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Episode 126 – Keti, fourth year medical student at University of Utah School of Medicine

Jun 12, 2019

"I really like puzzles. I felt like internal medicine had puzzles and mysteries, but I think Neuro has more." Keti has known she wanted to be a doctor since kindergarten. Having a mom in medicine and a passion for science only solidified her direction. It wasn't until her third year that Keti found herself having to choose between the love of internal medicine and neurology. We discuss the struggle of choosing between two passions, the transition from undergrad to medical school, study habits, third year rotations, and finally, the strategy behind choosing a residency program.

Episode Transcript

Dr. Chan: What's it like to know your career path since kindergarten? How does having a mom in medicine influence a young girl? What's it like to move to the United States from the Republic of Georgia? How do you choose between two specialties you love? Today on "Talking Admissions and Med Student Life," I interview Keti, a fourth-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: Welcome to another edition of "Talking Admissions and Med Student Life." I have a fantastic fourth-year student today, Keti. Am I saying your name right?

Keti: You are.

Dr. Chan: Keti. It's short for something though.

Keti: It is. It's Ketevan.

Dr. Chan: Okay.

Keti: Amirkhanashvili. So super long.

Dr. Chan: Very beautiful, though.

Keti: Thank you.

Dr. Chan: A wonderful name. But everyone calls you Keti, right?

Keti: Yep.

Dr. Chan: Does anyone call you Ketevan?

Keti: Only if they're mad at me.

Dr. Chan: So that's family members. All right. So let's go back to the beginning. Why did you decide to be a doctor? When did that dream or idea enter into your mind?

Keti: Probably in kindergarten.

Dr. Chan: Cool. What was going on in kindergarten?

Keti: I don't know. I was born in the Republic of Georgia. And I moved to the U.S. when I was like 6. So, I think, my mom was a doctor in the Soviet Union. But after the Soviet had collapsed, things went a little haywire. She wasn't really practicing medicine. She was, you know, focusing on family, raising us. And I just remember, you know, everyone wants to be a doctor, or I remember a lot of the guys in my kindergarten class wanted to be a cop.

Dr. Chan: So this is back in the Republic of Georgia or this was here in the U.S.?

Keti: This is the Republic of Georgia.

Dr. Chan: Okay. Go ahead.

Keti: So I just remember, you know, your parents like talking about their careers and what they loved. And my mom really liked being a doctor, and it sounded cool. So it always kind of stuck with me. I was always really curious as a kid and I like developed a love for the sciences. And that transcended into, you know, wanting to pursue medicine.

Dr. Chan: What kind of doctor was your mom?

Keti: Internal medicine.

Dr. Chan: Okay. And so did you visit her at the hospital back in the Republic of Georgia, or did she have a clinic, or how was that setup?

Keti: No. So this is actually pretty funny. I didn't even think much of it. It was more like she loved. So when we moved to the U.S., you know, and I started school here, I'd come home. And I would talk about the cool things we learned in like biology class or in my sciences. So we would just talk about that. And she started teaching anatomy here at Salt Lake Community College. And so like I'd go through her anatomy books and we would just talk about that stuff. So I think that's where it came up.

But the funny thing is, she, you know, had a stethoscope. So when we were sick, she would like listen to our lungs and like do a physical exam. And I didn't think much of it. And I was like, "Oh, this is just something like foreign people do." And then I remember in CMC, which is like the clinical part of medical school, like where you learn all the physical exam skills. I remember learning, you know, the long exam and being like, "Oh, my mom does this." And when I was a kid, she would do this when I was sick and I had a cough.

Dr. Chan: Oh. Like the percussion, palpation?

Keti: Yeah, the percussion, palpation, all that.

Dr. Chan: Auscultation, yeah.

Keti: And then my friend was like, "Oh, was your mom a doctor?" And that's like the first time it hit me. I was like, "Oh, yeah, that's why she did that. Not because she's, you know, from the Soviet Union."

Dr. Chan: How was that transition from the Republic of Georgia to the U.S.? I mean, do you remember that? I mean, did your mom come in and tell you one day, "Hey, we're moving," or . . .

Keti: Yeah. Yeah. I remember being concerned because my favorite TV show in Georgia, I was like, "Oh, will that still exist?" and like, "Will my favorite candy still . . . " you know? When you're 5 and you're like those are your priorities, and they'd be like, "Oh, America's better." And you hear about it on TV as a kid. You hear about the U.S. and you hear about like the land of opportunities.

Dr. Chan: Streets paved with gold.

Keti: Yeah.

Dr. Chan: And McDonald's everywhere.

Keti: Oh, yeah. Oh, my gosh, actually, the funny thing about that is, I remember coming here and trying french fries. It was probably from like some gas station. And being so disappointed.

Dr. Chan: But the french fries was actually better back in the Republic of Georgia?

Keti: Yep, exactly. I was like, "What is this?"

Dr. Chan: So did you go from the Republic of Georgia straight to Utah, or did you have a stop in between?

Keti: I mean, we flew into like San Francisco.

Dr. Chan: Okay.

Keti: But then we came here.

Dr. Chan: How did your family choose Utah, or was it chosen for you?

Keti: No. I mean, they didn't know. So we didn't know anyone in the U.S. except in Utah. So my parents just came here.

Dr. Chan: Okay.

Keti: Yeah.

Dr. Chan: All right.

Keti: And ended up in Salt Lake, which is kind of nice.

Dr. Chan: Okay. All right. So had this dream since you're kindergarten, becoming a doctor, you know, your mom was a powerful great example. And then, as you grew older, like, what kind of activities did you start doing that kind of helped solidify that choice of coming to medicine?

Keti: I mean, so I actually went through this phase where I was like do I actually want to be a doctor or was it just something, you know, that came into my mind as a kid just because of like, you know, like more of like a parental influence? So I actually went through a phase where I was like, "Oh, I should probably explore other things." I looked into education and I actually really liked that. You know, I volunteered in a bunch of like hospitals and clinics. And I think the patient . . . like I really love the sciences. So I even thought about it like, "Oh, maybe I should do a PhD.

But I think at the end of the day, I really enjoyed the patient contact and being able to, just like the patient-doctor relationship. And I think like, yes, you can do that with a lot of things like nursing and PA school. And as a doctor you have, there's more leadership involved as far as you're in charge of a team, and like you have more say in things, I think. And I really appreciate that aspect as well.

Dr. Chan: So in undergrad, so you went to undergrad here?

Keti: Yes.

Dr. Chan: Main Campus?

Keti: Yep. Yeah. I actually like haven't left Utah since I moved here. Except for like two months and, you know . . .

Dr. Chan: You've never gone on any trips?

Keti: I've gone on trips.

Dr. Chan: Okay. Okay. But you grew up here?

Keti: Yeah.

Dr. Chan: Okay. High school, undergrad?

Keti: Yep. Med school.

Dr. Chan: And what was your strategy applying to med schools while you're an undergrad? Did you only apply to The U? Did you have a wide net?

Keti: Well, I applied kind of late. I only applied to The U.

Dr. Chan: Okay. All right. All of your eggs in one basket?

Keti: Yeah, basically. I liked the program here. Everyone seemed happy. The medical students, like, I thought they were fantastic. The ones I had interactions with were really supportive. Then the administration seemed really supportive. And it just seemed like a great place. And, you know, my family's here, so it was a good support network as well.

Dr. Chan: And then going back to what you said about leadership, like, what kind of activities were you doing during undergrad that were getting you ready?

Keti: I mean, I was an RA, I loved it, at the University of Utah.

Dr. Chan: So resident assistant or research assistant?

Keti: Resident assistant.

Dr. Chan: Resident assistant, okay.

Keti: Yeah. So a student leader.

Dr. Chan: Which dorm is this?

Keti: Benchmark.

Dr. Chan: Okay.

Keti: So literally across the street from here.

Dr. Chan: Okay, not too far. Good.

Keti: Yeah. Benchmark and Shoreline. So they're like upperclassman, which is kind of nice. So I was an RA. I worked at two labs. I worked at the Huntsman, and then I also did pediatric research. I was part of the Hospital Elder Life Program.

Dr. Chan: Oh, cool.

Keti: That was awesome.

Dr. Chan: The call it the HELP program.

Keti: Yeah, the HELP program. So the delirium prevention.

Dr. Chan: Okay.

Keti: I learned a lot there, I think, about, you know, delirium prevention, working with patients. I got really interested in geriatrics from that experience as well. What else did I do? It feels like it was so long ago.

Dr. Chan: I know. It feels like years ago.

Keti: Oh, I TA-ed.

Dr. Chan: Okay.

Keti: So TA-ed for like freshman biology, and that was fantastic. Like, holding office hours and then doing like little lectures.

Dr. Chan: So it sounds like you were pretty busy.

Keti: Yeah.

Dr. Chan: Yeah. A lot of stuff going on. And then going back . . . I'm curious like the language, do you speak Georgian?

Keti: Yeah.

Dr. Chan: Is that what they call it?

Keti: Yeah.

Dr. Chan: Okay.

Keti: Yep. A good job. You know what, usually, people are like, "Oh, is it Russian or . . . ?" It's not.

Dr. Chan: So were you also a language tutor, or there a lot of interest, or not so much?

Keti: To teach Georgian?

Dr. Chan: Yeah.

Keti: No.

Dr. Chan: No.

Keti: I mean, so the problem with Georgian, its own root, so it comes from like the mountains in the area, so the Caucasus Mountains. So it doesn't really have like a Slavic root. The population is 4 million, so not very many people speak it. So it's a cool language and it's really interesting. And I think it sounds cool like when I speak it. So I'll interpret for my grandma. So when I take her to her doctor appointments, I'll interpret for her.

Dr. Chan: But there's not a very large Georgian community here, unfortunately?

Keti: Yeah.

Dr. Chan: Your family, yeah.

Keti: But like in the world, yeah, there's like two other Georgian families here.

Dr. Chan: Okay. All right. So you get into med school, you get here, hooray, hooray. How was the transition from undergrad to med school? Was it pretty smooth? Was it like, "Oh, this is so much information?" Like, did you have to kind of redo your studying techniques? I mean, what were your thoughts about that?

Keti: So I was a biology major in undergrad, and I think that helped a lot. And I think taking the MCAT like, you know, the year before prepares you pretty well. I mean, you have to study. But I felt like it was nice because, like during the first semester, at least, I was like, "Oh, so my job now is to study and be a good student and learn as much as I can." And I think, you know, when undergrad, you're juggling like volunteering, working, tutoring, and like a bunch of other stuff, with on top of like, you know, a full schedule of like classes. It was kind of nice during the first semester being able to like . . .

Yeah, I volunteered on like Saturday mornings at like, you know, [Maliheh 00:09:52] Clinic, or the Homeless Outreach Clinic, but it was nice to be able to like spend the whole day, you know, studying and getting . . . You know, and it was really interesting. Like in undergrad, you're learning about physics, and it's cool. But in med school, you're learning about like pathology and like all these cool diseases and how to treat them. And it's super relevant to you like what you want to go into. So it's really exciting. And like I liked med school a lot more than undergrad because of that.

Dr. Chan: Really?

Keti: Yeah.

Dr. Chan: Okay. Yeah. And so like you didn't feel you had to change how you studied? Because like there's a perception of like, oh, med school is like so hard or so difficult, and I think it is. But like when you start med school, then, all of a sudden, you're in it.

Keti: Yeah.

Dr. Chan: And then like the amount of information and, you know, people have told me like, "Oh, I was trying to drink from a fire hydrant," there's like so much. And so what was your experience?

Keti: I mean, yeah, there's a lot of information, and it feels overwhelming. But then like you get through it and you realize how much you learned from it. I did have to change my studying. So a lot of my classmates, I think, changed them more than I did. So Anki is really popular and it's like a fantastic tool, but it didn't really work for me. So I actually used like an iPad and wrote like notes on my iPad for most of it.

And then it's nice that they record our lectures, so then if I missed stuff, I can just re-listen to it like double-speed. So that was good. But I think it changed, I was more studious, definitely. And practice questions, I realized how helpful practice questions are. So doing like question banks became more of a thing. So yes, different, but it was helpful.

Dr. Chan: Okay. But it was doable?

Keti: Doable.

Dr. Chan: Yeah. And were you able to find balance? Were you still doing other activities that helped you stay grounded?

Keti: Yeah.

Dr. Chan: Not just all in a med school. It sounds like you're doing Maliheh Clinic.

Keti: Yeah.

Dr. Chan: What else were you doing?

Keti: So I actually mostly did the homeless outreach clinic, which is really fun. So the student-run one. And then I also did, like, I don't know, a research. And I was part of the geriatric interest group. So we'd have like lectures once in a while, and like old health fairs and interest group lunches. And I really liked that.

Dr. Chan: Awesome. So third year.

Keti: Third year.

Dr. Chan: How was third year?

Keti: It was okay. So that's the other thing about med school. So like the first two years, yeah, they suck, kind of. Like it's really interesting, it's really cool, you have to study a lot, and it can be kind of stressful. But I felt like you had so much control as far as like . . . For me, like, at least, I felt like if I studied and I put a lot of work into it, I would, you know, see the results I wanted, as far as like the more effort I put into something, the better my like scores would be.

And third year came along, and I felt like it was so much more subjective. Like it's really cool because you're like, "Oh, my gosh, everything I studied for the past two years, I am finally like kind of incorporating and I kind of feel like I'm a doctor, and I'm seeing patients regularly, and this is awesome." But at the same, like it's also shadowed with the grading system and evaluations and all that. And it makes it stressful, especially because you're ranked compared to your classmates. And, you know, like my classmates are great. And I think it's hard because it's very subjective. I worked my butt off in surgery, and I remember getting my grades back and being like, "What?"

Dr. Chan: It wasn't what you thought it was going to be.

Keti: Yeah, exactly. So just being very surprised.

Dr. Chan: It sounds like a different skill set almost. Like, you know, the first two years, it's much, much more academic, you're studying, you're taking these tests.

Keti: And I was used to that from undergrad. And then third year . . .

Dr. Chan: But third year is like different people are evaluating you, and there's all like, you know, and patient presentations, and physical exam skills, you know, like all these other kind of . . . It just sounds different, it sounds harder on some level.

Keti: Yeah. And, I mean, it depends on my your skills are. Like I was pretty shy, and quiet, and like get really nervous during my patient presentations. So obviously, that made it a little bit harder. But yeah.

Dr. Chan: But it sounds like you liked being in the hospital, liked being in the clinic. Yeah.

Keti: Yeah, I mean, which is good, because I'm going into medicine.

Dr. Chan: Yeah. That's good. So if I'd asked you during the first two years, Keti, what kind of doctor you want to be, what would you have said?

Keti: I was pretty sure I want to be a psychiatrist, actually.

Dr. Chan: Okay. All right. Why?

Keti: I just thought it was interesting and I felt like there was a huge need. And like volunteering at the homeless outreach clinic was just really interesting. Like we had a lot of patients who are, you know, like psychotic, or manic, or actively hallucinating, and it was just, you know, in our clinic. And it was just really interesting to see that, and then talk to them, and just figure out what was going on.

Dr. Chan: Cool. Knowing you were thinking about psychiatry going to third year, how did your experiences change that? What started happening? I mean, did you have a rotation in surgery, did you start thinking about surgery for a bit, or how did that go?

Keti: Yeah. I mean, actually, when I did surgery, I thought this is awesome. But I knew it wasn't for me. I don't know. Procedures are cool, but they're not as exciting as, you know, people who go into surgery are excited about them. That's not how I feel. Yeah. So I think what happened is we just learned so much during the first two years of med school.

I really enjoyed incorporating what I learned into, you know, figuring out the assessment, and plan, and like seeing patients and talking to them, and, you know, trying to figure out what's wrong. And, I think, I felt like in psych, yes, you do that, but I felt like all the other stuff that we learned about, like, you know, pulmonology and like the under . . . Oh, I guess you some endo in psych. But like I didn't feel like I got to use it as much as I'd want to.

Dr. Chan: So in your psychiatry rotation, where did you go for psychiatry rotation?

Keti: I was at Fifth West, and it was awesome.

Dr. Chan: Okay.

Keti: Yeah. And I was at the VA for part of it as well.

Dr. Chan: So it just didn't resonate with you?

Keti: Well, I actually loved it. What happened was I had like a very, very, very manic patient. And I remember like walking into, you know, meet them. And just, you know, they started screaming, they started tearing out like hairs from their body. And I just remember being like, "Okay, I don't know if I could deal with this on a regular basis."

Dr. Chan: Okay.

Keti: Not that you don't see patients that are, you know, have psych issues anywhere else, but not daily. I mean, and it was cool, too, because I remember that was my last day on Fifth West. And my resident was like, "Watch, in four days, she'll be like normal. Not, you know, a lot."

Dr. Chan: It is amazing what those medications can do.

Keti: Yeah.

Dr. Chan: Mania is a lot easier to treat than other illnesses.

Keti: Yeah. And that was cool.

Dr. Chan: She needs to sleep, it's all about sleeping. It's about resetting and going to sleep.

Keti: Yeah. And then the other problem, the other issue that I was having was, you know, I think it's a skill to be able to like have a long day, work with a lot of difficult patients who go through a lot and have a lot of like trauma, and then go home, and like be normal, like not have that impact your mood. And I remember being like, "Oh, that's going to be hard with psych."

Dr. Chan: So what time of year did you do your psych rotation?

Keti: I did it in February.

Dr. Chan: February. So were you kind of going through third year and going, "I'm going to be a psychiatrist. I'm going to be a psychiatrist," and then you have your psycho rotation, and then, oh? I mean, like, how did that feel? Did you feel adrift, or did you immediately start pivoting towards a different field?

Keti: So I actually have neuro first.

Dr. Chan: Neurology?

Keti: Yeah.

Dr. Chan: Okay.

Keti: I had neurology first, and I really liked it, and I like the people I was working with, and I saw a lot of really cool stuff. So I was initially like, "Oh, maybe actually I should do neuro." And then I was like this is my very first rotation, so I have to, you know, keep an open mind. And then I did internal medicine, and I loved it. So that's the hard part about third year, too, is a lot of it depends on your team.

So if you have an awesome resident and an awesome attending, for me, at least, I loved. Like if I had those two and the group was really fun to work with, usually, I really liked the rotation. And then it was hard for me to figure out, is it because of like the environment I'm in, or is it because like I actually really like the patient population that I'm working with and things like that?

Dr. Chan: So neurology and internal medicine started climbing higher in your list?

Keti: Yeah, they were like tied.

Dr. Chan: How did you break that tie?

Keti: So I ended up doing an elective in neurology at the end of my third year.

Dr. Chan: Oh, okay.

Keti: Yes. So I wasn't sure when I was debating which one I should apply to. So after third year, we have like a two-week break, I guess. And I was like, "I really need to figure this out." So I did like an elective in neuro during that time. And I hadn't ever worked in the adult wards because I did pediatric neuro for inpatient. So I was like, "I really need to figure this out." So I did that and I liked it. So yeah. I mean, I was still debating between IM and that, but I think like when July rolled around, I was like, "Okay, I think I . . . "

Dr. Chan: I'm going to be a neurologist.

Keti: Yeah, basically.

Dr. Chan: Strokes, seizures.

Keti: Yep. MS, Parkinson's.

Dr. Chan: MS, Parkinson's, all very difficult diseases.

Keti: Yeah.

Dr. Chan: And it sounds like it just resonated with you. It was a good match.

Keti: Yeah. I mean, I really like puzzles. And I felt like IM has tons of puzzles and lots of mysteries, but I think neuro has more. Like the physical exam in neurology is so important. And I like how you can, like, know so much about a patient from that.

Dr. Chan: Plus, you have these really awesome reflex hammers. When people think about reflex hammers, they think about the tiny ones. But neurologist have the big wands. They're like, what, two feet long? Yeah. They're like this amazing, and you use those as a sword. You guys are very good at like tapping and getting the reflexes in all the different places you need to. So I'm sure you have a lot of practice on that, right?

Keti: Yeah.

Dr. Chan: All right. So forth year, you're going to be a neurologist. What was your strategy for applying to residency programs?

Keti: I mean, I think like our school was really helpful. So Dr. Stephenson was super helpful. So this is a weird year for neuro. Eight of us applied for my class, and apparently, that never happens.

Dr. Chan: That's a high number.

Keti: Yeah, it's a very high number. So my strategy was, I was on my sub-internship in neuro in August, and I would just ask people, like the neurologist that I was working with, I like, "Oh, what programs, you know, are good? Like which ones do you like?" And things like that. And then my classmates were also doing the same thing, the ones who are going into neurology. And we actually met up like at a coffee shop like a bunch of us, and went through the whole entire list of all the neurology programs in the country.

And just like talked about what we'd heard and what we'd like read online, and the research that we've done. And I think that helped. But what happened for me was I had a . . . So I grew up here, basically, I went to undergrad here and med school. When I actually got in here for med school, I remember one of my research mentors being like, "You should probably go out of state for residency because it's important to see a different patient population, a different hospital system that had different experiences."

And I remember that just sticking with me. So because of that, I was like, "Okay, if I leave, I need to go somewhere where have, you know, a support network." My boyfriend lives in New York City, and I have like family friends who live . . .

Dr. Chan: How come your boyfriend lives in New York City? What happened?

Keti: I know. He moved there in August.

Dr. Chan: Okay.

Keti: Yeah.

Dr. Chan: So that kind of weighed in, like, yeah.

Keti: Yeah, it weighed in a lot actually. And family friends in New York as well, so that probably . . .

Dr. Chan: Did you do away rotations in New York?

Keti: No, I didn't.

Dr. Chan: Okay. But you applied to . . . how many neurology programs are in . . .

Keti: Oh, in New York? I don't know how many.

Dr. Chan: Or in that area, or the Mid-Atlantic region?

Keti: A lot.

Dr. Chan: Yeah.

Keti: So I definitely did a heavy East Coast application. I also applied in random places, like schools I heard good things about in the South. And I've always been curious about the South. And then I applied to like, a couple of West Coast places that I, like, would be interested in living in, basically.

Dr. Chan: So how many programs did you apply to?

Keti: I applied to like 40.

Dr. Chan: Forty?

Keti: Yeah.

Dr. Chan: Is that a lot? Is that little?

Keti: I think it's a lot.

Dr. Chan: Okay. If felt like a lot when you paid for it, right?

Keti: Yeah, it felt like a lot, for sure.

Dr. Chan: Wow. Okay.

Keti: Yeah.

Dr. Chan: And then the interview offers started to trickle in?

Keti: Yes, that was exciting.

Dr. Chan: And any good, you know, don't name program specifics, but any good stories from the interview trail?

Keti: Okay. I actually like made some really good friends from the interview trail, which I wasn't really expecting. And I saw a lot of people, because neurology is pretty small, and I actually saw people multiple times. And that was really fun. And it's cool because they're basically going to be my, like, future colleagues.

Dr. Chan: Okay.

Keti: You know, in the very, very distant future.

Dr. Chan: So you started seeing the same people at the same interview day, almost, or it's like different programs? Yeah.

Keti: Yeah the same people. Yeah. Like I remember I interviewed with one guy at four different schools, like the same, he was also interviewing at these four schools, and we just happen to choose the same days for all of them. Yeah. And so that was really nice and a pleasant surprise. It's also really fun, because like they take you out to dinner, you meet all the residents, and that's really fun. And then . . .

Dr. Chan: You get to compare reflex hammers, practice doing reflexes on each other?

Keti: I didn't bring my reflex hammer.

Dr. Chan: As a psychiatrist, we like to make fun of the neurologist because of the reflex hammer skills. Yes. It's very important.

Keti: It is.

Dr. Chan: All right. So how many interviews did you end up going on?

Keti: I did 14.

Dr. Chan: Okay, 14.

Keti: Yeah.

Dr. Chan: And did you have to start canceling interviews?

Keti: I canceled a couple, yes.

Dr. Chan: Okay. All right. So 14. And, you know, with family and with your boyfriend in New York City, it sounds like it started . . . So how'd you kind of winnow the . . . ? How'd did you kind of figure out your rank list? I guess that's I'm trying to ask. Like what went into that?

Keti: So really quick. The one weird thing about neurology is there's advance and there's categorical programs. And one thing that I did, which I don't recommend, is I applied to both. So I had to apply separately for prelim medicine. And so in addition to those 14 interviews, I went on like 8 prelim medicine interviews. So it was a lot and it was really tiring. It's fun at the beginning. But I think toward the end, you get a little . . .

It was really cool to see a lot of places I would never have gone. So the interview process, what I ended up doing since a lot of them were chunked in one area, was I ended up like making a home base. So I like I'd never gone to New York, like leaving all my stuff there, and then just like going on like, you know, two-day trips to my interview places. So I rode like the bus down to Philly a couple of times, and to Boston, I rode the Amtrak to Boston. So that was really fun, I thought. And also, I think I saved a lot of money that way.

Dr. Chan: Cool.

Keti: But yeah, rank list was the hardest part, I think, like coming up with that. I remember spending like two hours trying to figure out where I should rank number four and five, like. Because, you know, it matters, at least you think it matters. And I remember after I submitted it being like, "Oh, no, sure, but number five, number four."

Dr. Chan: Yeah. So all these programs are on the East Coast?

Keti: Yes.

Dr. Chan: I mean, and you only spent like a day or two with each program.

Keti: Yeah.

Dr. Chan: I mean, how did you like make that decision who was one versus two? I mean, was it a combination of things, or was it one thing that stood out? I mean, was there a value you held on to during the process? Like how would you describe it?

Keti: I think a lot of it was like gut feeling, location, and then so how I meshed with the residents, what opportunities there are. So one thing that's really important for me was I wanted to go to an area that had like a very diverse patient population, that worked with underserved populations as well and had opportunity for me to do like global health things if I wanted to.

Dr. Chan: Okay. Okay.

Keti: In addition to that, like I know like you're there only for one day, but I put a lot of weight on like didactics, and the way residents interacted with each other and faculty, and then how I felt basically. So at the end of the day, it came down to like that, and then geographics.

Dr. Chan: Okay.

Keti: One of the things that was really hard, actually, was trying to like . . . I love the U, and like the neuro program here is really good. And I really liked everyone here, and it's fantastic, and it's so easy.

Dr. Chan: You interviewed here, though, right?

Keti: I did interview here.

Dr. Chan: Yeah, okay. A little courtesy interview. Yeah.

Keti: But interview day was awesome, too. So I was like, oh, my gosh, like it was really hard trying to figure out like do I actually want to go or do I want to stay here?

Dr. Chan: Do I want to leave Utah or not. Yeah.

Keti: Exactly. So that was actually a really hard decision.

Dr. Chan: This entire time, like your family here in Utah, were they trying to like influence you, or were they kind of like asking to see the list, or how did you handle it?

Keti: They were secretly hoping I'd stay here. Here, I mean, parents being, you know, parents?

Dr. Chan: Mm-hmm, parents being parents. Brave face. Yeah. [Student 00:27:38], her soul.

Keti: They wanted me to go somewhere that was like safe and, you know, supportive. And my mom really liked Providence. Like when she went and visited for work a long time ago, she loved that city. So she was actually really rooting for Brown. So I think for them, it was like they would have preferred me to stay here, but they knew that, you know, it's important to leave.

Dr. Chan: To potentially come back one day.

Keti: Yeah. Well, yeah, definitely.

Dr. Chan: All right. So you submit your list in February?

Keti: Yes.

Dr. Chan: And then from February to March, how was that? Feeling good, feeling stressing out, freaking out?

Keti: Feeling good, a little stressed. So my grandma is really funny. She does this, so I think it's like an Eastern European thing, but for fun, she'll like do some fortune telling stuff with cards. Like they're basically just real regular deck of cards.

Dr. Chan: But not tarot cards?

Keti: No, not tarot cards.

Dr. Chan: Okay.

Keti: But just for fun, she like sometimes do that. And I remember she told my mom, she's like, "Oh, she'll get her second choice." And I remember being like, "Oh, well, that's cool, I'm happy with that." And then like when it came the week before, she like did it again. And she's like, "Are you sure you'll find out next Friday? Because my cards are saying that you're not going to find out next Friday."

Dr. Chan: What?

Keti: And I remember being like, "Oh, no, does that mean I'm soaping?" And like I was totally calm. And like if you look at the numbers, you're like, okay, I'm . . .

Dr. Chan: Did you grandma have a track record of being right all of the time?

Keti: I don't know. I've never . . .

Dr. Chan: She really good, you might want to, you know, who's going to Super Bowl this year? She will tell you who's going to, you know?

Keti: Yeah, I have no idea.

Dr. Chan: Wow. Okay.

Keti: So I was like, "Oh, no, like what's going to happen?" Because before, you look at this, you're like, "Okay, I know we did this many programs." If you look at, you know, all the graphs that they publish on that, you're like, "Okay, I have a ninety-something chance of matching," and you'd be like, "Okay, that's good." But then when your grandma tells you that, you're like, "Oh, no, what's the 2% that I might soap on Monday?" So that was a little stressful.

Dr. Chan: So was Monday or Friday more stressful? Because Monday, you find out if you matched, and Friday, you find out where you matched.

Keti: I think they're both stressful.

Dr. Chan: Okay.

Keti: Yeah. Actually, I was on my night shift for advanced IM at the time. And I remember, you know, it was nighttime for me basically. But at 9:00 a.m., you got your email that says if you matched or not. And I just remember like going to bed with my phone in my hand. So like I felt the buzz, and then I woke up, and I was like, "Oh, good, I matched," and just went back to bed. So I was okay.

Dr. Chan: Okay. All right. And then match day, who was there?

Keti: So my mom, my dad, and then my boyfriend flew in.

Dr. Chan: Okay. All right.

Keti: Yeah, so that was fun.

Dr. Chan: So speeches, speeches, speeches, they cut the ribbon. What do you do?

Keti: So I like walk over, you know, grab the envelope. I was like super nervous. So my dad was actually not even in the area, he's watching from up top, there's like a balcony.

Dr. Chan: Oh, okay.

Keti: And he's just filming.

Dr. Chan: Oh, so he's trying to get an aerial view.

Keti: Yeah.

Dr. Chan: This is the first I've heard of that. This is great.

Keti: So I go to my mom and my boyfriend and open it, and it says, "Montefiore, Albert Einstein." And my mom like starts being super excited, and she's like, "Oh, my goodness." And like I was happy, and [Calvin 00:31:02] was super happy because he lives in New York, and that's in New York. But then, I think, she realized that it was in the Bronx. And she's like, "Oh, dang it."

Dr. Chan: It's mom being a mom, just worried about her . . .

Keti: Yeah, parents being parents.

Dr. Chan: Yeah, worried about her daughter going so far away.

Keti: Yeah, far away.

Dr. Chan: How did you feel?

Keti: I was pretty excited. I mean, like I liked that program a lot. That's why they're, you know, I ranked them so high. I got a text from them, which was really cool.

Dr. Chan: There's this immediate reach out that usually happens.

Keti: Yeah. It was like congratulations. And it's like, "Oh, that's awesome, they care." So I don't know, I was really excited. Like they had really good didactic. Actually, I went to interview somewhere else, and one of the faculty from Montefiore was talking at their lecture. Like it was such a cool lecture, I really liked it. They're just funny because it was a different institution. So I think, you know, that stuck with me because I was like, I've listened to like five lectures from Montefiore faculty and I really liked them.

Dr. Chan: And do they have a global health aspect to their curriculum?

Keti: Yeah.

Dr. Chan: Okay.

Keti: Yeah. I mean, like the institution does.

Dr. Chan: Okay. All right.

Keti: So that works for me.

Dr. Chan: So New York City, or the Bronx?

Keti: Yeah, the Bronx.

Dr. Chan: Okay. So have your already flown out and looked at apartments?

Keti: No.

Dr. Chan: Okay.

Keti: So they have subsidized housing, which is really nice.

Dr. Chan: That's nice.

Keti: Yeah.

Dr. Chan: Because like there is that perception that it's fairly expensive to . . .

Keti: The Bronx is cheaper. But yeah.

Dr. Chan: Still, it's pretty expensive.

Keti: Yeah. So I apply, so I'll find out if I got it in May. So that'll be exciting. Yeah. One thing good during interviews, so since I was in New York, I actually did a second look at Monte because I wasn't really sure. Because I was like, well, you know, I liked them, but so I just wanted to, you know, get a better vibe and see how, you know, residents enjoyed the program and had a couple other questions. So I think that helped a lot, actually, like, for me, it like informed me more that I wanted to go there.

Dr. Chan: And how's it feel having matched and you haven't quite yet graduated? Like is this kind of like senior year of high school? Are you on cruise control? Like what do you think?

Keti: It's actually really nice. Yeah. So I'm on my wilderness medicine elective. And then we go backpacking next week.

Dr. Chan: Oh, cool.

Keti: Yeah.

Dr. Chan: To take the final.

Keti: Yeah. And it's been so fun because like my classmates are also technically on this. And so like we've just been hiking and like, I don't know, just enjoying it while it lasts. Because when July rolls around, it's going to be a lot more stressful and crazy. And, you know, it's also kind of sad, too, because, like, you spend four years with these people, and they become some of your closest friends. And, you know, we're all leaving, going on different parts of the country. But it's kind of exciting.

Dr. Chan: Yeah. Did anyone else match out in that area or in your program?

Keti: I mean, there's a couple of my classmates who are going to like Philly and like Rochester, but one that I can remember. I don't think anyone's going to New York City.

Dr. Chan: Okay.

Keti: But that's okay. I mean, I know people there.

Dr. Chan: How many residents in the program?

Keti: Nine.

Dr. Chan: Nine. So nine per year?

Keti: Yeah.

Dr. Chan: Okay.

Keti: One of the people that I like became pretty close friends with during my interview trial actually is also in New York City doing neurology, at a different program, but that was exciting.

Dr. Chan: Okay. Looking back, what advice would you give someone who's thinking about applying to med school? What words of wisdom or insight would you share with them?

Keti: So I actually went straight into from undergrad to med school, and I thought that was fine. But I did feel like people who, you know, take a few years off seem to really know what they want to do. Well, not everyone, but I felt like they knew themselves better and knew what they wanted to go into and what their priorities were. So I think it's okay to take a couple of years off.

It doesn't like mean you failed in any way. And I think a lot of times it can be really helpful. Otherwise, I think making sure you know you want to do it, it's a lot of work. And I think the little things that you have to do to get into med school, like all the volunteering and stuff, I think it's actually really helpful, you know? You grow as a person because of it, and you also learn a lot about yourself and, you know, what you want to do.

Dr. Chan: It's beautiful. That's wonderful. I'm so glad, Keti, that you came to our school. And I'm so glad that you matched neurology, which is the weird stepchild of psychiatry, or maybe it's vice versa, I don't know.

Keti: We do have lots of psych patients in neuro.

Dr. Chan: Yes. Yes. Yeah. When you take your psychiatric boards, like, I think 25% of the questions are neurology.

Keti: Really?

Dr. Chan: Or neurology board is like 25% psychiatry.

Keti: I think you're probably . . .

Dr. Chan: Okay. That's beautiful. All right. Just sign off. How do you say goodbye and good luck in Georgian?

Keti: Oh, I don't know how to say good luck, actually.

Dr. Chan: Okay.

Keti: But I'll say goodbye, nakhvamdis. And I'll say thank you. So nakhvamdis madloba.

Dr. Chan: Nakhvamdis.

Keti: Nakhvamdis.

Dr. Chan: Nakhvamdis.

Keti: That was good, yeah.

Dr. Chan: Madloba.

Keti: Madloba.

Dr. Chan: Madloba.

Keti: Yeah.

Dr. Chan: Nakhvamdis. Madloba.

Keti: That means goodbye, thank you.

Dr. Chan: Keti, goodbye, and thank you. Thank you for being on the podcast.

Keti: Thank you, Dr. Chan.

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