: Yeah. And so, he was kind of a guy that just . . . I could kind of tell he wasn't happy with where he was, so I was like, "I don't think I can shadow you anymore."

Dr. Chan: It's too much of a negative experience, yeah.

Will: Yeah, and I was like . . .

Dr. Chan: "I'm trying to build my dreams, man. You're dragging me down."

Will: Yeah, I'm trying to find what I like and you're just pointing out all the negatives. So shadowed some surgeons up at the U, and I thought that was really neat, and it was kind of fun.

Dr. Chan: Like general surgeons or brain surgery? What kind of . . . Orthopedics or . . .

Will: I did plastics up at the Huntsman, so it was pretty interesting to see.

Dr. Chan: Okay. So we're talking reconstruction?

Will: Yeah, so they worked with a lot of the breast cancer, and some were hand specialists, so hand injuries, and that was . . . I really liked the hand stuff. That was interesting to me.

And their advice was shadow as many people as you can, so I was like, "Well, surgery is kind of cool. Not sure if plastics is what I really want to do." And so I looked to orthopedics and unfortunately, I didn't know any orthopedics, so I thought, "Well, I still need to get some research under my belt, and we have an orthopedic research lab." And so I contacted a few of the professors in there and see if they needed any help and . . .

Dr. Chan: So a lot of cold calling.

Will: Yeah, just shooting emails out and looking through research papers of what professors were doing, see if there was anything that would really interest me.

Dr. Chan: That's a good idea.

Will: I didn't want to do something that I just had zero interest in. And so I got into contact with one and unfortunately, he didn't have any need, but he knew another guy that needed somebody and . . .

Dr. Chan: Called the network. Networking, yeah.

Will: So ended up working for that guy for two years with one of his projects, and I think they're just wrapping it up.

Dr. Chan: Wow. So, okay, so this entire time, Will, medicine, medicine, medicine. And then what year did you graduate?

Will: So I graduate . . . I am not yet graduated.

Dr. Chan: You're not yet a graduate. Okay. All right.

Will: Yeah. So switching majors kind of like pulled . . .

Dr. Chan: Ate some credit, huh?

Will: Yeah, pulled the graduated . . .

Dr. Chan: I secretly think undergrads are really disappointed with that, but they love it too because you're going to be in school a little longer, but eventually, they want everyone will graduate. It's like, "Oh, yeah."

Will: So, yeah, it will be about, I think, five years when I graduate for my . . . the length.

Dr. Chan: Did you ever take MCAT?

Will: I didn't. I started studying for it.

Dr. Chan: Okay. So this comes up to the big decision. So there came a time when you decided to pivot. Walk us through that. How did you come to this decision?

Will: So I was studying for the MCAT and I had shadowed a bunch of doctors and something just . . . I was like, "Okay, well, I don't know what I quite want to do yet, but that's okay. I can kind of figure it out as I get more experience in med school." Started studying and I just kept coming to the fact of like, "Why am I doing this?" You know, the MCAT is very rigorous.

Dr. Chan: It's stressful.

Will: It's super stressful. My wife was hating me at the time because I was practically 24/7 head in the books, you know?

Dr. Chan: Yeah, all these review books.

Will: All these review books. I had a tutor, I was meeting with my tutor, just doing everything I could to get a good score because it's so . . .

Dr. Chan: It's important.

Will: It's so important and it's a hard test.

Dr. Chan: It's a long test. It's, like 8, 9, 10 hours?

Will: Yeah, I think it's now . . .

Dr. Chan: With little breaks.

Will: I think it's seven and a half to eight.

Dr. Chan: Seven and a half? But it feels like 10, yes.

Will: Yeah. But I was studying. I had taken a couple of practice tests and I was doing okay. I was improving. And then one day, I was trying to find somebody that I could shadow for pediatric experience because I liked working with kids, and a family friend of ours who's a pediatric dentist was like, "Well, just come shadow me. I'm a doctor of dental surgery, you know, and I work with kids. The medical schools won't care. It might help you out." So I was like, "All right. I'll go shadow you, you know, see how working with kids is," and I loved it.

I was so surprised. I usually would tell my wife about how the shadowing went. I was just taken away, like had no words, and she's like, "Did you like it?" and I was like, "It clicked for me." Before, all the other shadowing hadn't really clicked. And so I was like, "I think I need to re-evaluate what I'm doing."

Dr. Chan: So it was that one shadowing experience?

Will: It was the . . . yeah.

Dr. Chan: And is this like normal checkups, or are these kids that got their teeth knocked out and they needed more surgery? How would you describe it?

Will: So a lot of it was just like general dentistry, so your typical fillings, crowns, and some of it was emergency that I saw, and that was pretty interesting. And then, some of it was like putting expanders in for the kids, just like pretty simple orthodontic things that they could do to help the mouth stay healthy until they could go to an orthodontist. And I just loved it. I thought it was very interesting and . . .

Dr. Chan: So I take my kids to the dentist. We go to this pediatric dentist. It's literally, and this is going to show how old I am, it's like Chuck E. Cheese in there, because they've got like TVs on the ceiling, and it's like a circus theme and a jungle theme. And they've got these little tokens. If you're good, you get the little thing from the . . . I was just like, "Wow, I do not remember my dentist doing this as a child." I didn't like the dentist as a kid, and it just seems a lot more fun now. There's a lot more stuff. Would you agree with that?

Will: Yeah. So a lot of the pediatric dentists, they look at making the whole dental experience a lot easier for kids, because a lot of people say, "Oh, I hate the dentist," and it usually stems from having a bad experience when they were a kid.

Dr. Chan: How can you hate the dentist now when you can stare up at the ceiling and watch Disney movies while getting teeth worked on and get a little . . .

Will: Yeah, and then get like a little prize at the end.

Dr. Chan: Yeah, get a prize at the end, which everyone seems to get. Everyone seems to be good. Oh, wow. So that one experience?

Will: Yeah, it really kind of just shook my world a little bit and I was like, "You know what? I really need to re-evaluate this because I hate studying for the MCAT. I need to figure out if I really want this." I didn't want to end up two years into medical school and say, "I don't want to be a doctor." That was my biggest fear.

And so I got in contact, talked to that pediatric dentist, got some people in his network that would let me go shadow them. And the more I just shadowed general dentists, all these specialties, orthodontics, endodontics, I just was like, "This is very interesting. I really like this."

Dr. Chan: You found your people. It's like a culture. You like the work, but also the people you're with.

Will: Yeah. So I kind of fell in love with it because you get the opportunity to help patients, build long relationships with them. I'm a very hands-on kind of guy, and I love to draw. I love to do stuff with my hands, and just seeing how they can do so much with their hands . . . You know, if you want to do surgery, there's still the option to do surgery. If you want to work with kids, you can still work with kids. If you want to work with older population, special needs, whatever, the opportunities that you have in dentistry are very similar to medicine.

Dr. Chan: Yeah. How did your family take it when you kind of told them?

Will: They were very supportive. My wife was like, "Sure. If this is really what you want to do, I'm with you 100%."

Dr. Chan: That's nice.

Will: And so she's like, "Just make sure it's what you want." And that's why I did shadowing and, you know, looked at . . . Luckily, the pre-reqs are all pretty much the same.

Dr. Chan: Yeah, it's pretty similar.

Will: It's very much the same and I loved it. It was great, and it just kind of . . .

Dr. Chan: You just felt better about it?

Will: Yeah, I felt better about it, and I shadowed that pediatric dentist more and more, and one day, he was like, "What are you doing this summer?" And I was like, "My research is almost done, so I don't really have any plans." He's like, "Well, I need an extra pair of hands in my office. Do you want to come work with me in the . . ."

Dr. Chan: For free?

Will: Not for free. He was . . .

Dr. Chan: "I love you Dr. Chan, but not that much." Yeah.

Will: Yeah. No, he was generous enough to say, "I can employ you."

Dr. Chan: Cool.

Will: So that's what I do right now is I just clean kids' teeth.

Dr. Chan: Okay. Awesome. And then how . . . it's the DAP, right?

Will: The DAT.

Dr. Chan: DAT.

Will: Yeah, Dental Admissions.

Dr. Chan: I apologize to all my dental colleagues out there. So it's the DAT?

Will: Yes.

Dr. Chan: Let's talk about the DAT. How long is it? What are the sections? Was it similar to kind of pivot?

Will: It's very similar to the MCAT. You have a science section, and then you have a reading section. There's a dedicated math section that you don't have on the MCAT. And then there's a Perceptual Ability Test on the DAT.

Dr. Chan: Oh, interesting.

Will: Yeah, so that's pretty much . . . I liken it to a bunch of visual puzzles and stuff like that to where you really have to kind of understand a 3D space.

Dr. Chan: So they're already kind of screening or testing for surgical skills or visual-spatial skills like you said at the very beginning?

Will: Yeah.

Dr. Chan: That's very fascinating. Can you study for something like that? I guess there are review books.

Will: Yeah. I pretty much just got a bunch of practice problems and went through those because I feel like after you kind of figure out . . . For me, it was pretty easy. I think drawing and kind of the engineering background really helped me, so it wasn't a huge difficulty for me to get a high score on that test area, which I'm thankful for.

Dr. Chan: So it's just as long as MCAT?

Will: It's not. It's four and a half hours.

Dr. Chan: Oh, wow, sweet. So you got three hours back in your life?

Will: Yeah, so I took all the practice tests and I was like, "Well, I'm done. It's only noon. All right."

Dr. Chan: Yeah, when you go from like 95 miles to 65, it's like a big . . . Yeah.

Will: But no, it was great. The science section, it's not . . . The MCAT's a whole bunch of reading. There are a lot of passages and a lot of questions that come from the passage, and there aren't very many what are called standalone questions. The DAT itself is a lot of standalones. And then the reading section is more like the MCAT, where you read a passage and you answer questions based upon the passage.

But I felt like it was nice to have the background of the MCAT to help me with the DAT because there were a lot of aspects that I struggled with on the MCAT that I felt like were resolved when I started studying for the DAT.

Dr. Chan: You, in many ways, found your home.

Will: Yeah. So I felt like not having to worry about, "Am I going to hate this in two years?" That whole worry itself kind of released, I felt like, my mind, to actually study and do well.

Dr. Chan: You took the blue pill. You felt released. It's beautiful. All right. So, again, you're going to teach me, Will, because I know some things, but I don't know a lot of things. So dental school is four years long.

Will: Yep.

Dr. Chan: And you can do fellowships.

Will: Yeah, so there are residences.

Dr. Chan: Residencies, okay.

Will: And it's very similar to what you do for medical school. There's a Match Day.

Dr. Chan: Do you know the names of some of the different residency programs? I know orthodontics is big.

Will: Yeah, so there's orthodontics. You've got periodontics, endodontics. You have oral/maxillary surgery, so that's like your plastic surgeon. And a lot of those programs now require you to do . . . a lot of them are tied to a medical school and so you actually do part of . . . like, two years of the medical school and then four years of a surgical residency.

Dr. Chan: It's very interesting to me the way health care has evolved in our country. You know, M.D.s, the physicians, they take care of all of the body, except for this, the mouth.

And I remember as an intern . . . I was an intern at George Washington Hospital, downtown D.C., and there was a fair amount of people that would come in the ER with really bad tooth pain, and we couldn't do anything about it. I don't know, they may have changed over the years, but we didn't really have a dentist on call. So if you go in the . . . and I think it's pretty true today. I think there are some programs that are trying to build that within their program, but if you have . . .

It's like, "Oh, we'll take care of all the rest of the body, but you have an abscess behind your tooth? I'm sorry. That's a dental issue." And, you know, it's just weird to me how . . . Again, it's a kind of fork in the road. It's like these two programs have really evolved and grown with time.

Will: It's very interesting because we get emergency patients that come in that had gone to the emergency the room the night before, and if there was a on-call dentist, it's usually a resident or a dental student, and they pretty much put a Band-Aid on it and say, "Go see your dentist tomorrow. Here's a . . ."

Dr. Chan: It's like there's no true dental emergency.

Will: Yeah, it's like, "Here's a prescription for some antibiotics to help cool off your infection, but you've got to go get this fixed by somebody else in the community."

Dr. Chan: I must say, again, just to kind of . . . there are a lot of dentists in Salt Lake, I've noticed.

Will: Yes.

Dr. Chan: Just to kind of rave about this, I love my dentist. And I remember growing up . . . I remember in the 2000s, so I wasn't a kid back then, but in the 2000s, back in my 20s, when I'd go to the dentist, they'd have a TV in the corner of the room and that was like a huge deal. But now, they have like . . . you know, it's awesome. They can bring the screens three inches from your head. You have Netflix, and then when they take the X-rays, they can project it there, and, "Oh, you see you have a cavity here." You're like, "It just looks like a bunch of splotches, but sure, Doc, whatever." So it's weird how it's kind of evolved, and now you wear the glasses and put in the little . . .

Will: Headphones.

Dr. Chan: . . . headphones, and just watch whatever you want to watch on Netflix, and they just go to town on your teeth, and it's very interesting. It's very different.

Will: I feel like dentistry is more . . . it just seems kind of like a . . . it seems like a more positive environment for me. That's what kind of drew me to it where it's you're going up for a routine check-up to make sure you're not going to, one day, have an abscess and have a crazy toothache at 2:00 in the morning. And just being able to help patients in that way, that's what really kind of pulled me towards it after shadowing and being able to identify that and seeing how much different it is.

When you're working with a family practice physician, there's no TV hanging from the ceiling and no headphones while they're checking your temperature, you know, because you've got to communicate what's going on. So it's an interesting contrast, for sure. Dr. Chan: All right. So, if I asked you today . . . I'm not going to hold you to it. Will, what residency would you choose?

Will: Working with kids is super fun. I've really enjoyed that and . . .

Dr. Chan: So is that an extra year pediatric or . . .

Will: So it's a two-year program.

Dr. Chan: Two-year program, okay.

Will: Most of them are from what I've understood. And so I think working with kids is a lot of fun. I think it's a super awesome position to be in where you can help kind of build that foundation of lifelong oral health, and help the kids that really are nervous and have a hard time at the dental office. And even the special needs kids that really need help, I really enjoy that part of the pediatrics.

Dr. Chan: That's awesome. All right. So let's talk details. So you start applying to schools. How many dental schools did you apply to?

Will: So I applied to 17.

Dr. Chan: Is that considered a lot?

Will: From what I've heard, it's pretty average right now.

Dr. Chan: That's kind of like the sweet spot?

Will: Yeah.

Dr. Chan: Have you started getting interview offers?

Will: Yes. So it's very similar to the same track of medical school. You apply. The application opens up. You have about a month to work on it. That was back in May. And then in June, you can start submitting to schools. And then a lot of schools have secondary applications and you submit those, and then you just start hearing back from schools that like you and invite you to come out and interview with them.

Dr. Chan: So how many interview offers have you gotten?

Will: Gratefully, I've gotten five so far.

Dr. Chan: Okay. Cool. Even here at our own dental school?

Will: Yeah.

Dr. Chan: Okay, good, because I can send them an email, which won't mean anything to them because every admissions process is fully independent and autonomous.

Will: Yeah.

Dr. Chan: All right. So you go and interview. What's the interviewing experience like?

Will: So it just varies from school to school from what I found. It usually consists of a tour, give you an understanding of the financial aid process because graduate school is expensive.

Dr. Chan: It is very expensive.

Will: So being able to understand how the loans work is kind of important, and knowing what you're going to be paying for. Then they usually tour you around their facilities. So usually walking through the clinic, walk through some of the classrooms, get to talk to students, have lunch with them, have an interview.

Dr. Chan: Have you heard back from any school?

Will: No. So dental schools, they all agree that they won't start sending out acceptances until the first business day in December.

Dr. Chan: Oh, okay.

Will: And so I think it's December 3 this year.

Dr. Chan: So they like to keep that anxiety building throughout Thanksgiving dinner.

Will: Yeah.

Dr. Chan: And then they just release the information. Interesting. Do you want to stick around here or . . .

Will: I think it'd be great to stay in Utah for another four years. But, I mean, I'm willing to go and venture outside another state, so . . .

Dr. Chan: Do you feel . . . I just have a lot of crazy questions.

Will: No, go for it.

Dr. Chan: That's what I do. So do you feel, on an interview, are they kind of checking out your mouth going . . .

Will: I don't know. Not . . .

Dr. Chan: . . . "Are you a good brusher, Will? Here's some floss. We want to see your technique."

Will: Yeah, "Can you teach it?" No.

Dr. Chan: I guess that'll be kind of the kiss of death if you've got a big old lima bean just right there in your tooth.

Will: Actually, it's pretty interesting because I feel like Utah oral health is pretty good compared to some other states, which is really interesting because we're quite saturated with dentists, so it's like people are pretty healthy here.

Dr. Chan: Well, this is a hot topic, but that segues into fluoridation in the water, right?

Will: Yeah.

Dr. Chan: And it's very controversial. Well, is it still controversial? Teach me, Will. Is it controversial?

Will: So a lot of people, that concern still comes up, the fluoride. I haven't looked quite at the concerns, but I know it's been pretty debunked.

Dr. Chan: Yeah. Well, you're going into the profession, so you should be very pro-fluoride.

Will: Yeah. So fluoride's like the only thing that can re-strengthen your teeth, and it's very important because acid kind of takes away your enamel and you need fluoride can help rebuild that calcium.

Dr. Chan: I drink too much soda and my dentist knows it, so every time I go in there, he's like, "You're still drinking soda." Like, "Yeah, I'm sorry. I know. It's bad." It's like the worst thing you can do to your teeth, right?

Will: Just chase it with some water after you're done drinking.

Dr. Chan: It's so bad. It's so good. It's very addictive.

Will: I mean, especially if you've got like a little bit of caffeine to kind of help pick you up in the afternoon.

Dr. Chan: Will, this is great. All right. Last question. To all those listening out there who might be struggling . . . you know, maybe they were kind of in your camp. They don't love medicine or they're kind of maybe thinking about another health science or maybe even dental school. What advice would you give them? What would you say to them?

Will: I would say, for me, what really helped was I took a step back and really evaluated what I wanted. From what I had seen, if you haven't seen enough of the medical field, do that. Look at everything. Don't just look at the M.D.s. Look at the PAs, look at the nurses, look at the PTs, look at the pharmacists, you know, and really evaluate. Take an honest eye, you know?

I feel like a lot of prestige is carried with the M.D. "I've got to be a physician. Got to be number one." And I think at the end of the day, it's really what do you enjoy and what makes you happy? Having an M.D. at the end of your name might not make you happy when everything's said and done.

Dr. Chan: It's very true.

Will: So I would say shadow, take self-inventory, look at what you like, what you don't like, and apply that to what you think you want to do. Yeah, there's not going to be a perfect job out there, there's going to be things that you hate, things that you don't like, but if the pros outweigh the cons, you've got a good fit.

Dr. Chan: Awesome.

Will: So, I would say do that.

Dr. Chan: Awesome. Well, Will, I'm really excited for you because I just know that you're going to take care of either my teeth or my kids' teeth in a few years. And I think you'll probably have some awesome set up where you'll make it fun and exciting for kids.

Will: Maybe do some virtual reality stuff.

Dr. Chan: Oh, while I still have you. Oh, virtual . . . I love that. Halloween is around the corner. As a future dentist, is this the worst holiday because just of all the poor candy and people gnashing on it? What's your advice? Throw it away, parents? Eat it, parents?

Will: I'd say . . . I don't know. I think that's like more about the parents, but I would say if you're going to have some candy, have it with a meal so it's not stuck to the teeth for hours and hours on end.

Dr. Chan: Do you know what Boo at the Zoo is?

Will: Boo at the Zoo?

Dr. Chan: Yeah, Hogle Zoo. So they do this event, where it's like the Saturday before Halloween. It opens up early, like 8:00 or 9:00, and they have all these different booths, "boo"ths, however you say it. It's throughout the park where they give out little candy and the kids get to wear their costume, and they just run around and look at the animals.

I mean, it's great advertising for the zoo. It's really fun for the parents, because, you know, when you go trick or treating late at night, it's a little bit stressful as a parent and, you know, people are tripping here and there. And the past few years when I've gone, there's been this one enterprising pediatric dentist who sets up shop, you know, and he passes out his card and . . .

Will: And toothbrushes.

Dr. Chan: Yeah, toothbrushes. And it's like, "Oh, this is great. Great marketing. Great idea."

All right. I learned something.

Will: Well, I hope I helped out some people that are feeling like they're on the fence and give them a little bit of information of what my journey was like and . . .

Dr. Chan: Cool. We'll have to have you come back and kind of hear what dental school is like. I sort of know, but we used to have . . . the dental school used to be more part of the medical school where they would take anatomy together and some classes, but since they have their own building and now their own school or college, it's more separate. And they have that nice building in Research Park, which is very nice.

Will: Yeah, I'd love to come back, tell you about it.

Dr. Chan: Cool. Well, thanks, Will.

Will: Yeah, thank you.

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