Skip to main content

You are listening to Talking U & Med Student Life:

Episode 141 – Anna

Feb 19, 2020

What triggers someone to decide they want to go to medical school after completing their first year of college? How does one’s vision of their future physician practice evolve throughout medical school? Why is it important to always go to the dinner hosted by a potential residency program?

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

Episode Transcript

Dr. Chan: What triggers someone to decide they want to go to medical school after completing their first year of college? How does one's vision of their future physician practice evolve throughout medical school? Why is it important to always go to the dinner hosted by a potential residency program? Today on "Talking Admissions and Med Student Life," I interview Anna, 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: Got another great guest today, Anna, fourth-year med student. How are you doing?

Anna: I'm doing good. How are you?

Dr. Chan: Good. Doing good. Again, this is beautiful because you were in my CMC group. So you're at the end of your medical school journey, but let's go in a time machine. Let's go back. So Anna, like when, how old were you? What was going on? When did you decide to become a doctor? What prompted you?

Anna: So I never thought about medical school until I was in college, kind of towards the middle/end of my first year. That's when I like started to seriously think about it, and then during the beginning of my second year, I was like completely set on it. So kind of a little bit later.

Dr. Chan: And where'd you grow up?

Anna: So I was born in Ukraine. My parents and I came to Los Angeles when I was really little. So I grew up in the LA area. Kind of moved around a little bit, but grew up there, went to college there and then moved to Utah.

Dr. Chan: So, and we are talking UCLA, right?

Anna: Yeah, for college.

Dr. Chan: Okay. So UCLA. A lot of pre-meders at UCLA.

Anna: A lot. It's super competitive.

Dr. Chan: Yeah. So did that kind of dissuade you at all or do you feel like you got caught up in the premed culture?

Anna: I was definitely one of those people that didn't want to say that I was premed because people were pretty competitive and you know, I wasn't really. I'm not a super competitive person. I'm a lot more relaxed and yeah, it was kind of a little scary sometimes to be around that kind of culture. But there's a lot of great people who are premed. Not everyone is really competitive like that, but definitely intimidating. Our classes were enormous and you know, a lot of those classes had to, you know, weed people out. And so that was a little bit hard.

Dr. Chan: Were you living in the dorms or at home?

Anna: I lived on campus my first year and then the next three years I lived at home and just commuted.

Dr. Chan: Pretty bad commutes.

Anna: Oh yeah, really bad. Really bad.

Dr. Chan: California is known for that.

Anna: Yeah. To do the 101 to the 405.

Dr. Chan: I'm just going to nod my head like, oh yeah. Parking lot. The whole thing. So what kind of activities were you doing at UCLA to prepare you for med school?

Anna: So I did a lot of different things. So one of the things that I did that I really loved was drug outreach and education. There's this group called DOEP. Like D-O-E-P, Drug Outreach, and Education Program. So basically, our goal was to talk about drug use in a very open and neutral way. Just be like people do drugs and you know, this is why and here's information you should know so you can make responsible choices.

So we talked to like elementary through high school kids. We talked to college students and just like went around the community and talked about that. That was the thing I did. And then, you know, I did volunteer work at the hospital. I did clinical research. I did molecular research and bioinformatics research and volunteered a lot. I did some integrative medicine. It was like a group that I was part of. Yeah, so a lot of different things.

Dr. Chan: Were you on the swim team?

Anna: I was on the club swim team, but I only did that in my first year like really consistently because I was on campus. And then during my second year I was also a part of it, but it was harder because I was commuting so far. And then my last two years I didn't. I wasn't part of the team but that was really, that was fun. I liked that.

Dr. Chan: And then you said like the idea of going to medical school really came to you in college. Was there a specific event that happened during like a volunteer experience or it was kind of more of a series of things? Like I'm just curious how you arrived to that.

Anna: Yeah, I think it was more of a series of things. So I became a lifeguard after high school, like during my last year in high school. I was like doing training and doing all of that stuff and we have to do, you know, first aid and learn a lot about kind of really basic medical conditions and how to manage things and stabilize before, you know, going to the next like higher level.

And I remember during that summer before college when I was working and I was, you know, studying for that, I really loved that. I'd never thought about medicine before, but kind of learning about like how can you tell when someone has a stroke or a heart attack or you know, a broken arm and all this stuff. I thought that was really cool and empowering to learn about. And so that kind of planted the seed to actually consider medicine.

And then during my first year, my roommate at the time wanted to be a pediatrician. And in the beginning, we didn't really know a lot of people. So she said, "Hey, I'm going to this AMSA meeting, American Medical Student Association." She's like, "Do you want to come just so you know, we can both find it together?" And I went along with her just, you know, to keep company and then it was like, "Whoa, this is really awesome." We had like a neurosurgeon from UCLA talk about medicine, and I was really glad I went to that meeting because that's when I kind of began to more seriously consider it.

Dr. Chan: And then did you work with like a premed advisor or was there a premed club at UCLA? Because we kind of talked about the premed culture, but don't they have some groups kind of dedicated to like helping the students?

Anna: So we had advisors for every major and my major was a pretty, you know, science-heavy major. And so I just went to my advisor for that and she kind of gave me advice of what classes to take. But I don't think I ever really met with a dedicated pre-med advisor. I know that we had that, but I felt like I got good enough information from her.

Dr. Chan: And then what year did you take the MCAT?

Anna: I took it after my second year that summer. Well, I took the old one and then I took the new one during my third year during the winter. Actually during the spring. Yeah.

Dr. Chan: Any tips about how to study for the MCAT?

Anna: Well, I think so I took it twice and although they were both different tests. I think the second time I looked at it more as a marathon and something that I have to do a little bit every day. And rather than trying to just cram information that would be important, I just tried to live my life and incorporate studying into it and that worked a lot better. I was less stressed. I did a lot better. It was not painful.

Dr. Chan: Didn't pay for any of like the tutoring services or the special classes?

Anna: I took on this online Kaplan course and that was helpful. Kind of gives some more structure. I think without that structure it would have been really hard. Some people do. I don't know how. Props to them.

Dr. Chan: All right, so you take the MCAT twice. I assume you were okay with your score the first time, but you wanted to improve it or you just wanted to see what the new MCAT was like or what was the reasoning?

Anna: Yeah. So the first time I got like a decent score, I think I got above average, but I knew that some of the schools I was thinking about applying to said that they might actually prefer the new one. And then there was one part of my MCAT that I wasn't happy with. I think it was my verbal, my first time around. So it was like, well, I'll take it again and try to increase that score. And yeah, that's what I did.

Dr. Chan: All right. So I love having you on Anna because I've always wanted to ask this question. So you're a California resident, and what was your strategy going into applying to medical schools? And let me just give you this caveat that I've worked here for a long time, we get thousands and thousands of applications from California. And now that I have you in the hot seat, I can now ask you, like from the other side, when you're an undergrad, I mean, what are people telling you?

Because like I get the sense that all the California med schools are full. That's really hard to get into them because like, there's literally millions of people applying. Thoughts, what was your strategy? How did you navigate? I mean, do people know that they probably have to apply out of state or some people still like, no, I'm going apply to a California school. Like what was your strategy? What was your thinking going into that process?

Anna: Yeah, so, well, I think looking back, I kind of wish I had talked to more people or maybe had a dedicated premed advisor that I could talk to because I just went off of what I heard my friends were doing and saying. And so definitely people from California are like thinking about applying to other schools because it's so saturated. So that's definitely in the back of everyone's mind. And I think beyond that it was just like, what are some like great programs or places to live or where would you want to be, you know, close. And so I applied, you know, the West Coast and then some places on the East Coast. But yeah, that's sort of what I did.

Dr. Chan: Do people, if you're an undergrad at UCLA, do you guys even apply to the med school or is it kind of like they never take their own graduates, you know what I'm saying about, or do all of you apply to UCLA? Just kind of okay, we'll see if they take me.

Anna: Yeah, I think the people that I knew and myself, we all applied to UCLA and occasionally people will get an interview. Like I got an interview. I didn't get in though, but I was actually really surprised that I even got one because most people, I mean I didn't get a whole lot of California interviews in general.

Dr. Chan: Yeah. Did you apply to all the California schools?

Anna: I probably did. I don't really remember, but I probably did.

Dr. Chan: So I'm hearing that kind of a West Coast strategy, a little East Coast thrown in. So do you remember the number? How many schools did you apply to?

Anna: I don't remember, but probably 40 or 30.

Dr. Chan: Forty, okay. Thirty or 40.

Anna: Something like that.

Dr. Chan: Allopathic and osteopathic.

Anna: Just allopathic.

Dr. Chan: Just allopathic. Okay. And so this is your last year at UCLA? So were you thinking like if you're not successful this year, would you take a gap year? I mean, like what was kind of your like thinking going into the process?

Anna: Yeah, I thought if I didn't get in this time, I would, you know, get some kind of research job and then try again. So yeah, that's what I thought about.

Dr. Chan: So you sent out 30 to 40 offers. How many interviews did you get?

Anna: I think I got seven.

Dr. Chan: Seven interviews. Okay. Seven or eight.

Anna: It feels like such a long time ago.

Dr. Chan: Okay. Obviously, we're one of the schools. Were we at the beginning, middle, end?

Anna: I'd say the middle towards the end.

Dr. Chan: Okay. And then had you ever been to Utah before?

Anna: No.

Dr. Chan: Okay. So what do you remember from your interview date here? I'm curious.

Anna: So I actually came here with my best friend. She had always wanted to go to Utah, and I've heard a lot of great things and I had known people were visiting so we decided to make a trip out of it and we stayed for like three days or four days. And it was the end of November, so it was snowing. It was really beautiful.

Dr. Chan: So you drove up.

Anna: We flew.

Dr. Chan: You flew. Okay.

Anna: Yeah. And I remember, honestly, this was the of my favorite interviews because everyone was so kind and loving and warm and I just thought it would be such an amazing place. I loved everybody that I met. It was really unique because I feel like some places try to intimidate you a little bit, but here everyone was really welcoming and the mountains really just like hit you. When we first got in, I was really shocked at how enormous they are.

Dr. Chan: How big they are. How close they are to the city.

Anna: And how close they are, so it was beautiful.

Dr. Chan: So you interviewed at Utah, really great experience. And then interviewing at these other schools, anything, any advice about interviewing you would give to people? I mean, did you do a lot of practice? Did UCLA offer practice interviews or you just kind of go in cold turkey or you were on Student Doctor Net just kind of reading about the latest gossip or what were you doing here?

Anna: I think that they did offer mock interviews at UCLA, but I didn't really use those resources. I wasn't like the best premed but a lot of the stuff I did, I would just look online and see questions that have been asked before and I would write out my thoughts and that's pretty much how I prepared.

Dr. Chan: Okay. All right. And then, you know, with different schools you were probably were exposed to like different cultures during the interview day. Anything stand out to you from other schools? You don't have to name them or you could.

Anna: Well, I think like a good number of schools really want to like sell themselves and show that they're a good program, and then some schools are kind of trying to show off how competitive they are and how great they are and like, oh, you should be lucky that you're even here. So that's kind of what I saw in the schools that I had seen. And sometimes it's kind of a mixture of both, but yeah.

Dr. Chan: So I remember Anna when I called you, I think it was in February or March.

Anna: Something like that, yeah.

Dr. Chan: You were really calm to the point where I interpreted as like, you're not coming.

Anna: Oh, no.

Dr. Chan: Yeah, you seemed so . . . it was just like, "Oh, hey. This Dr. Chan." And you were like, "Oh, hey. How are you? Okay. That's nice." And I don't know if you were like in shock or you were just surprised.

Anna: Oh, yes. Absolutely.

Dr. Chan: And I think you may or maybe you were in between classes or something. I don't know. I just remember you were very calm about the whole thing, so I just thought that, oh, she's probably not coming here. So again, well, what was going on in your side? I'm curious.

Anna: So I was in class.

Dr. Chan: Okay. That is correct.

Anna: I was in virology lab and then I saw that I got a phone call from 801.

Dr. Chan: Utah.

Anna: I think that's Utah. And so the whole time I was waiting until I could leave to like take a bathroom break. And so I left really fast to make the call. And I think I was just was like, oh, I only have a few minutes and I wonder how this phone call is going to go. So I was just really shocked and then I had to go back to class.

Dr. Chan: Okay. So great feeling.

Anna: I was really excited. I think it took a while to process.

Dr. Chan: Yeah. So again, like other offers or, I mean, why did you pick the U? I mean, like what was the decision making going up to that?

Anna: Yeah, I had two other offers and you know, they were good schools, but I just really loved my Utah interview and I thought it was a great program and it was very clear that that's where I was going to go. I didn't hesitate at all and really happy that I came here.

Dr. Chan: What was it like when you moved here? So especially like, it doesn't sound like you knew anyone here. Like getting roommates and finding a place to live. What was that like?

Anna: So I feel like we have a class page on Facebook and that was a really great resource. That's how I found my roommate who's also a classmate here. And I feel like everyone was really supportive. And I remember during our orientation week we had this one session, it was like a culture of Utah for people not from here, thought that was kind of a fun thing to have. But yeah, it was kind of a slow and steady process of getting used to the culture and the people and making friendships, but it was really smooth overall.

Dr. Chan: Was your family sad to see you leave?

Anna: Yeah, definitely but they're fine. Yeah, they're fine.

Dr. Chan: I remember there was a bunny. How's the bunny doing?

Anna: He's good.

Dr. Chan: Okay. You want to talk about the bunny story?

Anna: Sure. Yeah, I guess. I mean, it's not a crazy exciting story.

Dr. Chan: But I thought the bunny couldn't travel. You placed travel restrictions on the bunny.

Anna: So he's really anxious. He was born in a shelter, so I think he was probably traumatized at some point but he gets really nervous during car rides and will just like freeze up and like I worry if we need to take him to the vet and yeah. So he's just extremely anxious. I was like, if I bring him out here driving like 10 hours or on a flight, I honestly think he might get a heart attack or something. So yeah. But he's doing great.

Dr. Chan: Is he still back in California or is in Utah now?

Anna: He's in California.

Dr. Chan: Okay. Yeah. Can't use this bunny for out here.

Anna: Yeah. No.

Dr. Chan: Yep. All right, so you start med school, what was the biggest surprise? Because I guess like people are in med school and you definitely know what med school is like but from the outside looking in like it's still kind of like this mysterious black box. What was the biggest surprise after you started?

Anna: I think coming into med school I thought it was going to be really all-consuming and that I wouldn't have time to do anything else. And although it really is all-consuming, I was surprised that I did have time to pursue other things and to like have free time and develop friendships and do fun things. So I think that was my biggest surprise. It was a pretty good surprise actually.

Dr. Chan: And the academics, was it like a lot more material or was it comparable to like a UCLA undergrad degree?

Anna: I think there were definitely some classes at UCLA that I think were harder like some physics classes and like really hard science classes but med school overall is definitely harder. I think just the sheer amount of information that you have to learn and you have to at some point just figure out what you need to focus on and things that you have to kind of let go or you know, not focus so much on, that was the hardest part. That took some adjusting.

Dr. Chan: What was your thought once you realized you were in my [Brighton 00:19:24] CMC group?

Anna: I was so excited. You are so friendly, and I was really stoked that I was in your group. I got the best group.

Dr. Chan: For those of you that this seem like . . . Anna and I know each other pretty well because we see each other once a week and I tried my best to teach you physical exam skills, interviewing skills, progress note writing skills. So I would just see you all the time. So that's how we developed. Yeah. That's how we know each other as well. So, all right. So during the first two years, what kind of doctor did you think you're going to be and why were you leaning towards that?

Anna: So during my first two years I thought most likely I would do psychiatry, but I was keeping an open mind. I thought maybe psych or internal medicine or family medicine.

Dr. Chan: I swear you said neurology at one point.

Anna: Or neurology. I thought about neurology too. So I was thinking about all those. I think I was thinking more psych, but those were still on my mind.

Dr. Chan: Were you doing any kind of interest groups or shadowing during the first two years to kind of help rule in or rule out different fields?

Anna: Yeah. So most of the stuff I did was like psychiatry centered and I did do some shadowing at the UNI HOME clinic and I don't think I did any other shadowing aside from that, aside kind of what we do in CMC and like the free clinics. I guess that's kind of shadowing in some way. But yeah, I led the psychiatry interest group and helped start the addiction medicine group. So a lot of it was kind of psych oriented. Yeah.

Dr. Chan: And like going back to the psychiatry, were you thinking that back in your UCLA days? Like where do you think that comes from, your desire to become a psychiatrist?

Anna: Yeah, I think it's a lot of small things that sort of coalesce together. When I was in college applying to medical school, the drug outreach and addiction volunteer work that I was doing had a really big impact on me. And at the time I thought maybe I would do like addiction medicine. So that was a pretty big consideration, but I think like with psychiatry in general, it just sort of makes sense and I think that's really happy that I'm going into it. And like looking back there was like a lot of small things that kind of led me there.

Dr. Chan: So third year. So you're thinking about psychiatry, you still have some others on the list, was third-year really great? Did you like being out in the wards in the hospitals? Did you miss the classroom? What was there you're like,

Anna: Yeah, so third year was great overall. There were definitely hard times. And I started with surgery, so I think I started off strong.

Dr. Chan: Was that a hard time?

Anna: Yeah, it was pretty hard. I mean I've never been in the OR until then and I wasn't really looking forward to it. I mean, I was looking forward to learning and seeing what it's like, but I was kind of scared actually. So that was kind of hard, but I'm really glad that that's the one I did first because after that all the other rotations were not that scary.

Dr. Chan: A bit easier.

Anna: Yeah. They were harder in other ways but . . .

Dr. Chan: Yeah, I remember on my surgery rotation, like we had to get up like 3 or 4 in the morning to get to the hospital to pre-round because everything's like predicated on being like first in the door when the OR opens at like 7 so you had to get all like the floor work done before 7 and then you're in the OR for hours and hours, hours and like, but then like the pagers are going off but like the charge nurse is like handling the pagers. I don't know, there's just a lot going on and then hours are kind of awful. I remember going home like 8:00/9:00 pretty consistently. Sometimes 10.

Anna: Yeah. I mean, I was at the VA for my kind of main surgery rotation and it was not as intense as what you're saying. It's still intense, but yeah, I don't think I went home past like 7:30 or 8.

Dr. Chan: Still waking up pretty early too?

Anna: For the VA?

Dr. Chan: Yeah.

Anna: Yeah, pretty early, but not like 3 or 4 in the morning. Maybe we had to be there before 6, something like that. So it was actually not that bad. Yeah, I had some other rotations at other places that were a little different.

Dr. Chan: Since you were thinking about psychiatry, did you strategically position psych kind of the middle of your third year or how'd you do that?

Anna: Yeah, yeah. I think that's the advice that I got from some classmates and so that's what I did. I had it like during December or January?

Dr. Chan: And you started your psych rotation. I was it like love at first sight or did you have like a negative experience and you started to have to rethink everything? Was it confirmational or not, I guess?

Anna: Oh, absolutely confirmational. Okay. I was, I loved it. I loved every part of it. It was really amazing.

Dr. Chan: What'd you love about it?

Anna: So I feel like, I mean, in all of medicine we have to know about, you know, someone's medical history and their social history and what's going on in their life but I think in psychiatry you really take the time and interest to like explore these other parts of someone's life and to like make a really meaningful connection with them so that they can trust you and you can, you know, interact with them in their care. And I loved how on the psychiatry rotation it was so much of a team. We had social workers and nursing. We all would meet together and talk about, you know, what's going on, what's the best plan? And I loved how we all valued each other's opinions and each person was really important in that team. I thought that was pretty unique.

Dr. Chan: Were you at UNI, the VA, 5 West?

Anna: I was at 5 West and then at UNI.

Dr. Chan: Okay. Kind of two different worlds. Which one did you like more?

Anna: Well, UNI is a very beautiful place, right?

Dr. Chan: Kind of like a ski lodge.

Anna: Yeah. Yes, definitely. It's like if I had to be inpatient, I would absolutely go to uni. In 5 West, it's a little different, has more kind of a dungeon vibe.

Dr. Chan: Because it's a little bit older. It's attached to the main hospital so more medically related psychiatric issues.

Anna: Yeah. Yeah, definitely.

Dr. Chan: Because you need to be closer in case something happens. UNI is kind of middle of Research Park.

Anna: Yes. The acuity was different. I think they're both really great places and I loved both of those experiences.

Dr. Chan: So that was midway through your third year and you just knew.

Anna: Yeah, I was.

Dr. Chan: No hope for family medicine, neurology.

Anna: I really loved family medicine and I had neurology before, but no, I was like, yeah, I know that this is what's going to happen. Yeah.

Dr. Chan: And you've told your family you want to be a psychiatrist when you grow up?

Anna: Yeah, I've slowly been telling them throughout the years.

Dr. Chan: And they've been accepting, or are they still hoping that you are a surgeon?

Anna: They are accepting now and very supportive. At first they were like, oh, are you sure you want to do psychiatry? You know, how about internal medicine or this or that, but now they're super supportive.

Dr. Chan: Okay. So third year winds down, you're in the middle of your fourth year now, what's been your strategy now that you're from California, you're here in Utah, now you're looking at residency programs, the next step in your journey to become a psychiatrist. What's been your strategy for residency applications?

Anna: Yeah, so for residency applications I've been trying to see like what part of the country would I be happy living in and what's important to me in that sense. So I've been applying kind of the West sort of Colorado West and then some places on the East Coast that I have a particular interest in. So that's been my strategy and that's what I heard from a lot of residents that like tried to think about where you could see yourself living and then explore the programs within that area. So, yeah.

Dr. Chan: I remember when I was doing my interviews, like some of these programs, like they have like a dinner the night before and I remember getting the advice, like always go to the dinner. Because that's when you interact with the residents, maybe some of the attendings but it's usually residents there and people are pretty unguarded in those events and they share a lot of information and as an outsider you can kind of pick up the culture a little bit before the interview day even starts. Is that still going on or are you doing the dinners or what have you been told?

Anna: Yeah, I think most of the places that I've been interviewing, I have had a dinner and I've gone to all of them. I think that's super-valuable to talk to the residents, see how tired or not tired they are and how excited they are to be there. Yeah, that's been really important.

Dr. Chan: And usually the interviews days too, it's like they take you on a tour, everyone has to do a tour. And after a while to me, like all the hospitals just start to look the same. It's like, oh here's the unit, here's the nurses' station, here's where the doctors write the notes. You know, it's like, here's the med room. And I think because of like accreditation standards, all these places like more or less are the same. So, feel the same way?

Anna: Yeah. So some places are a little different and more memorable, but overall it's basically pretty similar.

Dr. Chan: Is it the same interviewing for residency as it is med school or is it different?

Anna: It's very different.

Dr. Chan: How?

Anna: A lot better. I think for residency interviews it's a lot more conversational. They want to see who you are, see what you're like. Like would you be a fun person to work with? Like on a long call shift, would you be, you know, really high strung or would you be really open and willing to help and help out your co-residents? And I think also in psychiatry they really want to see if you're committed to psychiatry, like why do you want to do psychiatry specifically? So a lot of the conversations have been really fun and they go on all sorts of tangents and yeah, way better than med school interviews.

Dr. Chan: So they probably asked you a lot about the whole California, Utah because they can see that in your application, your CV.

Anna: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. A lot of people have interesting views on Utah so I have to dispel some of . . .

Dr. Chan: So you're a defender of the state.

Anna: Definitely defender of the state.

Dr. Chan: All right. So, and how many programs did you apply to?

Anna: I applied to 50, which is a lot.

Dr. Chan: Okay. Was that more anxiety-driven or are you given like advice to apply to that many?

Anna: Yeah, I was given advice that that's kind of where the average would be this year, and so I just applied to what the average number would be.

Dr. Chan: Okay. And how many interviews?

Anna: I've gotten 14 offers so far.

Dr. Chan: That's great. Isn't like the magic number 9 or 10? Isn't that?

Anna: I think it's like 11/12 thereabouts.

Dr. Chan: Okay. It's creeping up.

Anna: Everything is increasing.

Dr. Chan: Everything's getting harder. All right. And is psychiatry one of those because I have heard rumors that like because spots are so competitive that like these programs email you like the interview kind of invites and you need to like respond immediately or it's gone. So psychiatry is like that?

Anna: I think for the most part I've been able to get like interview spots but there have been some where it's like, oh this is the last interview spot that they have open. So it was like, oh man, should've gone on like three minutes earlier.

Dr. Chan: And are you crisscrossing the country? Are you like Seattle on Monday, New York City on Tuesday? Stuck in the airport in Chicago.

Anna: I've been lucky that like it's been arranged pretty well. I've been mostly on the West Coast and had a couple there and then I just had one interview on the East Coast recently. So I've just made one trip out there.

Dr. Chan: Did you interview at your "Home program UCLA"?

Anna: I interviewed at one of their community programs. It's like all of you UCLA, well . . .

Dr. Chan: Did you do an away rotation?

Anna: Not there.

Dr. Chan: Not there. Okay.

Anna: I did do an away rotation.

Dr. Chan: Interesting. What'd you do it in and where?

Anna: I did it at UC Irvine. So part of it was, so a lot more people are applying to psych this year and it was hard to get a sub-I right before applications. So my sub-I was kind of after applications were sent out, so I decided to do a sub-I before that so I can kind of show them that, you know, I know what I'm doing at least kind of yeah.

And you know, California is a state that I would be very happy to go back to or just kind of the West Coast in general so I thought that would be a good place. And my parents aren't too far away so I can kind of hang out with them and yeah.

Dr. Chan: Yeah. But it sounds like Utah is on the list too.

Anna: Oh yeah, yeah, definitely. I really loved Utah Psychiatry Program. It is amazing so I'm very highly considering it. Yeah.

Dr. Chan: Okay. All right. So last question, Anna. This has been great. So what advice would you give to applicants out there who may be wondering if they should do it, so apply to med school, who might be on the fence, who are wondering if it's worth it or not? Like looking back now at what you've learned over the past four or five years, what would you say to them?

Anna: I think I would say I think medicine is a very special field and your heart really has to be in it for the right reasons, and I think if it is, then you should do all that you can to pursue that. I think you have to give a lot of yourself to people and if that's what makes you happy and makes you feel like you know your life has meaning, then that's a really beautiful thing and you should do it.

Dr. Chan: Okay. Well, Anna, we'll have to have you come back and hear where you matched. Very curious to see where you end up.

Anna: Me too.

Dr. Chan: When I heard you were going into psychiatry, I was like, "Oh yes. Anna is going to psych." I always kind of thought, because I remember I talked to you and times a handful of times about it and I always got the neurology vibe from you. So when I heard you . . .

Anna: I remember during one of our CMC groups, you were going around saying what you thought everyone would match into and I remember you told me neurology, I was like maybe, but really?

Dr. Chan: So you've kept your cards very close to your chest. Yeah, it's been wonderful to see. I remember the first time we had CMC, you had your hair pulled back I think, and with your lookbook card, like you talked about being from Ukraine and you had kind of like this cool sweater. So I thought, "Oh, that's really cool." And yeah, it's just been amazing to watch you grow over the years to the point where you're ready to graduate and you're going to have an MD by your name very shortly.

Anna: Yeah, it's pretty surreal.

Dr. Chan: Cool. All right, well, thanks, Anna. Thanks for coming on.

Anna: Thanks.

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