In the Life of a Fickle Intern

November 28, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Filed under: Personal Ramble — dailymedicine @ 22:56

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I’ve mainly been hanging out and catching up with people who came to town for the holidays these last two weeks. I love this time of the year because I always get to see my favorite people from childhood. That is one perk about coming back to your hometown for medical school. It’s amazing that it’s been almost 9 years since high school, but fortunately, whenever I see my girls, we just pick up where we left off.

After a week of doing absolutely nothing, interview season is about to go into full gear. I have 6 interviews in the next 3 weeks. I’ll keep you posted. I am technically on Radiology this month, but because of interviews, I’ll be missing a few days. It’s a very laid back rotation. Nonetheless, I will try to get as much out of it as possible.

Happy Thanksgiving!! I am very thankful for everything in my life.

November 17, 2010

Interview # 2

Filed under: Personal Ramble — dailymedicine @ 23:27

I had my second interview last Monday. I am now reassured that EM residency interviews are relatively laid back, though I am not convinced completely since two is a very small number.

The program that I visited this last week was a good program. It has most everything that I am looking for in a residency except for two very big drawbacks – location and marital status. It is located in a city of about 200,000 people. Way too small for me. Secondly, 85% of the residents, EM and non-EM, are already married. Minor detail, but a very important one. I knew it was a no-go when the program director started selling the fact that City A has a great public school system. Not quite there yet, but one day, maybe. 🙂

This whole residency application process is quite an ordeal. Even though I have only done two interviews, I am already tired physically, mentally and financially. I don’t know what will happen when I actually have to do back to back interviews comes December and January.

As of now, I have gotten 19 invitations, 4 rejections, and 1 waitlist. I never expected to hear back from so many programs, and I am so thrilled and flattered to have these opportunities to go visit all these amazing places. However, I have declined 5 interviews due to scheduling conflicts so I only have 14 scheduled. I am still waiting on 4 more programs before I can finalize my schedule. I’m super excited, and I could not have asked for a better selection of programs to visit. Now the hard part begins. I have to convince all these places to like me in person!!

 

November 10, 2010

Interview # 1

Filed under: Daily Lowdown — dailymedicine @ 20:44

One down, only 14 more or so to go.

Even though this interview was a “practice run” because it was at a program that I was very familiar with since I rotated there for a month, I was still pretty nervous. I had no idea what to expect.

For the meet and greet dinner with the residents last night, I literally spent half an hour googling dress code etiquette for these pre-interview dinners. I ended up calling the restaurant after getting mixed reviews and asking them what the dress code was. I decided on a nicer pair of jeans, sweater, and some heels, just to dress it up some if needed. When I got there, the residents were in jeans and scrubs, which made me feel silly for fretting so much on what I was wearing. I was glad I didn’t wear my cute, little dress (but secretly I really wanted to wear it.)

The small talk was the worst. I know the majority of the residents in this program, and it just so happens that the one sitting next to me during dinner was one I had not met yet. I ended up asking a billion questions, many of which I already knew the answers to. He wasn’t the chattiest person around so I had to keep the conversation going. It was exhausting! Luckily, the other applicants opened up as the night went on and by the end, conversations were a little more free flowing.

Coming back to the hotel, I did some final preparations before bed. I reread my application, reread my research abstract, looked over the program’s website and attempted to peruse some current events, including football, without much success on the football portion. Football was a big topic during dinner, but I guess that is just one topic that I will not be able to add to!

The interviews took place this morning. This program got about 600 applications, invited 88 applicants for an interview, and will take 6 residents for next year. Holy crap! That’s a huge discrepancy between number of applicants and number accepted. I knew I had a reason to apply to 28 programs!

There were five 15 minute interviews with the faculty and staff. It was not stressful at all since I knew everyone. They mostly just wanted to know how the application process was going for me. One attending with whom I’m never worked with did ask some interesting questions. He asked me what I remembered about my childhood, and if you know personally, I’ve probably mentioned it to you that I have very few, if any, memories before 3rd grade. I remember random bits and pieces from the years before then, but they’re mostly created through stories that I have heard from my family. I’ve theorized that my complete lack of memory of my younger years before the age of 9 or so is due to the fact that I had such a big transition in my life that I’ve unconsciously repressed everything. It was a big deal, learning a new language and adapting to a new culture in a new city. Who knows, but I guess one of these days I should invest in hypnosis or psychotherapy to try to uncover the memories of my youth.

Anyways, that was it. It wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have be, but I have a feeling that my interview today is not representative of the interviews I have to come. I’ll keep you posted.

November 7, 2010

Playing the Game, Part 2

Filed under: Personal Ramble — dailymedicine @ 22:34

I’m ready, sort of. I got my suits fitted, my hair cut, my green finger polish removed, and I’ve been mentally preparing myself. More importantly, I’ve booked my upcoming flights, hotels and cars, at least for November. Just some minor details like preparing my portfolio, aka printing out my CV and my personal statement, to take care of, and I guess I’ll be ready for my first interview this week. Eeeek! Just typing about it makes me nervous. I hate talking about myself, at least in this setting. I have no idea what to expect. Fingers crossed!

November 4, 2010

Playing the Game

Filed under: Personal Ramble — dailymedicine @ 21:35

The whole process of applying for residency is a big game, an important one but a game nonetheless.

There is a national organization that handles the whole process. The application is “opened” on July 1st, meaning that we can start filling out all the blanks – names, age, school, extracurricular activities, personal statement, recommendations, etc. It took me a good month to fill out everything, mostly because I could not for the life of me put together a personal statement that I was satisfied with.

On September 1st, the application can be officially submitted to the programs you’ve chosen. This September deadline is one of those deadlines that is not binding because you can submit the application anytime after the 1st, but it’s strongly encouraged that you submit within the first week of September. For every program that you select, you have to pay an application fee in addition to the processing fee and the test score releasing fee and whatever other fees involved. It’s expensive!

After submission, for two months, you play the waiting game. Some may hear back from schools, others won’t. The next important date is November 1st, not because it’s my birthday, but because that is when the Dean’s Letter from your home institution is released. This letter summarizes your academic performance from the last three years and ranks you against your classmates.

For EM, many programs wait until this letter, also know as the MSPE, Medical Student Performance Evaluation letter, to be released before either inviting or rejecting you for an interview. In order to get this letter, you have to make an appointment with one of the Deans at the school in the months prior and have an interview, kind of like an exit interview. You bring your personal statement, your resume, etc., and in about 15-20 minutes, the Dean is supposed to “get to know you” well enough to advocate for you as a student.

Many of my friends who are going into other primary care fields started hearing back from their programs immediately after the submission of their application. It was nerve-wrecking being surrounded by people who already had numerous interviews lined up. I heard back from one program within a week of my submission, but then there was a month lull in which I heard nothing. That made me even more nervous. Luckily, I have heard sporadically from a few of the programs I’ve applied to.

However, today I got my first rejection. I knew it would happen sooner or later. I did apply to 28 programs after all. In no way would it be physically or financially possible for me to go on more than 10-15 interviews, but it still sucked.

The whole process is so random that I wanted to ensure that I had plenty of programs to choose from, hence applying to so many. Secondly, I do not have a dream program so I had to apply broadly to keep my options open. Thirdly, I do not want to make any assumptions about my competitiveness, or lack of.

Right now I have 12 invitations, 1 rejection, and 15 still pending. More waiting.

To be continued…

November 2, 2010

ENT

Filed under: Daily Lowdown — dailymedicine @ 22:09

This week I am rotating through ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat), also know as Otolaryngology. I had a full day’s worth of ENT related surgeries and clinics on Monday. I forgot how grueling it is to stand for hours on ends for these meticulous surgeries. Three hours in, I was ready to call it quits and sit on the floor (which I did not, of course), and yet the surgery was no where close to being done. It was really cool to be back in the operating room. It’s a whole different world in there. Everything is so orderly and controlled. I miss it in a very reminiscing kind of way, but I am so glad that I am not going into a field in which I have to spend many hours in the OR.

The surgery I got to watch was really neat, weird, but neat. They had to remove a recurrent nasopharyngeal tumor from the deep spaces of the throat so they saw this guy’s lower jaw in half to gain access to it. The Plastic surgeons came in afterward and got tissue from the arm to reconstruct the space. I had never seen anything like that before! It was cool to watch, though I did not stay for the whole thing because the residents had clinic in the afternoon and I went with them.

When I was dismissed after clinic, the senior resident told me that she would call me in the morning to tell me where and when to meet up with them. After getting up early and waiting around at home for six hours, not wanting to leave just in case I had to change into scrubs and go in, I finally gave in and left to vote. It was justifiable. I spent the rest of the afternoon shopping. I had to make use of the free afternoon somehow.

 

 

 

November 1, 2010

27

Filed under: Personal Ramble — dailymedicine @ 22:41

The big 27! I don’t remember what all I had planned for this age, but I’m sure I had some elaborate lists of things I wanted to achieve by 27. One of my best friends and I were big on making up predictions about our future. Up through high school, we would sit at Starbucks for hours and write out how life would turn out. I’m going to have to dig up those journals and see how accurate we were.

This year is going to be a good year. I just have a feeling. In a few months, I will have a degree and I will be starting a new chapter in my life. New job in a new hospital in a new city. I don’t have the option to stay at my current institution because there is no EM residency so I’ll just have to pick up and go. This may be my last, unattached move before I have a family, maybe. The last time I left, I went to Texas. Maybe this time I’ll move to a different region. I’ll find out soon enough!

Early morning so I’m off to bed! Sweet dreams!

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