Jan 22, 2020

Dr. Chan: How does a person's little brother inspire them to become a pediatrician at the ripe old age of 15? What's it like growing up African American in American Fork, Utah, and becoming more resilient and driven because of it? Is it possible to still be a sports aficionado and a busy medical student at the same time?

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

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

Dr. Chan: Well, welcome to another edition of "Talking Admissions and Med Student Life." I've got a fantastic guest today, Eddie, first-year student. How are you doing?

Eddie: Doing so good.

Dr. Chan: Good. Great. And it sounds like school is . . . you're right in the middle of finals, it sounds like?

Eddie: Getting close. So next week we start off with our finals. We have one on Monday, two Wednesday, one Friday.

Dr. Chan: That's a lot.

Eddie: Yes.

Dr. Chan: That's a lot. All right. Before we get into it, let's go back. Time machine. Let's go back to the beginning. When did you decide to become a doctor? How old were you and what was going on?

Eddie: I was about 14, 15. I was about 15 years old. And I have an interesting story about how that came about.

Dr. Chan: Well, that's why you're here. Let's hear it.

Eddie: Exactly. But mine came about because of my little brother. He's 16 now, so he was only 2 when the idea popped into my head. And I grew up . . . I'm the oldest of five. Single-parent family. And so . . .

Dr. Chan: And where's this at?

Eddie: American Fork.

Dr. Chan: American Fork.

Eddie: Yeah. So I grew up in American Fork, Utah.

Dr. Chan: All right.

Eddie: Yeah, just a single-parent family. So I was kind of the dad from like age 4 or so. And so had a lot of responsibilities on my plate. And you grow up a little bit quick and you don't get that childhood that you want.

And when my little brother was born, he was just my only little brother, and me and him just connected quickly. When he was about 2 years old, I just saw how much joy that childhood has. And me and him would play, we would run around, we had the best time ever. And it was just so fun because, yeah, I got to see the innocence of childhood. I got to see what having a childhood is like. And so there was something that just drew me to that, drew me to kids, drew me to helping individuals that didn't get to have what I . . . or that get to have what I didn't.

And so I remember talking to a friend, and I was always captivated by the body. We're just very complex individuals. How the body works is just very fascinating to me. And I had a friend tell me . . . she's like, "You know, I'm thinking about becoming a pediatrician." I'm like, "What in the world? I've never heard that word. What is that?" And she's like, "It's a kid doctor." I'm like, "Hmm." I looked into it, I researched it, and I'm like, "You know what?" Something just sparked inside me. I'm like, "That's going to be my journey. I'm going to try to become a pediatrician."

And as I've gotten older and over the years of this journey, I've seen the disparities that occur in medicine and that's driven me even more. Growing up in Utah, being a minority, and African American especially in Utah, there's not many out there. And so I didn't get a lot of exposure to what the disparities among African Americans are like, but just seeing it among just minorities in general, it drew me to wanting to help. And that desire to help others to get what I didn't was something that just drove the . . . it was a driving force.

Dr. Chan: It gave you the fire to keep on going.

Eddie: Oh, yeah. And it just kept growing. My little brother sparked it, and then after that, it just kept going and going.

Dr. Chan: Was he sick a lot?

Eddie: No, it wasn't even that he was sick. It was just the fact that . . . I had a younger sister that was sick. She had asthma and all sorts of just health issues. She was always in the hospital and stuff, and we didn't get the best healthcare. I mean, I was still younger. I didn't fully understand. But as I did classes and stuff in medicine, like premed, and just even seeing just the problems in the world out there, that was what really just kept my desire to erase these disparities.

Dr. Chan: Yeah.

Eddie: Because I've always been one that I look . . . I try to be one that can change the future for others. I'm the oldest, so my siblings, I've always been . . . I'm like, "I'm going to set a good path for you so that you don't have to go through what I did." And then all through my undergrad and stuff, I worked with individuals from disadvantaged circumstances to help them and erase those different obstacles that I had to face to get to where I am.

Dr. Chan: You mentioned growing up African American in Utah. What was that like in American Fork?

Eddie: It was interesting. In my graduating . . .

Dr. Chan: I'll bet you have some stories.

Eddie: Oh, so many. Well, when there's not much exposure to a certain culture, there's a lot of cultural insensitivity. I've had things said to me that I'm like, "Wow. I can't believe you just said that to me." And just there are a lot of stereotypes placed upon me.

I love sports. That is probably my favorite pastime, and I was good at it because I practiced and practiced. But they would attribute my being good at sports to because I'm black and stuff, as they would say. I'm like, "No, that has nothing to do with being black just gives me these naturally amazing athletic abilities."

And not only that, even growing up, or going through college and things, I worked my butt off. I got good grades and I'd get scholarships. It's like, "Oh, you just got that because you're black." It's like, "No." They try to attribute my success and things and getting acknowledged for things to being black. And you have to become very resilient, very just dismissive of what they say, because otherwise it could weigh you down.

Dr. Chan: You know, I perceive you have to grow up more quickly.

Eddie: Oh, very much so.

Dr. Chan: Yeah, because you're dealing with comments and what people say much earlier at a younger age.

Eddie: Well, not only that, I've had things said to me that . . . yeah. I remember in elementary school being called certain words and I would just go home crying. I had no idea why people would be saying those things to me.

Dr. Chan: Yeah. And then sometimes . . . I work with kids a lot in my child psychiatry job, and sometimes the kids don't know the word, but they know the feeling, like the anger and the venom behind the word. And that can cause the tears, the emotional reaction, as well. So it's fascinating and it's sad that it goes on.

Eddie: Yeah. Well, it even happens now. I remember the first date me and my wife had, me and her were just walking around and I got called certain things and she was just shocked. And I'd been going through it for a while, and so I just . . . I mean, it was just something I dismissed and stuff. But she was pretty distraught. She's like, "I can't believe people would still say things like that." I'm like, "Yeah." You just get used to it. It's ridiculous.

Dr. Chan: Well, Eddie, let's jump up to high school. You're in high school, you're studying hard, and you're getting good grades. Walk me through the decision about how you went through the college application process.

Eddie: Oh my goodness. I'm a first-generation student. I had no idea what I was doing. I still have no idea what I'm doing. It's one of those things where each step I take is just one . . . it's going down a path that a foot has never touched. And so there have been a lot of bumps and bruises and a lot of problems along the way.

And high school was interesting because I always thought I was going to go out of state. I didn't really take any . . . I took plenty of classes. I could have done concurrent enrollment, or AP classes I took. There was one class I didn't take the AP test and other classes I just . . .

I didn't sign up for concurrent enrollment because I'm like, "Oh, I'm going to go to my favorite college, Notre Dame." I was born out that way, and so I thought . . . I was so naive because the application process came about and, like I said, I had no idea what I was doing. I realized, "Oh." Right at the very . . . once I started applying, I'm like, "Wait a second. Tuition, money costs and stuff for going out of state versus in state, no one really told me about this."

Dr. Chan: Notre Dame is expensive, yeah.

Eddie: Yes. And so I was just applying to a few colleges in Utah. Yeah, I had a lot of help. And what's nice is the application process is pretty simple. It walks you through it.

Dr. Chan: Were you trying to find schools that had a good kind of premed program, or were you kind of thinking along those lines back then?

Eddie: Once again, I didn't even realize there was a premed program, that there were certain premed classes you had to take. I just assumed, "Hey, you have to take some science classes in college. You have to do . . ." Well, that's all I really thought. I didn't realize there was an MCAT. I didn't realize there was all the extracurricular things you had to do. Once again, I've been so naive in this process.

And so I started applying to certain schools I felt like I could do well and get in, get scholarships. Because having a single mother raising five kids, I was going to have to pay for myself.

I applied to SUU and got a full ride there. But then I was also playing football and I had Utah State looking at me kind of. And so I applied up there. I got in. I ended up going to Utah State because I was going to play football, but they just wanted . . . I didn't really like the position I was going for.

Dr. Chan: What position were you playing?

Eddie: So I was a really good kicker in high school and they wanted me to kick. I hated it. I love having the ball. I loved catching the ball and getting tackled, or being tackled.

Dr. Chan: Yeah.

Eddie: And so I played tight end and outside linebacker, and I wanted to go for those positions, but being 5'11" . . . I am a bigger dude, but being 5'11" and playing those positions, it wouldn't work.

Dr. Chan: Yeah.

Eddie: And so they wanted me to kick. And I remember going up to Utah State and I was a preferred walk-on, so I would have made the team, but it just did not vibe with me. I didn't like the culture, didn't like the type of individuals I'd be around all the time and the time commitment. I felt that I was going to become a doctor. I didn't have time for this. And so it was either school or athletics.

Dr. Chan: And athletics is a full-time job at that time.

Eddie: Yes.

Dr. Chan: I've had a few friends who've played college athletics, football, basketball, track. You know, when they talk about it, it's like, "Wow." The practice time and the commitment, it kind of takes the fun out of the sport. Almost universally, it's a full-time job.

Eddie: Yeah.

Dr. Chan: On top of school.

Eddie: Yeah. So I got there and just I didn't like it, and so then I had a decision, "Do I figure out how to get down to SUU or just stay at Utah State?" And just decided to stay at Utah State.

It was funny because I tried to leave Utah State a couple times, applied down to The U or UVU and stuff. Got in, didn't get the scholarships I got up there, so I just stayed up there. Yeah, that was my journey to . . .

Dr. Chan: So how was it like going from American Fork to Logan?

Eddie: It was different.

Dr. Chan: More snow?

Eddie: It was freezing. I still don't know why I'm in Utah. I do not like the cold. This time of the year is miserable. It's dark all the time. It's cold. I hate it. But I have family here. You know, I got into The U, which I'm like, "You know what? I can't pass this up."

But yeah, going up to Logan was . . . it was a lot different. It's a lot smaller. Growing up in American Fork, it's kind of a smaller field, but you're really close to everything. And Logan, you're not close to anything, and you have to drive through the canyon, and so it was a cultural change.

A lot of outdoors things, but growing up I was a city boy. And so I didn't find a lot of joy doing those things, so that's another reason why it just wasn't my type of place, but there are a lot of excellent things that happened. And some of the life-changing courses that took place, or events, that's happened in Logan. So I am very appreciative for my time up in Logan.

Dr. Chan: And how did the premed activities go? We're not only talking about the science classes, but we're also talking research and community service. What did that look like for you? How did you get involved?

Eddie: So the premed advisor, Yvonne, she was phenomenal. She was . . .

Dr. Chan: Shout-out to Yvonne who is listening right now.

Eddie: Seriously. She saved me. And to get to this point, a lot of the reason why I'm here is because of her. Because once again, I was naive, had no idea what I was doing. Oh my gosh.

First off, the science classes, that was a journey. There were a few of those, they call them "weeding out" classes. And those were fun. Science isn't my strong suit. I'm more of a social science individual. I've always done really well with the human development and sociology, or psychology and stuff. And so those were difficult, but I still got through.

And then the extracurriculars, that's honestly where I truly came to love the premed process. Because I've always been one where I look at, you know, it's important to get to your goal and reach that destination, but it's what you become in the process that is crucial. And it was those extracurricular activities that helped me become the man I am now and developed me to get to this point.

And so I first started off by doing a lot of volunteering. You know, you have those typical volunteering, research, and different paths that a lot of premeds do. And I've always been one where I need to find something I enjoy. If I don't enjoy it, I'm going to have a really rough time doing it and truly loving it. And so I started off at a women's shelter up in Logan.

Dr. Chan: Okay.

Eddie: And I volunteered there for about two and a half years, and it was the most incredible . . .

Dr. Chan: Were you doing counseling, or what were you doing?

Eddie: No. I was just helping out with . . . I was on the crisis hotline taking in calls.

Dr. Chan: That's a little counseling.

Eddie: Yeah, I guess, a little bit. Well, actually I did do a little counseling. I did a lot of child counseling. The mothers would go to their women's groups, so I would take all the kids and we would do our own type of children's counseling group setting.

Dr. Chan: Cool.

Eddie: That was phenomenal. I would go back into the shelter and work with families, interact with the kids and mothers, and then just run a bunch of different errands that the shelter needed and assist that way.

But probably my all-time favorite was the . . . let's see. What was it called? Rape Prevention Education. I would go to high schools and they would teach girls protective techniques, like combat . . . I guess combat skills or something in case they . . .

Dr. Chan: Defense skills.

Eddie: Defense skills, there we go. I was trying to find the word.

Dr. Chan: Maneuvers.

Eddie: Yeah. And so I'd get beat up. We would teach them and I'd put on this red padded suit and they would just beat the snot out of me.

Dr. Chan: They'd for the eyes, the groin, the nose.

Eddie: Oh, yeah, plenty. And so that was probably my all-time favorite because you're teaching these individuals skills that can save them in the future.

Dr. Chan: That's fascinating. How did you get into that stuff?

Eddie: I was researching. I'm like, "Okay, I need some community service," and it just popped up one day. And I called in and it was . . . yeah, it was probably one of the greatest decisions I've made. And so I did that.

Research, I worked in the . . . let's see. What was it? It was a childhood athletic lab where they worked with . . . they researched parents' involvement with their children's athletics.

Dr. Chan: Okay.

Eddie: And so I got to crunch numbers and look at things that way. That was fascinating. And what else? I was in school for so long I feel like there are so many odds and ends that I did just to get exposure to different aspects of . . .

Dr. Chan: But it sounds like there were a lot of people that were helping you, rallying to your cause, pushing you forward.

Eddie: Very much so, yeah. Especially Yvonne because . . . I would go to her all the time and be like, "Okay, I don't know what I'm doing. Where do I go with this? How do I go about this?" And she would spell things out. We sat multiple times just talking and discussing things.

Dr. Chan: And then your wife, you mentioned your wife.

Eddie: Yes.

Dr. Chan: So you met her up in Logan?

Eddie: I met her my last semester, or in my last year of school, towards the end of my . . . yeah.

Dr. Chan: In Logan or back in American Fork?

Eddie: In Logan.

Dr. Chan: In Logan.

Eddie: Yeah.

Dr. Chan: So when you told her you wanted to go to med school, what was that conversation like?

Eddie: Oh my goodness.

Dr. Chan: Was she super jazzed or like, "Oh my gosh"?

Eddie: I don't think she fully understood what it entails. But she's always been supportive. She's my rock and she definitely is one where if I'm getting out of line and I'm not working as hard as I need to, she's like, "Hey, you need to get your butt in gear. Let's kick it up, because you're not showing that you're going to be able to do this." And so that's always been a good driving force.

And yeah, bringing it up to her the first time, she's like, "Oh, that's really cool." Because her family's really . . . all my in-laws are very . . . education is very important to them. And going places and stuff has been very important.

Dr. Chan: How did you guys meet?

Eddie: We actually met in a basketball class.

Dr. Chan: Oh, okay.

Eddie: So we have a little PE basketball classes up at Utah State. I took it and we ended up playing after class a few times with a couple buddies. And it took a little bit because she didn't notice me. I didn't notice her. She was just some cool girl that . . . she was this tall girl that would play basketball.

Dr. Chan: Yeah. Great jump shot.

Eddie: Oh, yeah, good jump shot. She can shoot it from deep. It's funny. She's six feet. She doesn't really have any post moves. But she can shoot it from three-point all day and her defense is locked down. So we'd play and I just got to notice her more like, "Huh." My buddy, he's like, "You know what? You should ask her out." I'm like, "Maybe I will." And then I did and best decision of my life.

Dr. Chan: Awesome. And I think at Utah State you did some radio stuff?

Eddie: I did.

Dr. Chan: Yeah.

Eddie: Oh my gosh, yes.

Dr. Chan: So how did you get into that? Because you do have the smooth, sultry voice.

Eddie: I've had so many people tell me that, even in high school and stuff. They're like, "Your voice would be perfect for radio." I had no idea how to get into radio. I still would love to get into radio and figure out . . . and I love sports.

So I had a talk show at Utah State, at U Radio, that was all about sports. I'd always walk by, because it's down in the main student center. You'd walk by the radio station. And so I'm like, "You know what? Maybe I'll figure out someone I can talk to, to maybe see if I can jump on the radio." And found somebody and they're like, "Hey, we're looking for some sports talk show hosts and stuff." Yeah, jumped on it and had a couple cohosts. Oh, it was a blast.

Dr. Chan: So it wasn't right after games. It was during the week?

Eddie: Yeah, it was during the week.

Dr. Chan: And you'd kind of like analyze it, break it down, projections kind of thing?

Eddie: Yeah. We weren't really supposed to talk a lot about the actual college sports because there are a lot of rules and regulations with stuff like that. We couldn't interview players and things because all the contracts. I don't even know how that works. But we would talk about the upcoming week. We would make our picks for the NFL, college, big college games.

Dr. Chan: Okay, so it wasn't just Aggie sports? It was everything?

Eddie: Yeah, it was everything. Yeah, football, basketball were our main things. We'd talk a little baseball and stuff, but yeah, we had certain sections that we would . . . what was it called? Bystander Opinion or something? Me and one of my cohosts, we didn't see eye to eye on a few different topics, and so we'd always debate. And we would pull individuals from outside in and we'd be like, "Hey, what's your take? Whose side are you on here?" And we would take a few and the winner would get bragging rights for the week and stuff.

Dr. Chan: Did you have people call in?

Eddie: They couldn't figure out the phone systems.

Dr. Chan: Okay.

Eddie: It was funny, though. My stepdad would always . . .

Dr. Chan: I've listened to a little talk radio sports. Not you guys, unfortunately. But that's where you get some of the very interesting takes.

Eddie: Yes.

Dr. Chan: When people call in with very interesting opinions about things, yeah.

Eddie: My family would listen in, especially my stepdad. He religiously would listen in. And he'd always be texting me. And so he would text me certain things on the topics we were talking about and I would chime in. I'd be like, "Oh, [Nappy 00:20:30] says this about this topic," and stuff. So it was kind of like that, but no. Yeah, I wish we would have had the phones because he would have called in all the time.

Dr. Chan: Yeah. All right. Eddie, you're doing great at Utah State. A lot of different activities. Yvonne's helping you. What was your strategy going into the med school application process? Did you apply to a lot of schools? A few schools since you were getting married, since you just met Taya?

Eddie: Taya.

Dr. Chan: Did you kind of want to stay local? I mean, what was the strategy going in?

Eddie: Goodness. It was just get into college, or to med school, "Let's just get in." And so I looked at my application and I was trying to figure out, "Okay, how do I rank?"GPA was pretty good. MCAT score, that really . . . I took it right after I graduated in 2017 and I literally bombed it. It was really rough. And so I waited a year, took a gap year, and that's when I actually found . . . I was working on my application, studying for the MCAT, getting things going that way. And then took the MCAT in 2018, did okay.

Dr. Chan: Did better.

Eddie: Did a lot better, but it was still where it comes to the average of the nation and stuff, I'm like, "Oh, I don't know how this is going to work, but I'm going to apply." And I looked into D.O. schools, I looked into M.D. schools, and I just started sending out my applications. So all summer I just spent hours upon hours working on applications and . . .

Dr. Chan: Do you remember how many you sent out?

Eddie: Oh my gosh.

Dr. Chan: More than 10? More than 30?

Eddie: It was probably in the 20s.

Dr. Chan: Okay. Cha-ching.

Eddie: Yeah. Well, what's nice is when you grow up with little money, there are fee assistance programs. The AAMC has a fee assistance that will help you, and that really saved my bank. I'd been saving up money for this process. And even with the money I'd saved up, with the fee assistance, my bank account just tanked. And so I was very grateful for that. It allows you to send a certain number of applications out, and then you can get fee waivers for secondary applications and stuff. So that did save me a lot.

So I did that. But yeah, honestly it was mostly time. I'd be okay if I sent a little bit more money and didn't have to write all these applications because . . . oh my goodness.

Dr. Chan: It's exhausting.

Eddie: Yes.

Dr. Chan: So 20 or so applications. How many interview offers started to come in?

Eddie: So I was later in the process. First off, I took the MCAT in . . . I think it was July, June or July. So I didn't get my application out until end of July, early August, which by that time people are already starting to get offers and stuff. And so I was nervous that I wasn't going to get anything.

But I ended up with . . . let's see. My first interview was out in the Uniformed Services University. And then I came here, was my second one. I had one in a D.O. school out in Texas. And then I had one, an offer, in a Virginia school, middle of nowhere. I decided to decline that one because, one, I had no idea . . . I did not want to live in the middle of nowhere. But then also I had one at Meharry Medical School. And so I had five offers.

Dr. Chan: Okay.

Eddie: Went to four of them, and then I got into three schools.

Dr. Chan: So why Utah? Why did you choose this place? What sealed the deal for you?

Eddie: Yes. Well, what was interesting . . .

Dr. Chan: Especially as someone who wanted to go out of state.

Eddie: Oh, I wanted to. Well, what was nice, Taya was all about just, "Let's get in." She was all for going out of state. She was so excited to leave if we were to leave, or stay if we were to stay. She didn't care. "Let's just start this next journey in our process."

So I first got into a school out in Texas. There's a D.O. school out there and I was just stoked. I got wait-listed here, and so I didn't really know I was even going to get in. So I was just planning on going to . . .

Dr. Chan: Interesting. Okay.

Eddie: Yeah, I was planning on going to Texas. I went out to Meharry. I got in there. But did not really like the school. Just the culture about the place, it just did not vibe with me very well.

Dr. Chan: Very East Coasty, yeah.

Eddie: Yeah. And even the interview just turned me off because it was very disorganized. It almost seemed like it was just thrown together. And so I just got a bad vibe about that, the location of it. Yeah. And so they offered me. I just declined it, because I'd already gotten into the school in Texas.

Dr. Chan: Okay.

Eddie: And so me and Taya were planning on going out to Texas, and we actually had made plans to go out to Texas. And we were going to visit. I think it was June 1st we were flying out. Well, I think it was like May 16th or 17th I get a call from Dr. Chan.

Dr. Chan: I remember talking to you.

Eddie: Oh my gosh.

Dr. Chan: You were very, very happy.

Eddie: Well, I was dumbfounded because . . .

Dr. Chan: A little, I think, shocked. Yeah.

Eddie: Yeah. It was funny. I remember exactly where I was. I was in my extra room studying, or working on applications actually. I can't remember what I was doing, but I do remember where I was. And it was early in the morning and I was just . . . my wife was like, "Hey, you got a phone call." And I look on it, "University of Utah School of Medicine." I'm like, "Oh, no. Is this seriously . . ." I answer the phone. "Hey, is this Edward Holloway?" "Yes." "This is Dr. Chan." My mouth just drops. My wife's just sitting there like, "Oh my goodness."

And so then it was a deciding process. Do we go out to Texas or do we go to Utah? You know, we went out to Texas, we saw it, and we're like, "You know what? This is an awesome place." We love Texas. The school, though, it's a brand new school. I think they're in their third year this year. And just their curriculum and everything, it just didn't really . . . I don't know. It didn't sit with me very well. And I remember coming up here for the interview. I just loved it. And we also have family here.

Dr. Chan: Yeah.

Eddie: And so tuition's cheaper because it's in state. Also, the university is just a phenomenal medical school. And it's funny because back in high school . . . we're going back now. When I first decided I wanted to be a doctor, I started rooting for The U because they had a medical school.

Dr. Chan: Wow.

Eddie: And just rooting for them in sports.

Dr. Chan: I don't think you can do that in American Fork.

Eddie: Oh, no. Well, the thing was, too, everyone was BYU fans.

Dr. Chan: It's kind of like the seat of Utah County.

Eddie: Oh my gosh, yes. Everyone was BYU fans and they just irritated me. Because BYU fans, there's just something about them that just irritates the heck out of me. Oh my gosh. And there's just this BYU pride that I get a sickening taste in my mouth. And so I'm like, "I'm not rooting for BYU." I didn't even know about Utah State. "Utah had a medical school. I'm going to root for Utah." And so that was also . . .

It was kind of like a dream to get into The University of Utah. And they've always been, I remember, a top 50 medical school, even back in high school for me, like 14, 15 years ago. And so I'm just like, "You know what? Utah is an awesome school. The education will be top notch. The location, though it's in Utah, we have family here." My wife was pregnant, as well, at the time, so I'm like, "Okay, that would be support there." And all these things, I'm just like, "You know what? Can I bear another four winters in Utah? Yeah." And so that was the decision.

Dr. Chan: Okay. And how is your first semester going?

Eddie: Oh my goodness. Like I mentioned earlier, it's the journey. You become something in the process. And this has been such a molding semester. I'd had two years off. The closest thing I had to education was teaching preschool. So I taught preschool for the year prior to med school, and that does not prepare you for med school. I mean, it was awesome. The character development was phenomenal. But when it comes to all of the information that they throw on you, I was not ready for this.

And I'd also taken all my premed classes really quickly in my undergrad, so it had been . . . I think 2014 was the last time I took some science classes. So it's been a lot of trial and error and figuring out, one, how to learn. Two, they always talk about you're drinking from a fire hose.

Dr. Chan: Yeah.

Eddie: Didn't fully understand that until they threw us into the weeds of things. And literally, that's a really good representation of what it feels like, all the information they throw at you.

And over the course of this time, it's kicked my butt. Hands down kicked my butt. It's been a struggle. And there are nights where I'm like, "I don't think I can do this." Especially in the beginning, I was like, "I'm just going to fail. I'm not going to make it. There is no way this is even possible." And as time's gone on, I've come to learn how I'm learning, been able to grasp the material a little bit better.

I'm figuring this out a little late, but I'm grateful for just how foundations, the first semester of medical school, is run and the focus on, "Figure out how you learn. Figure out how you're going to do this. Build that foundation so that you can better prepare for the next few years."

And so, like I said, it's been a trying process. It's been probably one of the hardest things I've had to do, and I've learned more in the past three months than I have probably in my lifetime, but it's been great.

Dr. Chan: Any pleasant surprises the first semester?

Eddie: You know, it's more than just school. It's more than just sitting down in a class learning material. You're also interacting with patients. They call it clinical methods and stuff.

Dr. Chan: Clinical Method Curriculum, yeah. CMC.

Eddie: Yeah. So when you're learning that, I was pleasantly surprised at how well I did. I mean, I've always been good with people. I was a waiter for 11 years of my life and stuff. I interact with people really well. But to see how it translates into medicine and being able to interact with people and do certain skills on them, it was nice to see, "Hey, I'm not completely hopeless when it comes to medical school. There are some aspects that I'm really good at." That's helped me and given me strength to keep going.

Dr. Chan: That's been reassuring.

Eddie: Yes. It's like, "You know what? I do belong here." Even if I'm still trying to figure out the whole academic side of things, you know how to work with people, you know how to make them feel comfortable and make it so that they know that you're going to take care of them. And so now it's just taking this information and learning the proper academics to benefit them even more.

Dr. Chan: Well, Eddie, I'm just so happy that you're here. I just see you around the library sometimes and you just seem to be doing really well. And I know it's been a big adjustment with all the material, but I'm just glad that you're here.

And I guess my last question is, Eddie, what would you say to anyone out there listening who's maybe on the fence, if they're not sure if they want to apply to med school or not, or maybe struggling a bit and they're not sure . . . you know, they've hit the wall. What would you say to them? What advice would you give to them?

Eddie: Oh my goodness. You will continually hit walls in med school and just in life in general. I've hit so many walls in my upbringing, my scholastic career, and even socially. Just every aspect, you're going to hit walls. What's important is how you get over them or how you break through them.

And if you really feel like medicine would be a good career for you, go for it. You're going to hit walls. You're going to struggle, but that's the journey. And you learn and grow. And as clichÈ as it sounds, you pick yourself up, you dust yourself off, and you learn, you grow from your failures. And that couldn't be more true in medicine.

You know, it's going to be hard, but nothing worthwhile is going to be easy. If it was just handed to me and med school was just a breeze, I wouldn't be where I'm at or wouldn't have grown to the degree that I have.

And I'm actually very appreciative for the walls I've hit, the struggles I've gone through, and even all the doubts that I've had to becoming a doctor, because there are many times I'm like . . . in undergrad, I was like, "I'm not doing this. I don't want to be a doctor. I don't want to go down this path anymore." But I stuck through it, and by doing so, it solidified even more my desire, which then, as you get going further along, you see how much that has impacted your drive and your desire.

Those problems, those walls, those failures, they add fuel to the fire if you allow them to. So for those out there that are on the fence or they're struggling and stuff, just keep going. There are resources out there that can help you. Push through, fight, and by doing so, you're going to thank yourself in the long run.

If I could look back on past Eddie many years ago, I'd be like, "You know what? Thank you for keeping going. You've done so well."

Has it sucked? Oh my gosh, yes. But you know what? I am who I am now because I sucked it up. And it was miserable. I'm like, "You know what? I'm going to bear through this." And so, yeah, I would probably say that.

Dr. Chan: Beautiful, Eddie. Well, we'll have to have you come back on the pod and get updates as you go through.

Eddie: Oh, definitely.

Dr. Chan: And then maybe next time, we can talk a little bit more sports, because I would love to have your hot takes on things.

Eddie: Oh, heck yes. I would gladly.

Dr. Chan: Do you still have time to kind of follow sports, or is school a little too busy?

Eddie: Oh, no, I've got some time. Yeah, I have a little time.

Dr. Chan: Okay. All right. Well, I mean next time. Eddie, thank you for coming on. Thank you for taking a break from your studies. And we're going to have you come back because I want to hear more about your journey in med school and how it goes.

Eddie: That would be great, yes. I appreciate your time. This has been a dream. It's so funny because I look back and I remember you'd come to Utah State so many times and I'm like, "Oh my gosh, that's Dr. Chan." We would worship you because you're the guy that gets us into med school. Now I'm here talking with you.

Dr. Chan: Yvonne's the one that helped you get into med school.

Eddie: It's true, but you're the one looking at our application and you're like, "Hey, we want you."

Dr. Chan: It's the committee. Well, Eddie, I'm so glad you're here.

Eddie: Thank you so much, sir. I appreciate 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 thescoperadio.com.

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