Super-Powered Dentist in Training Stefan Hottel on ADHD
Stefan Hottel is a fellow ADHD-er from lighthouse point, Florida, and currently lives in Memphis, Tennessee. He was homeschooled for most of his childhood until attending the University of Memphis, where he studied biology & chemistry with aspirations of becoming a dentist. Stefan was part of the Emerging Leaders scholarship program, played for the hockey team, held leadership positions in numerous student organizations, multi-semester Dean’s Lists awardee, and was involved in research throughout college. Since graduating undergrad, Stefan has co-authored five Academic research articles, started a Master’s in neurobiology, and was accepted to Lincoln Memorial University College of Dental Medicine’s class of 2026. After dental school, he hopes to continue his education in a pediatric residency with the ultimate goal of having a practice centered around treating special-needs patients. Today we ask how the switch from home school affected him, how he’s using his ADHD, and what keeps him successful in his studies, enjoy!
In this episode Peter and Stefan Hottel discuss:
2:07 – Intro and welcome Stefan!
3:01 – When, where and how were you diagnosed?
4:54 – How was education & your studies when you weren’t being home schooled any more?
6:23 – What changes have you made since you’ve been diagnosed with ADHD?
7:42 – What is the most difficult thing about your ADHD; what drives you bonkers?
8:54 – Where do you do your best studying; what works best for you? Ref: BrainFM episode!
9:50 – What do you do for fun, how do you recharge your brain?
10:54 – What do you wish everybody knew about ADHD that they definitely don’t?
12:05 – What advice would you give to someone who’s just getting diagnosed?
13:48 – Thank you Stefan! Guys, as always, we are here for you and we love the responses and the notes that we get from you; so please continue to do that! Tell us who you want to hear on the podcast, anything at all; we’d love to know. Leave us a review on any of the places you get your podcasts, and if you ever need our help I’m www.petershankman.com and you can reach out anytime via [email protected] or @petershankman on all of the socials. You can also find us at @FasterNormal on all of the socials. It really helps when you drop us a review on iTunes and of course, subscribe to the podcast if you haven’t already! As you know, the more reviews we get, the more people we can reach. Help us to show the world that ADHD is a gift, not a curse!
14:17 – Faster Than Normal Podcast info & credits
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Hey, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Faster Than Normal! My name is Peter Shankman. I am your host as I have been for, oh my God. I don’t even know how long, like six years, I think five years. I’m like, I don’t know. It’s been a long time. That noise here in the background is Waffle the dog drinking. He hasn’t made any noise all day. The second I get on this podcast, literally the second hit record is the moment he thinks let’s get a drink, idiot dog. All right, but I love him.
Welcome to Faster Than Normal. Welcome to Stefan Hottle. He is a fellow ADHD or who will be talking today. He is from Florida living in Memphis, Tennessee. He was homeschooled until he attended the university of Memphis, where he studied bio and chemistry, two things I would never, ever, ever studied with aspirations of becoming a dentist. He’s the third dentist we’ve had on the podcast. I have no idea why dentistry and teeth are so damn popular with people in ADHD. It’s a very strange, we’re going to find that out. Um, he was part of an emerging leader scholarship program. He played for the hockey team, held leadership positions, multi semester Dean’s list award. Obviously very humble as well. And it was about the research throughout college. He’s researched he’s coauthored five academic research articles started a master’s in neurobiology. Are you kidding me. He was accepted to Lincoln Memorial University College of Dental Medicine’s, class of 2026. And after dental school, he hopes to continue his education in a pediatric residency with the ultimate goal of being a practice centered around treating special needs patients. Welcome Stefan, nice to chat.
Thank you happy to be here.
So it’s obvious that you’re, you know, uh, definitely an underachiever haven’t done much with your life. Um, when were you diagnosed? Tell us what that was like.
I was actually, uh, I guess comparatively speaking, I was diagnosed pretty late in life, uh, at the age of 21 right before, uh, right after college actually, which is kind of weird. Um, but I think there’s a good reason for that, which I’ve put a lot of thought into and a lot of that has to do with me being homeschooled. So I’ve heard you talk about it in the podcast a lot. Um, you know, you were just sit down and be quiet syndrome when you were in school, you know, and, uh, I never had to deal with that, so ADHD didn’t really affect me when I was growing up. I mean, when I had long reading assignments. Uh, my mom would sit in the living room as I would literally pace back and forth, like building a Lego and she would read me my stuff, you know? And so I never, it never really affected me growing up because it didn’t, my mom kind of catered my education around. And so we never really had to take me anywhere or get me diagnosed. And then college kind of. College is kind of easy for me, sort of, um, I also had a friend who he benefited from studying with someone else and he would fire, um, our tech, uh, questions that we made together based on the, you know, the, whatever the test is on and he would sit down and he would fire questions at me. And I would do the, kind of the same thing. I would like be doing something else. And as long as I was moving or whatever, I retained more. And so I just got kinda lucky, but then when I got accepted to dental school the first time, which we’ll get into later, um, I was like, okay, the only problem I ever had in undergrad was I was always the last person to leave the test every single time. And sometimes I was the person like, okay, put your pencils down. And I had just to just like submit it because I was a slow test taker. And I was like, well, I think at dental school would be worthwhile for me to try to get extended test time. So that’s when I went to psychologists and got a, and got tested and got diagnosed with ADHD. So that was after a undergrad.
So what do you think that that being homeschool? So you mentioned homeschool obviously affected, you know, your case benefited you, but hit the real world type thing. Was it sort of a massive wake up call? Was it like a, oh crap. I’m in trouble type thing?
Um, you mean socially speaking?
in, in any, in any capacity, I mean, you went from basically having your mom who could work with you to now, you had to be, especially, you know, hitting dental school, whatever, you know, now you had to sort of follow the rules for lack of a better word.
Yeah. I mean, um, kind of, I think. I also, um, because I duo enrolled my senior year of, um, when we moved to Memphis from Florida was at the beginning of my 11th or the middle of my 11th grade. Um, which was tough, obviously, uh, for my dad’s job. And then senior year of high school for me, I had the choice of either being homeschooled and dual enrolled in my classes or being the new kid senior year at the local high school. And I was like, nah, I don’t want to do that. And so I took all of my classes for senior year at college. So my mom didn’t teach me anything. And so I, dual enrolled, got those credits and started my actual undergrad ahead of the ahead of the curve. And during that time I had a light schedule, of course. Um, I think I took like 12 credit hours a semester. Um, so I kinda like was, it was an ease into it. And so I think it kind of helped me kind of the transfer from kind of a catered, uh, educational setup to kind of like the real world is what you’re saying. So it wasn’t too bad of a transition. I just knew dental school was going to be harder.
Right. Interesting. So what, what changes have you made now that you’ve been diagnosed with ADHD?
Oh, uh, I, I allow a lot more time to prepare because I know that like, if I have, like, let’s say a week ahead of me, uh, or so many hours ahead of me to study for an exam, especially a dental school exam, I’m going to allow a lot more time and kind of like space and kind of schedule my time. I never really scheduled my time before. And of course, like everyone else’s age or like most people with ADHD, I was a last minute procrastinator. I mean, I was, I was banging out the night before pulling all nighters as an undergrad, but you can’t do that in dental school that does not work. Um, and so I I’ve been more, I’ve been scheduling my time more. Um, and, uh, and just taking more time ahead of it, because I know that like, Uh, six hours in a day after classes to study before it gets too late to, you know, it for it to be feasible. I’m not going to study for that entire six hours. That’s not realistic for me. I’m going to study for like, you know, maybe 40 minutes and then I’m going to, you know, be distracted and take a break and get on TikTok or something and then come back to it. And so I know that I need more time, um, to do things then a lot of people do. And so I’ve come to know that. And so I will plan ahead of time.
What do you find sort of most difficult about your ADHD? What, what drives you insane?
Um, kind of that, uh, hyper-focused, which is amazing, but for me, and I’m sure other people will be able to relate, um, can also be a negative as far as school is concerned because growing up, I was interested in so many things. I mean, I, uh, got my dad to get me my first car that didn’t run. It was a 1970 Torino. I researched basically on YouTube, how to fix a bunch of things I was into, I I’m, uh, uh, uh, trained Luther, which is an instrument builder. I can build electric guitars. I mean, I did so much stuff in high school cause I just had so many interests that like, it’s so easy for me to get focused and get lost on something that’s not the pertinent task at hand. And sometimes I’ll just like a notification will pop up and I’ll get lost for like an hour. And then I’m like, wow, I should’ve been studying for that hour. And I was like, researching like how to do whatever. And so that’s like the most frustrating things for me is like, I can hyper focus, but it’s not always on thing. I need to be focused on.
Where do you find yourself, um, doing your best studying? So are you, are you, can you do it in your room? Do you have to go out what’s you know what works best for you?
Uh, definitely not in my room. Um, that’s the worst study place for me because there’s just so many distractions. I have my guitar and I have my Xbox, I have this and that. I don’t, I don’t do. I try to go somewhere. I typically like the library is good for me because coffee shops I’ve tried, but there’s just too much going on. People coming in and out and just kind of loud and everything. I try to stick to the library. I’ll pick like the most secluded part in the corner of the top floor or something like that and put my headphones on. I use a program called Brain FM. We’ve had the CEO on the podcast several times. Yeah. I’ve listened to that episode. Yeah. I love BrainFM, it’s a game changer for me. Um, I basically can’t study without it anymore. Um, so I used that and put my headphones on and go to town as long as there’s not a lot of movement distractions, that’s where I do my best work.
Very cool. Um, tell us about what is it like to have, uh, at your, at your age and with everything you’re doing, what is it like? Do you have a social life? Do you, do you, what do you do for fun? What do you do to sort of recharge your brain when you’re not studying children’s teeth?
Um, I, uh, I like to, at this point, um, I like to play guitar a lot on my free time, so I’ll just, cause I’ve been doing that my whole life, well, since I was like 11, um, that’s a big, it’s a big hobby for me. Sometimes I’ll play video games with friends. Uh, I’ll go out every now and then it just kind of depends. Cause like a lot of times on the weekend, um, I have a test to be studying for and stuff like that so I know for me, like if I go out. Um, with friends on the weekend and I have a test on Monday or Tuesday and I’m like, oh, I’ll just go out and, you know, I’ll just study before study after it’s probably not going to happen. So I try to keep myself from getting into that cycle. But, um, yeah, when I can, I I’ll go out with friends, but I typically my hobbies, I just like play guitar and I’ll play some video games sometimes with friends, but it just kind of depends on what’s going on.
Cool. What do you wish people knew about ADHD that you find that they don’t. What, sorry you find, they don’t know. What do you wish people knew about ADHD?
I wish. I wish that even still, I know it’s gotten a lot better than when you were a kid. Um, but just the, the negative stigma that still surrounds it, um, that it’s over-diagnosed which, you know, that’s arguable or whatever, and that it’s easy to get a diagnosis and easy to get medication. And it’s basically even like, when I first got diagnosed, my best friend, kind of , after that, he was kind of like, that’s not real. And I was like, I don’t know, dude, but like, I wish that people had a better understanding of that. Like, it is a thing and it does, it’s not like the end all be all, but I mean, it’s real and it does affect people’s lives and you have to cater how you approach situations, uh, because of it. And I just wish that it wasn’t kind of like still sort of like, aha, everyone has ADHD.
Yeah, no question about it. Very, very cool. You know, it’s interesting. It’s a fascinating world that we’re in and the more people I interview, the more I realized that ADHD, it’s not one size fits all. Everything is different. What last, last question? What piece of advice would you give to someone in your situation who’s just getting diagnosed?
Oh, I would, um, honestly the biggest piece of advice I could give the, I learned a lot, um, is regarding, uh, medications. So if you choose to get medicated, uh, I think that in my opinion, you should try it with your doctor’s recommendations. Go through that process. Try it. If it doesn’t work for you. Fantastic. If it does. Um, the biggest, honestly, the biggest thing that’s helped me is when I, of course I, when I was diagnosed, he recommended medication and I was like, okay, I’ll try it. And, um, at first kind of like how I mentioned earlier, I would, uh, you know, take the medication and then I would get locked in on something that wasn’t studying and get lost for like an hour and like super focused on something that was just, wasn’t what I needed to be doing and just lose a lot of time. And the biggest thing that’s helped me regarding that is to start the task that you want to be doing, before or at right when you take your medication; so when it kicks in, you don’t get lost into something else you’re actually doing the task and that’s what you’re going to be focused on because that’s changed the game for me, I’ve been..my productivity has gone way up. If I just like sit myself down with my studies, um, material in front of me, don’t look at anything else and then go for it because I’ve just wasted a lot of time being focused on other things that I shouldn’t at that time be focused on.
That makes a lot of sense. Very, very cool. Really, really appreciate that. That was actually a great answer. Stefan, how can people find you?
Uh, yeah, so, um, most of my socials is:
Awesome. Very cool. Thank you so much for taking the time. We really do appreciate it. Guys as always Faster Than Normal we want to, we want to hear from you, so send us a note one day, let us know.. a bunch of you responded and said you want to be on the podcast which is how we’re getting so many great interviews lately. My producer is thrilled because he doesn’t have to keep bothering me to do more interviews. That’s awesome. So send us more and we would love to hear from them and hear from you and hear what you have to say! We will see you next week. Keep that ADHD working for you. It is a gift, not a curse. We’ll talk to you soon.
Credits: You’ve been listening to the Faster Than Normal podcast. We’re available on iTunes, Stitcher and Google play and of course at www.FasterThanNormal.com I’m your host, Peter Shankman and you can find me at petershankman.com and @petershankman on all of the socials. If you like what you’ve heard, why not head over to your favorite podcast platform of choice and leave us a review, come more people who leave positive reviews, the more the podcast has shown, and the more people we can help understand that ADHD is a gift, not a curse. Opening and closing themes were composed and produced by Steven Byrom who also produces this podcast, and the opening introduction was recorded by Bernie Wagenblast. Thank you so much for listening. We’ll see you next week!