Revisit: 2015 Q & A


Our fourth program recorded in front of a live audience. We recently held a Q&A session for prospective Pritzker students attending the 2015 Pritzker Revisit. Four students—Luai Zakaria, Karla Garcia-Huerta, Julie Mhlaba, and Robert Sanchez—field questions about medical school and life outside of school.

If you have questions for us, please send them to pritzkerquestions@gmail.com. Or, call (773) 336-2POD and leave us a message.

[Music: “Siren Song”, Gonzales]


Episode 47 Transcript

Sam Loren: [0:00] Hello and welcome. You’re listening to the Pritzker podcast from the University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine.

[0:07] [music]

Sam: [0:25] Hello, listeners. Welcome to episode 54 of the Pritzker podcast. I’m Sam Loren. This episode features the student panel from the “2015 Pritzker Revisit.” On the panel, students talk about their experiences here at the University of Chicago and answer questions from the audience. You’ll hear from Luai a first-year, Karla a second-year, Julie a third-year, and Rob a fourth-year. We hope you enjoy the episode.

[0:52] [background noise]

Karla Garcia: [0:53] OK, guys. My name is Karla, and I’m one of the fourth-years. I’m so happy you guys are here and welcome to Revisit Day number two. I just want to let you guys know how this going to work.

[1:07] First, you guys should have picked up a panelist five when you walked in. If you don’t have one, please raise your hand and we can hand you one. The purpose of this panel is really just to get to know our student body, their interests, and maybe some things that you guys are interested in.

[1:24] It’s supposed to be an open forum. I have questions that I have put together for them, if you guys are a little shy about asking. I just want to introduce our panelists first. Representing our first years is…I’m going to mess it up.

Luai Zakaria: [1:39] Luai.

Karla: [1:40] Luai, awesome. We’ve got Karla Garcia, also with us Julia Mhlaba and Robert Sanchez. Sorry. The way this is going to work is Sam and Mike is going to help us. They are going to be in control of the mic.

[1:56] If you have a question, raise your hand and we’ll hand you the mic. We’re voice recording this all, so that people that couldn’t make it here can still have the experience that you guys are having. Please work with us with the AV needs.

[2:10] To start it off, the first question I’m going to ask all the panelists is, describe what’s going on during this current academic year. Tell us a challenge that you had to face this year, and something that’s been rewarding.

Robert Sanchez: [2:29] What’s up guys? How are you doing? How’s breakfast? A little bit about first year. You’ve probably heard a lot about first year. I guess I’ll talk more about the challenges. In having all your classes, heard it multiply times I’m sure.

[2:48] In Anatomy, was kind of the biggest challenge for me. Just coming in I was really nervous about what dissection would entail, and the transition from what I was doing before. I was doing research for a year, and in college I studied engineering in college.

[3:08] Coming in, I didn’t know how I would be able to memorize all this information at one time, and of course, part of it was dissection and whatnot. It ended up actually–I loved Anatomy at the end, and is all because of the support that surrounds the Pritzker’s community, and the TAs.

[3:30] I can already point out some TAs already here in the room, and they will really help you out. The staff is really great. All the challenges at first year kind of are overcome by the staff.

Karla: [3:50] Hi guys. Second year. I don’t really know how much you guys have learned second year and all, so I’ll just go through really quickly. I know after first year, a lot of the early people do whatever they want in summer. A lot of people stay and do summer research program, do research here at school. It’s what I did l last summer.

[4:12] I worked with my mentor, Dr. Mento who was in the NICU. It was awesome. I was able to do research with him within the project that he’s had for many years, and then I also was able to do shout out in the NICU and for rounds which was awesome.

Robert: [4:29] Can you tell them what NICU is?

Karla: [4:31] Oh, I’m sorry. The NICU is the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, so it’s all the intensive admitted that are in the hospital. That was really interesting. It was really cool to be on the scene like people do every day in the hospital and how rounds work, and Josh Mento was hilarious. It was a really good time.

[4:50] Then actually helped to plan orientation last year; so, what you guys will do in August, I was busy doing that in the summer as well. Then I actually went on the remedy trip. Remedies are a student fitness service abroad, so went to Peru to do cervical cancer screening. That was September.

[5:12] Then second year officially doesn’t start until late September, so you have a really long summer. Actually, you have pretty short second year.

[5:20] Once second year starts, then you take a couple of classes for six weeks: Neurobiology, pharmacology, and then human behavior. That was just a quick class, a couple of classes. Then in October, or maybe in November…?

Robert: [5:39] November.

Karla: [5:40] …In November. How can you remember all that…? We start our class called CPP&T, clinical pathophysiology and therapeutics which is current a class that is like a baby class. The kids they loved it, and it’s an amazing, amazing, amazing class. I just finished it about three weeks ago, and it really just prepares you.

[6:01] It’s actually when you actually use real medicine. That’s why the people say it’s one of the most rewarding things about second year. Is you’re here, and you’re actually learning medicine school. A lot of…

[6:12] [laughter]

Karla: [6:13] …What lab am I going to order? How do you treat this, and et cetera? What is this? Is it right, and how does it work? That was really rewarding. Then March ends, and then we get a six week clock to study for set one, which everybody has to take before May 1st.

[6:32] That’s what I’m currently doing right now. You can do anything you want, and a lot of my classmates go home and study at home. Some people just stay here, and go to the library. I personally just stay at my apartment, because I can just roll out of bed and start studying, and I don’t have to like shower.

[6:49] [laughter]

Karla: [6:50] Don’t worry I did shower today?

[6:51] [laughter]

Karla: [6:54] That’s what I’m currently doing. I feel like that’s probably what I was going to say is pretty challenging about second year, is that it gets real. It’s really cool. You learn a lot of stuff, but then it’s also like, “Oh my gosh. I really have to know all this stuff, and not just for myself now for the score, but for my patients in the future.”

[7:14] I mean second, really, has its ups and downs. It’s challenging, but it’s been pretty good stuff.

[7:23] After you take step one, you’re really excited because you put in intense effort of studying. At Pritzker, it is actually pretty unusual, you will see that comment a lot, as in most schools you won’t.

[7:34] We have basically free five weeks. We really spend it doing research, but a lot of people will take that opportunity to travel, improve their research abroad. Some people will call their patient if they’re not doing that too, so busy too. Some people will take their time to elaborate on paper that was based on their research from the previous summer.

[7:53] I started doing a continuation of my old project that it actually requires me to be in the hospital. I was covering more data. Some people would do that too, but it’s five weeks that you basically can start to breathe before you start third year. It’s really, really nice to have those five weeks.

[8:07] It’s the summer in Chicago, and that’s also interesting, one of the amazing things. That’s really great about the internship. After that, we start third year, I want to say, in June…?

Julie Mhlaba: [8:17] June 24th.

[8:18] [laughter and crosstalk]

Julie: [8:20] I was ready for it, for I was already planning on my vacation…

[8:24] [laughter and crosstalk]

Karla: [8:25] Actually, you do the five years for some research. Then you have an extra week, I think, where some people take the course that can help prepare you for third year. It’s an optional course.

[8:33] I was able to take that. About half of the class take that study, and then other half travel or visit family. Then you start third year with a pretty in-depth orientation. You learn all about the hospital, how to get around. They prepare you really well for that. Then you start third year.

[8:48] Basically, you’ll learn more about this in the new curriculum panel, as you need to go. We have six rotations, or seven, but six that you take during third year. We’ll do medicine and surgery. Those are each three months. Or we got MPs. Those are each six weeks, and then we do what we call the triplet which is psychiatry, neurology, and family medicine. Those are each one month.

[9:09] I will say third year, basically the way that you determine which way your schedule is, is based on a lot of the system, and you can bring. Some say of what you get in terms of which order you take those rotations in. It’s a really amazing year.

[9:21] Now, let’s talk about second year you are actually learning medicine. Then third year, you’re actually getting to see it in the hospital, and practice it. You’re learning. It’s amazing how much you can learn every single day, and I think there are obviously a lot of challenges to it. Probably the biggest thing was just walking up early, was for me, and having to be somewhere.

[9:43] I used to think it was really early when we had class at eight o’clock, and when I get to be somewhere at eight o’clock, I’m so happy. Sometimes, you have to get to the hospital, and you’re like 4:30, you’re 5:00.

[9:52] That’s really hard, but it also teaches you to be responsible, and teaches you to be accountable, and in those positions. That is the most important thing. I think you learn a lot about yourself, and your time management, how you function, and the stress involved in third year. It’s really friendlier.

[10:08] There are so many amazing parts of it. You might have a patient one day who might change your life, and you’ll remember forever. You’ll get to do something that you never thought you could do. There are a lot of highs and lows to it, but it’s definitely a wonderful year, and there are a lot that really prepares you for it, and then use that. You’re preparing for the rest of your career.

Robs: [10:28] Hey, guys I’m Robs. I’m a fourth year. In terms of fourth year basic– It’s great because you’re not in third year anymore.

[10:36] [laughter]

Rob: [10:39] Fourth year is actually really great. It works out really simple just because all of the requirements are low. Basically you have to take a month from the sub-internship and a month of emergency medicine rotation. Everything else is pretty much up to you.

[10:51] [crosstalk and laughter]

Rob: [10:56] But, after that electives are completely up to you. You can craft whatever you want out of it. I took advantage of a lot of cool stuff. I did this really great procedure service, which I really wanted to get better at. I got to do a lot of punctures and a lot of thoracenteses, and a lot of paracenteses, which is basically just dripping Kool-Aid out of different orifices in the body. You can relax; you didn’t even know you could collect it there. You get to do it.

[11:18] You learn from these great tentative. The stress is super low because basically everything is passes and fails, you’re going to pass. You’re just there to learn. It’s all formative. There are a lot of other electives that are classroom based, your basic sciences that you can take, you can take other types of things too. I took a medical history elective that was really great, and an elective on how to be a good teacher as a resident which I really liked. You can craft it however you want.

[11:41] You have set amount of credit hours that comes along. That being said, there are challenges that with fourth year, and I can think of three as well as three solutions that come along with it. I think the first challenge that you have to apply a residency which is a big cumbersome thing to deal with. There are forums, letters, and websites and things that you have to get put together. The big picture solution to that, number one, is our outstanding staff that we have in the office in medical education. It’s the office right behind us. They are so accessible, helpful, and responsive. As challenging as it is, it felt so great to know that I could email them and they would get back to me.

[12:20] That kind of support is really something special. I think this tie in with our class size and how much they care. They really guide us through the process. They do a very good job of doing that. I feel like that is something that is very special about here, because you won’t necessarily find that everywhere, someone who is willing to answer your questions on a Saturday afternoon about whether or not you can get this last minute letter of recommendation in. That is really special.

[12:43] The second challenge is going through the interview process, and trying to make yourself the best candidate as possible. I feel the Pritzker solution to that is, it’s advising, which is built in as well as in informal and formal ways.

[12:57] The official advising you’ve heard about, so your societies, your set mentor-ship adviser that you get assigned, the different ones that you find through your research projects and stuff like that. That stuff is good to build upon in the first couple of years, but I don’t think I really saw the value of it until I was at fourth year.

[13:14] I remember going in trying to apply for interviews and not getting a lot of responses. I sat down with my adviser, who I met as a first year in one of the free clinics, and has now become an outstanding mentor. She was like, “I’m going to write these programs right now.” Sure enough, more offers started to come in.

[13:31] Now, she was willing to go back through that for me, and I feel that’s something that’s very unique and very special, because I got the chance to know her. I wasn’t another number to her. That was something that was very special. It was very relevant that I don’t think I noticed as an early on, but as a fourth year it’s so amazing and so supportive.

[13:47] The last challenge is things becoming real. You think stuff is becoming real when you’re going to the third year stuff. It really gets real when you actually have an MD.

[13:57] [laughter]

Rob: [13:58] …It’s really crazy, but there, that’s also where your classmates and the mentors that you come to really know, really come in handy.

[14:08] My friends that have been here, my faculty who invite me into their homes here in Hyde Park, the people I can really talk about are like, “I’m about to be a doctor. What does that mean? What are the things I should be worried about? Do I need to do anything? Should I go out and have fun and have a vacation the next couple of months?” Which the answer is “Yes.”

[14:25] [laughter]

Rob: [14:26] Who’s going to go on this vacation with you? My friends in Pritzker, which is awesome. I feel that’s the last challenge of fourth years, trying to make that transition into becoming a real resident, becoming a real doctor. Again, Pritzker has so much support to overcome those challenges.

[14:43] I know it’s a lot of fun here to revisit. We definitely talk about all the great things too. There will be challenges as we’ve all highlighted, but there are definitely things that our school offers that I think are very special and unique that you can find here. If you feel like it’s a good fit I would definitely consider coming and checking it out because there is so much good stuff here, for sure.

Karla: [15:04] Awesome. Does anyone have a question for our panelist? Don’t be shy. OK. Well, I’ll ask Karla and, I forgot your name.

Luai: [15:18] Luai.

Karla: [15:19] Luai. When you guys answer the question, how do you think you develop your personal and professional relationships here at Pritzker? Try to find an example of an interaction with a faculty member that you feel like is a good role model or someone that you really look up to and have been able to ask for advice, whether it’s academic, personal, or professional.

Luai: [15:43] In your first year, you get matched in a longitudinal program. It starts in the winter quarter, and that relationship will go on for however long you wish. You’re required a set clinical hours. I was interested in pediatrics and some kind of sub specialty within pediatrics. I got matched into ENT, which is ears, nose, and throat.

[16:14] I worked really closely with a fellow first year, and the doctor had me go shadow him. We talked about history and things like that. Overall, he has given me really big insight about what I like about specific sub-specialties within pediatrics and what I don’t like. I think ENT is the top of my list right now, when it really wasn’t a thought when I came into med school.

[16:43] It’s cool that a lot of people that you interact with will shape what kind of doctor you will be. That goes beyond just the faculty, too. I think you talk to some of the fourth years, especially, like Rob and Meg in the event the other day, where he got to talk what specialty he’s going into and why he wants to go into it and he said that and stuff.

[17:07] He’s trying to sell it for me, and I really think that that kind of conversation is great to have in your first year. You don’t really know. There’s so much out there for you to choose from. It’s great to have that conversation. I think that would make me know what I want to go into and know that I made the right decision for myself.

[17:26] [buzzing]

Rob: [17:28] Will it add background this time? Do you hear that?

Julie: [17:30] Just hold it further away. Yeah.

[17:32] [laughter]

Julie: [17:37] Excuse me. I think one of the wonderful things about Pritzker is that our small class size, like Rob was saying earlier.” It makes you not just a number. It makes you a person here.” I think that this question’s actually difficult for me because I feel like there are so many mentor possibilities here that I can’t just tell you about one.

[17:58] It goes from being able to email my teacher because I really liked her nails, and she tells me what nail salon she goes to…

[18:06] [laughter]

Julie: [18:08] …to actual career advice, like sitting down with someone and being like hey, I think I’m interested in this. What I should do so that I can be the best candidate, I guess.

[18:18] Like I said, I just think there are so many opportunities and so many different ways, from your professors in class to your mentor, whoever you will do research with, to just people you admire and you talk to. If you’re interested in extracurricular, you’re also going to get to know a lot of people through that.

[18:38] You might not even know that you want them to be your mentors, and then they’ll end up being super supportive and really helpful, especially through a challenging time.

Woman 1: [18:50] Julie and Rob, what are some opportunities that you wanted to take advantage of outside of the classroom that you felt like…. Basically, what are some of the interests that you had coming into Pritzker knowing maybe it wasn’t part of the curriculum and that you had to explore?

[19:06] What opportunities were you able to take advantage of out in Chicago and the Greater Chicago area, something that you were able to individualize your own personal experience?

Julie: [19:17] I think there are so many, so I’m going to try to tailor it. I would say, when I was coming in the first year I knew I wanted to get really involved. I was excited to get going. I decided the first year to take on the majority of the student organizations.

[19:34] Things that I did before I came to school that I wanted to continue, I think one was mentor-ship. I really like working with high school students and college students, and getting them excited about health careers and science and things like that. I was looking for a program that would be similar.

[19:50] There are probably three or four that are similar, but one was kind of like exactly what I used to do. It’s called age prep, expressions with exposure program. That’s a six-week program. We bring high school students from all over the city to Pritzker.

[20:03] We talk to them about random physiology, being a doctor, being a nurse, and different kind of things like that. It’s a longitudinal program and I like that aspect of it. I got involved in that first year and I continued to do that second year.

[20:17] That being said, there are three other opportunities that I could have taken that were very similar. Another thing that I really liked to do before I came to medical school is perform.

[20:27] I was in an acappella group in college. I’ve been dancing my whole life, so when I came to Pritzker I joined the acappella group which you guys heard.

[20:40] Then we have a talent show first year. I programmed a couple dances from that, and was involved in that. Then through that became involved in a band at the University of Chicago at the hospital, then we started making videos. The first year my family was like, “Are you in medical school?”

[21:00] [laughter]

Julie: [21:05] I feel like there are so many ways to be who you are. Some of them are through the student organizations here but a lot of those things have nothing to do with…they’re not like Pritzker’s funded things. They’re just people having fun and doing what they want to do.

[21:21] If you’re into music, we play instruments, we sing. We have a place for music group, and they probably want to corner you in one of the faculty member’s homes.

Rob: [21:29] They were greeting, by the way.

Julie: [21:31] They were greeting.

[21:31] [laughter]

Julie: [21:32] So if you guys have any musical talents, let me know. I think it was, right? Where they go and play whenever we want. We have all-school talent shows–We have so many opportunities to do those things. My main ones was mentor-ship and working with community and then performance, but there are many other things I like to do.

Rob: [21:53] I think there were two big things I wanted to take advantage of before I came here. One was service, and the other one was music, but also kind of an appreciation of music in Chicago. In the service I had a great opportunity to be the coordinator for one of our free clinics. The community health clinic is out in the Ukrainian village neighborhood, just west of downtown. It serves a big Polish speaking and Spanish speaking population, and they were fantastic.

[22:20] I got a chance to be a leader in that. Not just to be in the direct service, an interpreter. Help serve them as a medical student, but also to be a leader for our group and deal with challenges that were happening, like how could we recruit more physicians? How can we get our wait times down for patients? We were implementing a new electronic medical record system at the clinic.

[22:40] Those opportunities were really great. It was really challenging but I learned a lot. It was something that I really wanted to take advantage of. I got to do it as a first year. I was the leader of that half way through my first year and into my second year. I felt like that early exposure was phenomenal. I know other places do it kind of differently, but I think ours is really great. I got a chance to go back into the clinic as a fourth year to see how it’s doing. They are doing such phenomenal work; I am really excited to have been part of that.

[23:04] That big service element, I think we have tremendous opportunities to do that in different ways. I wanted to do it in the clinic side, but you can do that in so many awesome ways. If that’s something you want to do, this is definitely the place to get that done, for sure. The other one was enjoying Chicago, one of the things I really like is music. Chicago has an excellent music scene. I love the outdoor music festivals. I went to Lollapalooza as a first year, saw one of my favorite bands from Texas there, called Heavy Dragons, they were amazing.

[23:33] I went to Pitchfork as a junior, excuse me, third year. I had an outstanding time. I love all the small music venues. You can see anything from Hip-Hop to Country, to really random Indie, really whatever you want. I am kind of eclectic so I went to see all of those. Those things are really great. There are so many fun and free events outdoors at Millennium park, especially in the summer when it’s nice out, but even when it’s not as nice. Being right here by the lake, enjoying all the opportunities a big city like this has to offer, I really got to enjoy that outside of the classroom.

[24:09] Even here, I have never done a lot of the stuff, but here they ask you to beat box, so I said, “Sure, I’ll do that.”

[24:16] I really enjoying being able to perform at some of the faculty’s houses. They go and perform at the Children’s Hospital, too, and provide stuff for them too. Just knowing that exists is really cool. Even if you don’t have talents, it’s really cool to…

[24:29] [crosstalk]

Julie: [24:31] …That’s impossible! We all have talent!

[24:33] [laughs]

Rob: [24:34] I’m sure you do! But, even if you didn’t you’d be able to see people do all these cool stuff, and be like, “Yeah! It’s awesome!” You really get to appreciate that. We have a really vibrant and supportive community for all those kinds of stuff, outside of the classroom. It’s so important.

Karla: [24:53] OK guys, some of you have questions, yes?

Questioner: [25:04] I was wondering if any of you have had inter-professional experiences since you have been here. Either, with other healthcare providers as part of outside health curriculum, or even stuff completely unrelated to healthcare, research and pharmacy or anything like that?

Karla: [25:21] Yes, I can start. I was interested–After I did anatomy first year, and especially after I did surgery. I don’t if you guys can probably do a lot of stuff. We have these tracks that we can choose from, so I wanted to do quality and safety just because I was interested in that.

[25:38] I didn’t know much about it, so they told us to talk to Dr. Lora who is in scholarship in discovery, she is a Den in Discovery. She’s like, “We need to go talk to this guy, and I’ll send her in.” I went to talk to him, he is an urologist and he started this new research project that was called the Operative Research Institute.

[25:54] He was looking at things in the OR. He doesn’t have a business degree, but he was really interested in working with people from the business school. I joined that lab my first year, and I’ve been working with them for the past three years.

[26:05] We work with a lot of people from the business school, a lot of people from the design schools around Chicago. People from–social science–From every single kind of realm of the campus, and outside the Chicago area, we work with. Our lab meetings are really an opportunity to learn from and work with people from all over. I found that to be really exciting.

[26:28] I guess, this is something that I haven’t done, but one of my best volunteer. She doesn’t mean–Well, before the scholarship. She works, basically, with students from the social services administration school, a couple of other programs.

[26:39] They meet every Friday, and they work on projects that relate to social science issues in the community. Through that organization, she’s been able to do a lot with them. Those are two more research focus based that you can get involved with groups of people from different schools.

Julie: [26:57] I’m sorry. I’m going to chime in a bit. Actually during the third year, I worked a lot with a nurse practitioner on medical services that I was one. I learned a great deal about what they bring to the table, and how they serve as continuity of care throughout all our medical services, or like a PA, and the nurse practitioner, all of those services.

[27:19] I learned a lot from her. She was a great person that I actually thought the inside scoop about what attending wanted what. I think it was nice to really get to know her, and in the end, my team was really close.

[27:29] We ended up going out, for an all service dinner together. All the residents, and all of the nurse practitioners in that practice. It was awesome, and I think it was a great experience where you really actually get to work daily with someone that, I think, you don’t get exposed to during your first two years, really.

[27:45] They are such an asset to the medical community, and so it’s great to see how they work.

Karla: [27:51] I am interested in psychiatry which, I think, most of have to do a lot with social science… Through my last one, two medical experiences, I talked a little bit about that, I wasn’t doing psychiatrist yet.

[28:06] One of my clinic hours, I actually didn’t go to the clinic. We went downtown to a meeting that they have with all of the mental health organizations in the city. They all meet, and talk about what they’re going to work on together to get like laws and stuff passed for mental health issues. That was cool to see. I was able to shout out and see if that was a thing because I didn’t know that was a thing.

[28:43] [laughter]

Karla: [28:44] Now, I’m actually switching. I’m actually doing a new research project starting after step one. I’m going to be working with one of the PhD doctors which…she’s not an MD. She’s a clinical psychologist who’s in doing an intervention program for preteens that are susceptible to depression.

[29:04] We’re going to be working with her and a lot of social workers from DePaul University, which is in the northern part of Chicago and other clinical psychologists. Well, there are not any MDs at all. I’m just super excited about it. I think that it’s really just kind of pushing a little in a different way, because I get all the medicine stuff in med school.

[29:26] Everyone actually is a third year but I really will never be exposed to this much unless I practice.

Julie: [29:30] Thanks you Karla. We have a class where you take first and second year to develop clinical skills. The second year is more just about learning kind of special populations, different things that you don’t really learn anywhere else.

[29:42] One thing that we started my year, and they probably continued it. They added an inter-professional lecture series. They’ve been entering that more. We have a lecture on what are the different rules of every different hospital because they make a lot of rules that we don’t know.

[29:55] I think that that’s a really important point that you kind of brought up. I think that in particular is trying to respond to that. It will slowly be kind of rolling out in the next few years, I’m guessing.

Karla: [30:05] You do get exposure to these people. I think it’s just how you receptive you are in the hospital. I didn’t know what a coordinator was, so I just ask her. “What’s your job? How did you get this? What do you do?” I think it’s just being thoughtful and mindful.

[30:17] I remember as a first year, I rounded with one of my mentors. I basically hung out with the pharmacist for about the entire time. I learned more about drugs and their interactions than I ever did in the classroom just because that’s her field. Pharmacists’ rounds are with all of our in-patient services. I think that’s such an asset.

[30:34] They’re so useful. If you don’t know how to dose a drug, you call Pharmacy because they know what they’re doing. Many a time, an attendant will ask you, “Please ask call Pharmacy. I don’t know how to dose this.” I think it’s really great that they’re so receptive. There’s a very great intercommunication with a lot of different providers. That’s cool.

Rob: [30:52] I’m so glad you asked this question because when I was sitting in your shoes, we visited it last year. Somebody asked kind of a similar question. I was kind of skeptical about what I would be able to bring to the table in terms of an interdisciplinary approach to scholarship which is what I was really interested in.

[31:13] Like I said, I studied engineering before. I told some of you guys this story. Sorry, about repeating. Anyway, I studied engineering before. They don’t have an engineering program here, strictly speaking.

[31:26] I was interested in kind of continuing something engineering related and heard about this project called the 30 Million Words Project, which is basically about the achievement gap that exists on the South Side of Chicago. How kids that enter their schooling at four years old will hear a lot less words than students from affluent families will.

[31:52] I was like, “Huh? That doesn’t have to do anything with engineering.” But, I went in and talked to her and turns out they have this piece of technology that is really expensive and you can’t roll it out. I am kind of on a scaled the project up.

[32:03] That’s what I’m working on through SRV. There are people with business degrees, policy, social workers. All working in that same unit and when I came with this engineering background, they’re so excited to hear about what I could contribute to their research effort.

[32:24] That answer to sound like well, it’s the self-answer. It truly is representative of what exists at the school. It’s due to the fact that it’s a small community. You’ll hear about what this person’s doing or what this person’s doing. What their interests are and how you can contribute to that with your own specific background.

Karla: [32:48] OK, we’ve got five minutes left. Does anyone have a last question? We’ll do two questions if they’re… We’ll target. Let me ask one more question, too. If you want to ask a question too…?

[32:59] OK. If someone else thinks of a question and two of you will answer this one. Then we’ll have the other persons.

Questioner: [33:05] Luai, given your experiences with med school and Pritzker, what’s the one piece of advice you’d give yourself before you came into med school? Something that you wished you knew before it all began.

Luai: [33:22] Two things, number one has as much fun as you can, as possible anyway. No preparation, don’t do anything, have fun. Especially if you’re coming here, it’s great.

[33:31] Everyone starts off at the same level and is very supportive here. No needs to worry, stress, or do anything. Have fun, because it’s going to be good. You’ll have plenty of fun in med school too, but do it now.

[33:40] [laughter]

Luai: [33:42] The second one is that, a little bit less during the first couple of years, but especially when you get to clinical years, it’s almost as much as you know about the medicine, as it is as much as you know about yourself and how you function as a team.

[33:57] There’s different ways of exploring and seeing yourself. Honest, self-reflection about how you work on a team, what your strengths are, what things that you bring to groups that you work on. You can think of any of this.

[34:09] It could be extra curricula’s you do in college, if you’re working; you’re taking time off and work at your job. What types of interactions? Who are the leaders that you like? What work situations are the ones that make you want to be motivated and do well?

[34:22] Things like that are super important when you get to the wards, because it is a job as much as it is the study of medicine, and how we’re taking care of patients, and how the physiology of these diseases, which you can totally figure about. At the end of the day, you also have to know how to be a functioning member of working.

[34:38] For me personally, I had taken about three years off. I’d worked in a job. I’d been in a lot of clubs and stuff in college. I never did a lot of reflection on what makes me either a leader, or a good student, or a good participant in these kinds of interactions.

[34:54] I learned a lot about myself during the third year. It allows you to do that. If you do that reflection now on your own experiences. I feel like you have that self-awareness and know what I should bring to the table, what your deficits might be, and what you can work on.

[35:10] That allows you to grow even more as a medical student, because you’re going to grow a ton, on the way up. When I was a new student, I was a whole different person. That’s something that’s pretty valuable. Talk to your friend about it. Talk to your mentor, someone that you have now. Ask for honest feedback, stuff like that.

[35:27] Preparing yourself for what’s going to come, because you’re going to grow a lot. That’s something that could be valuable. Did that make sense?

[35:34] Yeah? Cool.

Karla: [35:39] For me, it’s something that I’ve learned this year. I studied through Pritzker and I wished I had of learned it first year, obviously. I feel probably this is true for all of you, and it’s true for me.

[35:55] Your whole life has been, “I want to go to medical school.” It’s all about, “All right. That’s great.” I got to have lots of extra curricula’s. I got to be the best candidate. It was also about the dos. I wanted to do, but that was always the main focus.

[36:09] Coming into a school like Pritzker where everyone is amazing and the curriculum is pass/fail. It honestly, will hopefully, change your mind about that stuff.

[36:21] It’s not all about you being the best. It’s about you being the best doctor. It’s not about you being the best in your class.

[36:30] Everyone in your class is great. It’s honestly been an amazing thing to realize that it’s not about me becoming the best doctor. It’s about me and all my classmates becoming the best doctors.

[36:42] Together, we’re going to be awesome and make a difference, not me by myself, or not you by yourself. That was something that I’ve learned through being at Pritzker and through the interactions I’ve had with the people here. Through the things that people value here.

[36:59] Not valuing them. Number one, they value what medicines about, it’s about helping the community and helping that other patient. Everyone has to realize it in their own.

[37:13] This year for me, because it’s been challenging, it’s competitive, due to well, and et cetera. Realizing, does this really matter, or not really?

[37:22] I realizing that I’m going to be a doctor and I’m going to have patients that I care for. That’s why I went to do well, because I want to know the medicine well, so that I can take care of them, but not so that I can get a better score. Do you know what I mean? That’s been huge.

Julie: [37:36] Any other questions from the audience?

Questioner: [37:39] Can I get one final question from you guys? I have business casual clothes. I have seen everyone wearing suits…

[37:45] [laughter]

Karla: [37:46] …No one ever told me this. You will have so many dressy events first year you would think you would never have.

[37:54] [laughter]

Karla: [37:55] Everyone doesn’t have to dress. I wanted to dress, because I wanted to look nice.

[38:00] [laughter]

Rob: [38:02] …Nice pair of slacks.

[38:04] [laughter]

Julie: [38:07] This is the conclusion of the student panel. I wanted to give a round of applause for our…

[38:11] [applause]

Posted on April 26, 2015 to:


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