In the Life of a Fickle Intern

December 23, 2010

Interview # 8

Filed under: Daily Lowdown — dailymedicine @ 23:31

After returning home from interview # 8, I had a mild viral syndrome and decided to let myself completely slack off from all responsibilities, hence being MIA for the past few days. I’ve been staying in bed and lounging around the apartment watching movies and eating homemade cookies. It’s a hard life, I know. 🙂

I did realize how terrible of a patient I would be if I ever really did get sick. I have no pain tolerance and the suppressed “Youngest Child Syndrome” definitely comes out. At least this will make me even more empathetic towards my patients because I am such a baby when I’m not feeling well.

Even though I was enjoying my self-induced social isolation, I was kindly reminded by my mother that Christmas is only a few days away and I had no presents, no cards, nothing. Reluctantly, I dragged myself away from my comfortable couch and have been doing some major shopping these last two days. Almost done!

As for interview number eight, I really liked the program. The opportunities for residents are endless. They have the resources and the connections to make anything happen. They have had a 100% success rate of residents getting their first choice job once they graduate. Everyone was really nice! I was a little surprised because I had some preformed notions that the residents may be a little snotty. I’m so glad that I was wrong. Also, I love the city! If I choose strictly on location, I would choose this city without a doubt. There were a few things about the program that worries me. It’s a relatively young program and the patient population is different from the type I imagined I would serve. Moreover, I am not convinced that the residents get enough procedures and traumas.

I’ve been keeping a subjective grading scale of all the places I’ve interviewed at, and so far, this program has the highest score. I’m not sure how strictly I’ll adhere to my scoring system when it comes down to making my list, but at least it’ll give me some guidance. No more interviews until the first week of January. I’m very grateful for this break. I was getting worn out, physically and mentally.

Happy Holidays!!


December 16, 2010

Interview # 7

Filed under: Daily Lowdown — dailymedicine @ 17:34

I got a burst of optimism after interview 6, but unfortunately, that did not last very long. Even though I’ve been ambiguous about most of the programs I’ve interviewed at, I definitely got the “feeling” that Program # 7 was not a good fit for me. Everyone was nice enough, but it just wasn’t what I was looking for.

First off, I did not get a great vibe from my fellow applicants. I can’t pinpoint why, surprise surprise, but I did not click with them as I have with others. Secondly, the city is far from ideal. One of the residents who interviewed me told me that the only reason she isn’t miserable in the city is because her husband is also there. Thirdly, though the program is known to be relaxed and laid back, I felt like I got grilled during the interviews, getting asked some weird questions. If you didn’t know already, Emergency Residency interviews are really informal. They just want to get to know you so for the most part, they ask about hobbies and interests, etc., not anything serious. They throw in a question here or there but it’s more of a conversation rather than an interview. Lastly, the facility was not great. They are building a new ER but that will not be done for another two years.

The good news is that now I have ruled out one program. Half way done. I hope I find the right fit for me.

December 15, 2010

Interview # 6

Filed under: Daily Lowdown — dailymedicine @ 08:32

Almost half way through all my interviews and I was getting a little discouraged. I was still looking for that “feeling” or at least the opposite feeling everywhere I was going, but for the most part, all the programs so far have just been fine. I would not hate my life if I went to any of them but I wasn’t sure I would love it either. I’m relatively optimistic and I can make do anywhere, but I still wanted my gut feeling to guide the way.

Despite the extraneous surrounding situations such as the rain, the weather in general, getting lost in an unfamiliar city, and so on, I really, really liked Program # 6. I wouldn’t say that I loved it because there were minor kinks here and there when it comes to the curriculum and the location, but apart from that, it has been my favorite program to interview at so far. I loved the residents, and the faculty was so great. There was no pretension and the residents seemed genuinely happy. The best part was that everyone, from the 1st years to the 3rd years, were all great friends. At other programs, you became friends with your classmates but not necessarily your colleagues.  That’s very important to me because I will ultimately be without a support network wherever I end up going.

I was really surprised that I liked it so much. I guess it is true what they say about visiting a school. I was definitely on the verge of canceling this interview because on paper, it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. I don’t really know what I’m looking for, but I hope I’ll find out soon. I have high hopes for the rest of my interviews!

December 11, 2010

Interview # 5

Filed under: Daily Lowdown — dailymedicine @ 23:06

I went into this interview with the mindset that I was NOT going to like it. This is one of the programs that I rotated through last summer, and I was so stressed out and tired the whole month. In addition to that, I had some personal stuff going on at that time and it just left a bad impression of the whole experience.

I drove down on Thursday and was determined to find something wrong with everything. It started out relatively easy to find faults. I stayed at a hotel downtown so parking was a mess. I left my hair brush at home; the internet was having problems, etc. (Luckily, my hair is easy to manage.) The pre-interview social was a bit chaotic because there were so many people there. It was crowded and definitely not a typical dinner. It was fine, but it was a bit overwhelming.

It got harder to find faults during interview day. Either the school is really good at selling the program or I had misconceptions about my experience, but I left the interview day really liking the program. They stand for community service, competency and compassion, all the things that I look for in a program. I tried to remember all the reasons that I did not enjoy my rotation here last summer, but I could not come up with that many. Apart from not liking some of the residents and the city, everything else is solid. The faculty is great, intimidating but great. The curriculum is really well developed. Now I’m stuck in a difficult position. I have to objectively try to figure out if I really do like the program subjectively or if I really did have a negative experience when I visited. Geez.

After 12 hours of sleep last night, I am packed and ready for this last set of  December interviews. Heading north to the cold weather for interviews # 6, 7, and 8 tomorrow morning.

December 8, 2010

Interview # 4

Filed under: Daily Lowdown — dailymedicine @ 20:36

I wasn’t sure what to expect from program # 4. It is located in my alma mater city so I’ve been biased by friends who stayed in the area for medical school. The school itself does not have a great reputation amongst other medical students and residents, and because the majority of friends are these other students and residents, I was a bit hesitant to come for the interview. I ultimately decided to accept the invitation because I really wanted to make a trip out of it and visit people from college. Unfortunately, a lot of my friends have left. It was still great to see those who were there!!

The dinner with the resident gave off a weird vibe. The residents were all late! I know that’s not a big deal, but there were five applicants seated before even one resident showed up. That’s just weird. You should be on time to the dinner you’re hosting, right?

The interview day actually went really well. I really enjoyed meeting the Program Director and some of the attendings. One interviewer did throw me for a loop with his questions. One of the questions asked was how I was going to change health care? Really? The majority of my interviews have been friendly discussions, not some political debate about the future of healthcare. It was a toughie. I have a pretty solid stand on what direction I think healthcare should take, but it’s not fair to ask such a question because you can’t and shouldn’t judge me based on what I think, can you? Oh well. I’m sure it won’t matter in the long run.

I’ve had a nice break, but I’ll be heading down south tomorrow for interview # 5. Wish me luck (at not falling asleep at the wheel!)


December 7, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Filed under: Daily Lowdown — dailymedicine @ 22:53

I love traveling. I love getting to see long lost friends while traveling. However, I hate getting sick while I’m getting to see my long lost friends. One of my fellow applicants who had back to back interviews with me was sick at the first interview, and whatever it is that she had, I think I’ve got it now. I’ve been dealing with terrible headaches with nausea for the past two days. Definitely not a good combination for flying. I am so, so, so glad to be home right now, at least for three days before I have to head out again. After six nights of couch surfing, I slept so well in my own bed when I got in around midnight last night. Back to back interviews are tough. Four down, eleven to go. I’ll update about Interview # 4 soon!

December 3, 2010

Interview # 3

Filed under: Daily Lowdown — dailymedicine @ 10:43

I was told by several people who went through the process last year that I’ll just “know” when I interview at the right program for me. With this advice in mind, I’ve been searching for this ambiguous feeling at every interview, but so far, the only feeling that I’m getting is exhaustion. The combination of the traveling and the 8-hr long interview day filled with endless information, small talk, tours, etc. is so incredibly tiring. Nonetheless, I am very grateful for these opportunities. One step closer to having a job!

Program number 3 has an amazing reputation. They’re one of the founding programs of Emergency Medicine, and they’re very well known and respected in the EM world. I was very surprised and honored to get an interview invitation at all. However, the interview day was ok.

Everyone was incredibly nice and approachable, and I felt like the residents were relatively happy. The city is great and the hospitals are super nice. However, the interview day was a little off. I can’t pinpoint it, but I was just thrown off by a few minor details. For instance, not all of my interviewers had read my application before I walked in. That’s just weird to me. One of them actually flipped through as we were talking. I know none of this will matter in the long run, but I’ll just keep track of it anyways.

I’m currently taking a break on my friend’s couch before my next interview on Monday. The best part about this whole process is getting to see so many friends on the way. The idea of doing this for another two months is kind of overwhelming, but I guess you just gotta do what you gotta do.

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