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Resonance is a student-run podcast aimed at showcasing the science at Baylor through the eyes of young professionals. Each episode is written and recorded by students who have a passion for research and the medical community. Guests on the show include both clinical and basic science research faculty who are experts in their fields.

Dr. Sarah Bezek discusses her non-traditional journey to medical school, what her experiences have been as an emergency physician and advice she has for doctors in training. 

A Non-Traditional Path to Medicine | Transcript

Roundtable Discussion

Erik: And we're here

Brandon: We are here

Erik: This is the Baylor College of Medicine resonance podcast. I am one of your hosts Erik Anderson.

Brandon: I am another host Brandon Garcia.

Karl: And my name is Karl Lundin; I was the writer for this episode.

Erik: So today we're going to be talking with Dr. Sarah Bezek about non-traditional paths into medicine which is very topical for the three of us here because we all took some gap years, I believe. Some of us more than others.

Karl: Yes. So, “non-traditional applicant” is a piece of lingo that's in the medical school application space. Basically, a non-traditional applicant is a person who did not go straight from their undergraduate education into medical school. So, this is a person typically who would go off get their four-year degree and maybe work as, I don't know, an accountant for a few years and then decide, “Hey I want to pursue medicine,” and go into medicine. To a lesser or greater extent all three of us fit into that category. I myself was a high school teacher. I taught physics and forensic science before I changed careers to become a medical student. Erik what did you do?

Erik: I took three years off and was doing research at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda Maryland, mostly just to kind of figure out whether I wanted to actually do the MD-PhD or just do a PhD. You know I needed more time because I started college as a musician, a classical guitarist, and then I switched over, so I also did five years of undergrad. So yeah, I took my time.

Brandon: Yeah, and I took two years to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Say Saints as well as work for nonprofits and work as a lab manager between medical school and my undergrad.

Karl: And the reason we’re talking to Dr. Bezek today is because actually she kind of has this in common with us. Especially with me there's some resonance because she, like me, was also a high school teacher before she decided to pursue the medical field. We'll talk to her about that. She also had a few other career choices before going into medicine. So it is an interesting topic and has kind of a growing relevance because actually the number of medical school applicants who are non-traditional applicants or taking what are called “gap years” (which is where you might take like one year or two years before going from undergrad into med school) is actually increasing in number. Over the past few years, the AMA has had about 25 percent of the medical school matriculants 25 years or older. So, it is a significant number of the people that are going to medical school. Texas is slightly less; here in Texas we only have about 11 percent of our matriculants that are 25 or older, so for whatever reason there are not as many non-trads going to med school here in Texas, but it is an important topic.

Brandon: It's definitely a good idea in the sense that for me at least it gave me the opportunity to think about my life and process what did I actually want to do. I have a hard time believing that 21-year-old or 22-year-old Brandon would have made a competent medical student. 27-year-old Brandon is kind of getting there, but I definitely feel like I'm more capable right now of handling medical school than I would have at a younger age. That's not the case for everybody, but that was the case for me.

Erik: Yeah and also just knowing if you're doing it for the right reasons. I think that was a big reason why I took time off, other than also to just gather more research experience. But I needed to make sure that hey this is this is a long track and is it really what I want to be doing?

Karl: It really is kind of a thing where for some people it's just useful to have that extra time. It helps you kind of develop that extra layer of assurance and maturity, and non-trads are an important component of adding sort of a different type of diversity to the medical school experience, because you don't have just diversity in terms of a lot of the other things you traditionally think of with diversity, but you also have diversity in terms of life experience. So, if you have somebody in your med school class who's an older person, let's say they have a family or they've had a career, that can provide a valuable perspective to the other students and to the future practice of medicine as well.

Erik: And I think Dr. Bezek is going to talk a lot more about that, and she'll tell us what she was doing in her gap between the end of her college and beginning medical school. But I think she would definitely attest that it was helpful for her, and you can see it in how she also conducts herself in the classroom. You know we all had her for CTAPS, and I think that given the circumstances around all that she did a great job kind of keeping everybody a little bit relaxed and she did good crowd control and you could tell that she probably was drawing upon experience from past circumstances. So without further ado, we will move on to the interview portion: Dr. Bezek completed her MD from Texas Tech University Health Science Center I Lubbock and then went on to do her residency and Yale at New Haven Hospital. She's now in the emergency medical department here at Ben Taub. So we’re really excited.

Karl: Let's talk to Dr. Bezek.

Interview

Karl: All right Dr. Bezek. Thank you for joining us today.

Dr. Bezek: Great to see you Karl and Erik. Nice to see you guys.

Karl: So we thought we'd just start off by asking you to tell us a little bit about yourself, you know what's your background, what does your medical practice look like?

Dr. Bezek: Okay. So actually I hail from northern Minnesota where I spent 18 years of my life as an ice cube. I wised up probably at about 20 when I was waiting for a bus in Minneapolis and I was freezing and decided to get the heck outta there to warm Texas. I've been enjoying Texas ever since, and this is where I love to practice. It's a great state to practice emergency medicine; that's what I do I'm an emergency medicine physician, and I work at Ben Taub emergency center, it's the county hospital for Harris County in Houston Texas.

Erik: Okay cool. So we'll have had a little bit of explanation before this about what we're gonna be talking about, but one thing we wanted to talk to you about was untraditional paths to medicine, because Karl and I personally both have an untraditional path: we took some time off.

Dr. Bezek: I remember that.

Erik: Yeah yeah so we were: curious did you have any careers before you decided to go to medical school, and if so what were they?

Dr. Bezek: Definitely. I had one career before I went to medical school, and that was I was a high school teacher. I believe, I believe Karl you were a high school teacher, right?

Karl: Yes, I was a high school teacher as well.

Dr. Bezek: Fighting the good fight in in the classroom, did that for four years. I also was a high school tennis coach and an NCAA tutor actually over at the local university down in South Texas. So that was really, really fun. I enjoyed that I did that for four years, and in the last year I actually believe it or not taught Orchestra as well. So that was interesting.

Karl: Interesting?

Dr. Bezek: Interesting. A lot of junior high and high schoolers with instruments and trying to get them all to go at the same time was definitely a different sort of experience.

Erik: And in the same tuning right?

Dr. Bezek: Oh right, right. Exactly. They have a lot of fun.

Erik: Yeah. Do you play an orchestral instrument?

Dr. Bezek: I do. I play a few but I most like to play the violin.

Karl: So, in your career as a teacher did you find that there were a lot of applicable skills that transferred over from medicine?

Dr. Bezek: Oh definitely. I think anybody who takes a quote-unquote non-traditional pathway really develops a different sort of I guess skill set for managing the rigors of Medical School. I think the big two I would say would be adaptability and flexibility. You just never know what's gonna happen when you're in the in the front of a classroom with 25 high schoolers. There's all sorts of crazy stuff that can happen, and sometimes the best laid plans really do go awry. So really kind of being able to think on your feet, that's one thing that I think was a really great skill set to bring to medical school. The other skill set I really think is that you learn how to be a different sort of learner. When I would read in medical school it was much easier for me to read with a different perspective and really be able to hone my studying and learning skills to find what was really important and to synthesize a lot of information, perhaps in a different way than I would have had I gone straight through from college to medical school.

Erik: So do you think that's mostly because of the time you took off and maybe just being able to learn more about yourself and your learning style, or do you think it's also having to do with teaching? Because like personally I taught guitar a little bit, and I just feel like doing some sort of pedagogy is a good way to just you know metacognate if you will about that kind of stuff and about what your learning style is.

Dr. Bezek: Right. I think speaking to music in general, you know music requires a different sort of activation of your brain and when you activate a different part of your brain you really grow as a learner. Those skills are very translatable to medicine and medical school because you're really activating parts of your brain that maybe you haven't tapped into before. So one, it's the type of learning and the activation you're doing but two, it’s really the hard work that you have to put in to become really excellent or skillful at something. So for instance, you playing the guitar you probably put in hours upon hours to be an awesome guitar player. That's the same thing with medical school; you have to put in a lot of hard work to get where you want to be to be the best student-doctor and physician you can be.

Erik: So did you do an undergrad in education?

Dr. Bezek: Actually I did not. I did an undergraduate degree in biology. I graduated from a small school in southern Minnesota called Gustavus Adolphus College…

Karl: I know that one!

Dr. Bezek: You do?!

Karl: I have family that went to that school.

Dr. Bezek: Oh my gosh that's crazy! So most famously known for the fact that it got wiped almost off the face of the map in the 1990s because it was hit by like an F4 tornado. But luckily I'd already graduated. So yep, I went there for undergrad, and I actually graduated from there early and needed to take a year of prerequisites afterwards. So that was fun cramming all of the medical school prerequisites into one year. That was a very interesting experience.

Karl: So you got your degree in biology and then you took your prerequisites?

Dr. Bezek: I know it sounds a little bit atypical, but yes, I did take some of my other prerequisites. I didn't take all of them initially for my biology degree but then took some more as I had completed my degree already

Karl: So were you kind of already planning on medicine and didn't see teaching as a long-term career, or was it more of a gradual transition? What was the thought process?

Dr. Bezek:  I guess that's a really good question. I remember being in Mr. Bolton's chemistry class in about tenth grade and thinking, “I want to be a neonatologist,” which I'm not now of course. But I remember even at a young age I really thought medicine and the practice of medicine was a really interesting idea. I come from a family where my father is actually a family physician. He worked in the Public Health Service Corps as well as in the Indian Health Service, so I had a really kind of different experience with medicine growing up. A really interesting, kind of organic experience with medicine. But when I finished college, I wanted to try something different, I wanted to make sure that medicine was really the right path for me and to really experience a different career that I also thought would have been a lot of fun to kind of have a upward trajectory, and that was teaching.

Karl: That's interesting because I had a very similar experience in terms of thinking medicine and teaching both are kind of in your mind, right? And so you want to experience this new thing that's really gonna push you because for me teaching was really gonna push me in ways that I felt like I hadn't been pushed before, and it helps you grow and figure out, yeah I love parts of this and I see other parts of things that are missing and so is that kind of what drove you and the transition to medicine?

Dr. Bezek: Oh definitely. I was working in the Rio Grande Valley which is one of the most underserved, educationally and medically, areas of the state of Texas and probably the nation. And although I really enjoyed education and teaching, I still felt that every day my calling was to be in medicine; I remember certain times when we'd be talking about physics things and I'd really want to start talking to them about how they could, you know take care of their health in meaningful ways. And I found myself really enjoying those conversations with students a lot more. I know you taught as well. Was in physics, I believe?

Karl: Yes I was a physics teacher, so those physics conversations were good for me, but yeah I kind of had a similar experience. I found I really enjoyed teaching in terms of giving you an exposure to a whole bunch of different individuals with individual backgrounds. I feel like we really broadened my experience of life and kind of my understanding of where different people could be coming from. It was great for that, it was great to be able to build relationships with the kids and have a good time and see them grow as people and push them in that growth. But yeah there is just that allure of there's a certain special relationship you have in the medical setting where people are at their most vulnerable and there's a special kind of influence and you can just do some pretty magical things. And I guess that kind of drew me over, so to speak, and I felt like I could maintain the sense of like relationships and helping people kind of learn and grow while doing other stuff as well in medicine.

Dr. Bezek: I really love what you say there, Karl, about relationships with people because I think that a lot of times when we talk about medicine, we forget about that important relationship with people. It's not just relationships with your patients, because you have those amazing challenging relationships with the patients. But you also have relationships with your colleagues, you have relationships with your team, and so I know for me that's one of the reasons why I'm in emergency medicine, because I really found “my people.” I found the patients that I want to be working with, I found the folks, my colleagues, the nursing staff, everyone from the beginning of the EMS system to the social workers who are helping these patients get the care they need. So I really like what you're saying about teaching and medicine really being about a people driven kind of career, and I think that we really have a privilege to be able to work in that level.

Erik: I was gonna say, it was a good conversation, but I think we got a little sidetracked. I'm curious: so what is your day-to-day? So as you said, you're in emergency medicine now. Please tell us a little bit about what your day-to-day is.

Dr. Bezek: Sure. I think it's like day-to-night actually, because in the emergency medicine I'm actually what's called a nocturnist. So, I choose to work overnights and as a as a mother with children and also somebody who's balancing academic responsibilities, it really provides me with the ability to kind of juggle everything in a meaningful way. So my practice is clinically I work overnights, I take care of patients at the Ben Taub emergency center as well as CHI Hospital, and then I do academic work with the students, the MS1 students in the critical thinking and problem-solving course, and I'm really lucky to be able to really merge both my loves both clinically and academic-wise with teaching and education.

Erik: So, did you did you seek out the teaching aspect then, or were you looking for a way to get it back into your life?

Dr. Bezek: So, I think once a teacher, always a teacher.

Karl: Sadly true

Erik: That’s in the Hippocratic Oath right?

Karl: Sometimes, I’ll start explaining something to my friends and they'll just look at each other, and I'll be like, “ehh, sorry.”

Dr. Bezek: Right. It is very true, and you know I think it's just such a privilege to be able to really work with such bright students and recognizing that we're gonna be working together soon enough as collaborators. And I know that these students are gonna make amazing physicians that are one day going to take care of myself my family members people that I love in the community. So I think it's really powerful and it's a privilege to be able to work with students and really help them become the best student-doctors they can be.

Karl: So, in your non-traditional path to medical school, I'm curious what are your own individual experiences and some of challenges you experienced individually? And also, more broadly, what do you think the challenges are for more non-traditional applicants to go to medical school and the opportunities?

Dr. Bezek: Right. I think that's a really great question, because I think a lot of times it's very daunting for students that have taken a different route, and I think the first hurdle really is recognizing that you do in fact want to do this and that you can do it. So, it's this recognition of, “I have the ability and I have the belief that I can make this happen.” Because once you start doing something different, or you're kind of settled in a career and you have this idea to go to medical school, sometimes it's just an idea. But to take that first step to kind of activate and be active, that's the first challenge. I think there's another unique challenge for non-traditional students, and that’s really finding the right mentors. Once you're out of the collegiate system, if you will, or the grad level system, it is a lot more challenging to find those folks who are going to help you navigate the pathway to get into Medical School. All the different things you have to do. How did you guys deal with that?

Karl: So, that was probably the biggest challenge for me. I did not have as quite clear direction towards medicine as you probably did when I started teaching. So, I also had to take prerequisite classes at night and so that kind of helped me because I could build relationships with some of the faculty that way, because I was taking classes while I was teaching. That was probably my biggest source of those sort of relationships and connections as I was going through it. I did have maybe one faculty member from my undergrad days that I kind of kept in touch with also, which was nice.

Dr. Bezek: Exactly. I was reading a story recently, I don't know if you guys heard about a doctor named Dr. Allamby. He was actually an auto mechanic for about 40 years, and he decided to transition into medicine. And I thought it was really fascinating, because his discussion as well was really trying to find and cultivate those mentors, those people who will guide you. So, I think that's a unique challenge for folks who are doing the non-traditional pathway. But I think Baylor actually has a lot of faculty and residents and, as you guys know, students who have done a non-traditional pathway. It's not as uncommon as people might think, so I do think even within our system there's a lot of opportunity for mentorship. I know we had a resident who had been a pharmacist and actually taught at the pharmacy school. We had another resident who had been a surgeon in another country for a while. Dr. Hilmers, as you all know, used to be an astronaut; you know that's a huge career change.

Erik: So ya know, I wonder though if I've just taken it for granted, because I've always been more of the research end of things and there's sort of a built-in mentorship system.

Dr. Bezek: That is true.

Erik: So, I wonder. I was trying to think like, huh have I ever thought like, “Oh man I feel like I’m in the woods a little bit,” and I think I've just been lucky enough because of having just a PI to go to and be like, “Hey, here's what I'm thinking for my career.” I actually just emailed my PI that I had in undergrad just to give him an update. I'm like, “Hey, finished the first year and thanks for all your help,” basically. So on that note, I guess research gets a little plug: research is a great thing if you are ever looking for help, but that is something I hadn't ever considered.

Dr. Bezek: I do think that Baylor is really kind of stepping up their game in terms of really solidifying mentorship in different ways that a student can find mentorship. Everything from the different sorts of organizations that are available to students early on, to the academic success center with Reggie Toussaint, as well as the learning communities and really kind of this this idea that if faculty can be coaches and mentors to students and really help them.

Erik: Well that's a good point. So, do you feel like there's been a large transition to try to be more, maybe “mentor heavy” in in the years since you were in school, like in making student orgs and what not

Dr. Bezek: Right. I do think so. I think that there was, you know there's always transitions and there's always ways things evolve and change. I think there was a time not even so long ago where people felt like they had to kind of push through and do it on their own and be really strong and you know just kind of get to the goal. And I think a lot of that thankfully has changed. You know, people are having the conversations about how can we assist, and this is a growth process and this is really a trajectory and we want people to stay in medicine and to enjoy what they're doing and to cultivate relationships. So, I think that's really great, especially when there's such opportunity here to have those relationships with faculty.

Karl: Yeah, and I just want to put in the plug for anyone who does feel kind of like, “How am I gonna find mentors, I'm just working some nine-to-five job,” or something. Mentors are all around you if you know where to look for them, and so you just gotta be proactive. Go cold call that doctor's office; if you can shadow a doctor or take a class at community college that sounds interesting to you. There's lots of people out there and once you tell them what your aspirations are and what you want to do, most people want you to succeed, they want to help you succeed, they want to be a part of that success story. And so, it's one of those things where, I think you've kind of alluded to before, it's more of a mental hurdle than anything.

Dr. Bezek: I think it's just like you said. It's that first step of telling other people that this is what you want to do; you're saying it, you're putting it out there, you're being a little vulnerable and in that, that's when you can learn who's gonna be your helper, who's gonna assist, who can mentor. Because people will want you to succeed, especially if they know you and/or they know other people, that's just a great way to do it.

Erik: Yeah. Well and I think you referenced this a little bit earlier when you were talking about the person who had a 40 year career as a mechanic and then switched into it, into medicine that is. But do you think, I guess could you be too old to switch into medicine?

Dr. Bezek: I don't think so. I think it all depends on the person. It's about the person knowing themselves and then really kind of understanding what the process is in medical school. Understanding the time commitment and really being honest with yourself and saying, “Hey, it's not so much about the age as it is about, do I feel like this is the right time in my life to kind of take on this challenge?” So, I don't really think necessarily that there is some magical age that is too old. No.

Karl: So, you talked about “finding your people,” and this is kind of a sense I'm starting to get as we go into med school. People ask me, “What do you want to do, what do you want to specialize in?” and I feel like I'm not gonna know until I get to clinics. What made you choose emergency medicine? Was it a people thing, like a personality thing, do you feel like it was just “that's your personality?”

Dr. Bezek: That's a great question. I feel like if someone could bottle up the answer for all medical students and they didn't have to just struggle with this, and it's hard you know. We asked students to make a life decision based on six to eight weeks of their school experience. So that's really tough. It's like choosing a life partner after one date. I mean it's kind of crazy. So I think one of the things that is really important is that you go through all of your rotations with an open mind, because then you're more likely to be open to experiences that you may not have really thought possible. I found that as I went through all of my clerkships, all my electives I was that person that was like, “Yep I love everything. I literally love everything,” and then I realized I had to make a decision. And then it was, okay well not only do I love everything, but I like things when they're a little more acute. I like having that little adrenaline rush. And then who did I really enjoy working with? Having been an athlete in the past, I love that teamwork experience and not only are you really trying to help care for a patient who really needs your help at that time, but you're doing it with the team, and I feel like everyone has the same goal in mind to kind of like help that patient who may be really having the worst day of their life. So definitely my people.

Erik: Well so you talked about a little bit of that adrenaline you get from maybe a shift; could you tell us a little bit about what's a normal shift look like for you?

Dr. Bezek: You know a more normal shift, it really depends actually. At Ben Taub it depends on where you're actually having the shift. There's different areas of different levels of acuity, so a typical Friday or Saturday overnight is pretty busy. You have a lot of patients coming in, some may be having strokes, a heart attack; you may be having patients with psychiatric emergencies; people can be shot, there can be stabbings, traumas. And so you're really trying to manage all these different sorts of patients at one time, and then you know you may have a child with a broken arm, so you really have to be somebody who feels comfortable making decisions under pressure as well as with limited information. So it really does get your adrenaline going, especially when you hear you know, “Code one!” or “CPR in progress,” you really want to make sure that you're on your a-game and doing the best thing for the patient.

Erik: Do you feel like it gets easier? Was it stressful at first and maybe now you're just more used to the stress?

Dr. Bezek: I think that's a great question. I think it's really a two-part question. I think the first question is, “Does it get easier?” “It” is kind of the, I guess the “box word” right? “It” being the emergency medicine crazy, I think it does get easier because you get used to it. I'd say about year three or four I was no longer saying novenas when I came down the hallway, saying my little prayers going down the hallway. But at the same time, I think in order to keep your humanity you do have to reflect when it's a tough shift, and sometimes having those moments to say, “Hey this was a really a tough situation and how are we all doing?” Because I think you know it's recognized that there's a provider and physician PTSD and when you see things that are really challenging or traumatic or difficult, it's really important to talk about that. And I think it's important, you know. I always encourage the team to talk about it, I encourage if there's a difficult situation for residents to talk with us or to even talk to someone outside of the system, like a therapist or something. I think it's really good for wellness and mental health for us.

Karl: Probably can't get into specifics about crazy stories, but you have a lot of crazy things probably happen in the ER. And I know HIPAA and whatnot, you don't want to go to specifics, but do you get used to that or is it a thing or it's does anything faze you anymore?

Dr. Bezek: Oh yes. I think the answer to that is always yes. I think if you get to the point where things don't faze you at all anymore, that might be the time where you have to sit back and say, “Is this what I should be doing?” Because that's the great thing about emergency medicine, you're actually always learning something new. You could stagnate, but you're always really learning something new and there's always what I call the high acuity low frequency sort of things we could see where someone comes in and their heartbeat is not beating fast enough and they need, for instance for us to place what's called a “transvenous pacemaker” into their heart to help their heart beat. Those things don't happen very often, but you got to be on for that and if that happens, yeah, my heartbeat is gonna be little faster, but that's good. You want that little extra bit of stress, it is actually good in that situation; it'll help you perform better.

Erik: As we said, as somebody who has taken an untraditional path to medicine, how did you make time for some of some of what life has to offer, like having kids and getting married?

Dr. Bezek: Sure. You know, I think you asked a really good question, because I think it's not something that we talk about as much in medical school or professional school at all, period. I mean we talk about wellness, but really this idea of finding time to do the things that are really gonna make the journey of life fulfilling for you. And so, for me personally, I think that I always wanted to have children. Not everyone does, and that's just fine. But I knew that. And you know there's many different options, but I really tried to get to a place where I felt like it was the right time. And everyone's different, everyone has the right time for them and their partner. Maybe they don't have a partner, but they find the right time for the things that they want to do. And I think it's important to do those things, because that is what's gonna keep you really happy and grounded. If your family or if it's your friends or maybe you're someone who is into dogs or cats or whatever. Your passion is, whatever is important to you, finding that time to to really kind of cultivate that in your off time that's really important. And yeah I think that's it

Karl: I think that's good, because it's like we're taught to have a vision for what our career should be, but you're kind of talking about how to have a vision for what the rest of your life should be too. And realize what you need to do to aim for all of it.

Dr. Bezek: Right right. I like that: have a vision for your life. That's great Karl. You know, I think we don't actually talk about that enough in medical school, and I think that it puts people in a difficult position later on if they're just working so hard to attain whatever destination it is that they have in medicine that all the sudden they're like, “Oh wait! You know, I really want to do this or that, or I wanted to experience this.” You know, it's kind of like making sure that you have that vision for what you want out of your life, and recognizing that can change.

Karl: Yeah well like you were telling us earlier off recording, people will tend to set up a destination for themselves, but whenever you march to reach that destination, you might find yourself unsatisfied.

Dr. Bezek: Mm-hmm. Exactly. And I think the other thing is we were talking a little bit about anytime you have some sort of mapping program, it gives you like five different ways to get there right. And then you also have the ways you can get there. You can crawl there, you can bike there, you can swim there. There's many different ways to get where you want to go, and I think it's important that we have these conversations with each other because being supportive colleagues and classmates and really understanding that we're all trying to be the best physicians, but also we want to be happy in life and that's important as well.

Erik: When do you think you started thinking about that?

Dr. Bezek: You know I think it has to be the right time in your life, and so I think I for me it was later than I had anticipated in my mind, because of where I grew up. It was very rural northern Minnesota, so a lot of my friends were already married with kids who were 10 years old, and I was like, “Oh man, don't see that in the in the near future.” And so I just kind of plugged along and was doing what I was doing to kind of fulfill myself in other ways in terms of my education and playing music and exploring the world. And then, when the opportunity came and I met my husband, it was like, “Okay, this is the right time.” And so I think sometimes waiting has challenges too. There's always challenges with every kind of decision that you make, but there's a lot of support for that at Baylor.

Erik: Maybe being open if, not saying that wasn't in the plans, but if something that it wasn't in the plans, and I say this from, personally I thought I was gonna be a musician and then I just kind of came upon medicine and it just felt right. And it wasn't in the plans, but I just like, “Okay here's this path that seems pretty good, so I'm gonna just go down and see where this leads.” And here I am. So maybe being open to that.

Dr. Bezek: I think it goes back to, t's a journey right? It's a journey and you do want to do what's gonna really make you happy, because that's gonna make you the best physician. And you know a lot of students come in with the idea that, “Hey I'm gonna be an orthopedic surgeon,” or, “I want to be a pediatrician.” Hey, when I came and I wanted to be a pediatrician. And you know what? I loved my Pediatrics rotation, but at the end of the day I wanted to treat everybody. And so, it became very clear to me that, “Hey this is what I wanted to do, but now I've seen this other way and this is really what I want. And having that ability to say it's okay to let go of what I thought I had wanted and I've found something that's gonna really work for me.

Karl: Well thank you very much for joining us Dr. Bezek. I guess just one last question: if there was one piece of advice you give medical students here at Baylor, or medical students anywhere, what would that be?

Dr. Bezek: I think the biggest thing is that you're all in medical school to become something. There's a destination, a physician, and I think just like how people got to medical school, there are many paths to get to being the physician that you want to be. And I don't really think there's a correct or incorrect path. I think it's really important for students to recognize that they are unique and they're individuals and that everyone has a different journey to get to where they are and that part of it is sitting back and kind of enjoying that journey, if you will, and being good to yourself. And yeah trying to reflect and finding the gratitude in what we do every day; it's really awesome.

Karl: Well thank you very much for your time. We appreciate it.

Dr. Bezek: Thanks guys.

Erik: Thank you.

Dr. Bezek: Appreciate it.

Outro

Jennifer: All right, that's it for now. We'd like to thank everyone out there who took the time to listen to this episode of the podcast. Special thanks to Karl for writing the episode. Thank you to our faculty advisor, Dr. Poythress for helping us put everything together. And thank you to the Baylor communications department for helping us with the production and the website. And thank you again to dr. Bezek for taking the time to be interviewed by us. We hope you enjoyed it, and we hope you tune in again soon. Goodbye for now!