In the Life of a Fickle Intern

January 28, 2011

Interview # 13

Filed under: Daily Lowdown — dailymedicine @ 09:55

Though I am a bit superstitious, I somehow ended up doing 13 interviews. I actually had a good internal debate for a day or two before I canceled my 14th program. I knew that I did not want to live in that certain city but the idea of jinxing myself by doing 13 interviews made me reconsider. So much for that. Reason overcame irrationality this time around.

I had a preformed bias against the program before I even went. For some strange reason, even when I was applying to college, I always considered this school to be incredibly snobby and stuck up. I had no justification for this notion but for the past 9 years, I’ve never thought much about this insitution.

However, as it should be, I really liked Program # 13. Everyone was awesome! The faculty was super nice. I had a really great interview day just chatting about books and travels, two of my favorite topics of all time. I liked their curriculum a lot. I was surprised at how much because I’ve heard along the interview trail that they don’t get a lot of clinical exposure because of their location. Even though I don’t particularly want to live in this specific city, I don’t think it would be the end of the world if I did end up there. One main negative is that everyone is already married and/or has a family. It seems like the residents still all hang out but the camaraderie isn’t as strong between the classes as I’ve seen, especially compared to the last few programs I’ve visited.

Nonetheless, I am done with interviewing! I applied to 28 programs, got invitations at 21, accepted 13, declined 8, and was waitlisted at 1. I will find out mid-March where I end up. I’ll keep my fingers crossed until then! I hope it’ll all work out.



January 25, 2011

Interview # 12

Filed under: Daily Lowdown — dailymedicine @ 21:33

I loved program number 12! I had a really great interview visit.

The curriculum is well-established. The program is super well-known. The residents are very down to earth. The faculty was really nice. I did get that dreaded question “What makes you stand apart from all the other applicants” to which I mumbled something generic. I hate answering that question. There is a fine line between being confident and being cocky. And honestly, I don’t really think that I’m all that special. I work hard but so does everyone else. It has been such a blast meeting the other applicants on the interview trail. The majority of the people I’ve met have been really cool. It’s a double-edged sword because they’re tough competition but I am excited about getting to work with them in the future.

One more interview and I’ll be done, done, DONZO! Cannot wait!



January 21, 2011

Interview # 11

Filed under: Daily Lowdown — dailymedicine @ 21:28

I’m really bad about posting updates on my interviews in a timely manner. It goes right along with the fact that I’m really bad about getting thank you cards out to my interviewers in a timely manner. I tend to get distracted easily.

Anywho, I really liked program # 11. I feel like that is the trend for my January interviews but it’s true! All of these programs are really well-established and I feel like because they have nothing to prove, they’re so much more laid back and relaxed about the whole process. No weird questions. No psychosocial analysis. We just chat.

The people at this program were awesome. Even though I was interviewing in a horse whisper with an agonizing sore throat (no exaggeration or anything :-)), I had such a great interview day. The residents were awesome! The faculty was awesome! The hospitals were awesome! The main down side to this program is location. I almost froze to death in this “winter tundra” as one resident described it. This city supposedly experiences winter for 8 months of the year!  A little intimidating.

The good news is that I’ve liked all the programs I’ve interviewed with this month which means that I was able to cancel a few of my upcoming interviews. I was getting really worn out with all the traveling and city hopping and my body was not handling the whole process very well. I never knew I was so sickly. It came down to the simple question “do I want to live there?” With that in mind, I have cut out three more programs from my list. Almost done!

On a side note, I really hope that I don’t sound like an idiot during these interviews. I don’t have much of a censor when I start talking.

January 16, 2011

Interview # 10

Filed under: Daily Lowdown — dailymedicine @ 20:26

Honestly, all of these places are starting to run together. I was forewarned at the beginning of the season that I would get worn out with all the traveling and interviewing, but I was optimistic. I had two whole months to fit in some interviews. How hard could it be?

After twelve cities (some layovers to visit friends), many rental cars and hotels later, I am beginning to think that maybe my body isn’t cut out for this city hopping. I love to travel, but this is not traveling. This is work! I am completely exhausted and I keep on getting sick.

With that being said, my ambitious goal of interviewing at 16 programs has dwindled down to 13. Even after declining so many interviews, I still feel guilty about forgoing an opportunity. Nonetheless, I am still voiceless and congested from this last trip and it’s definitely making me more realistic.

Program # 10 was pretty awesome! I really liked their curriculum. Very different from other places. They seemed to be on top of their game with research and technology and whatnot, but they still use paper charts in their main ER.  Ultimately it will all come down to location. All of these programs have their pros and cons, but where do I want to live? (Actually, it will come down to which program liked me!)

The interview day went well, I think. I don’t remember what we talked about but the interviews were actually very formal and structured. I can never remember what I say in these things. I hope I don’t sound like a flake!

Anyways, almost done. Sort of.

January 13, 2011


Filed under: Daily Lowdown — dailymedicine @ 21:44

I currently have an upper respiratory infection, most likely from a viral origin, with the worst sore throat ever. I can’t remember the last time that my throat hurts this much! I can barely swallow. I can’t sleep because I wake up so often since swallowing has become an active task that requires careful mental preparation and planning (it hurts!). My voice comes and goes, sounding like a frog going on puberty. My nose is raw and red from the constant nose blowing since I am now an endless faucet. Worst yet, it’s so cold in all these cities that I’m interviewing in.

Though these symptoms are all pretty typical, and if I wasn’t a medical student who have over-memorized too many potentially fatal diseases, I would not have a second thought on this topic. However, as I am that medical student, I’ve been kind of worried about having strep throat. Sore throats are common. Most of them are viral and go away without treatment. However, if you have a bacteria infection (especially Streptococcal), there are a lot of long term sequela if you are not treated with antibiotics including rheumatic fever, toxic shock syndrome, glomerulonephritis (kidney problems), etc. Actually, some of these things can still occur even with antibiotics. Knowing this, I have been trying to make a clinical diagnosis without having to go to a clinic to get my throat swabbed for culture. Without a penlight readily available, I’ve been trying to look at the back of my throat at every possible opportunity. I’m sure I look really attractive with my tongue sticking out saying “ah” at every red light. I finally resorted to using my friend’s flashlight to look but I couldn’t get a great view. It’s so much easier to look into someone else’s throat! I’m going to have my roommate look tomorrow when I get home, and if needed, I’ll head to the clinic on Monday.

The main issue now is that I have one more interview tomorrow before I can head back and I’m almost voiceless. The dinner tonight was interesting as I attempted to raise my voice to be heard even though it still came out as a bad whisper. In attempt to savage what little I have left, I’ve been on a liquid diet these last two days trying to ease the pain and to keep myself hydrated. I’ve been trying to relieve my symptoms with over the counter medications without much success. (If you know me, I am not a fan of taking medicine!) This is probably one of a few times  in my life in which 1) I’m relatively quiet 2) I don’t want to eat and 3) I can’t sleep.

Ok, I’m going to pop some more pills and try to rest so that I can trudge through tomorrow.


January 10, 2011

Interview # 9

Filed under: Daily Lowdown — dailymedicine @ 06:15

After an uneventful but much needed Christmas break, I am once again on the interview trail. Unlike last month when I was technically “working” I am guilt free this time around with the whole month off to enjoy the cities I’m visiting. I have high hopes for these upcoming interviews and the first program of the new year was definitely not a disappointment.

Program # 9 looks really good on paper. It has the reputation, the alumni network, the patient volume, location, etc. This is one of the interview invitations where I actually squealed with excitement when I got the email, as witnessed by my friends. (Actually most of the programs that I’m interviewing at this month elicited similar reactions, but nonetheless, I was pretty dang excited about this opportunity.) With ridiculously high expectations, I was very disappointed after the pre-interview outing. There weren’t that many residents there and I did not get a chance to ask the slew of questions that I had. With only applicants to talk to, I got a skewed view of the program. There were so many things missing from the hospital – no onsite cath lab (for heart attacks), no stroke center, no level 1 trauma center. Expectations were lowered.

However, being the fickle person that I am, my mindset changed completely after the interview day. Though all of those things mentioned above are true, the curriculum is so well established that I have no doubts that I will more than well trained if I matched here. The people are awesome. The hospital is awesome. (The food is not, but that is not a deciding factor.) More importantly, their goals are very similar to my own – serving the under-served, international medicine, teaching and academics, etc.

I really enjoyed my interview day. Despite having a parking ticket when I left the hospital, I was once again really pumped about the prospect of coming here. More so here than prior places that I’ve interviewed, it’s probably more important that they like me rather than vice versa. They’re really competitive and they usually match people who’ve rotated with them. If only I knew as much about these programs a few months back as I do now, I would have totally tried to rotate here. Oh well, I’m sure (hoping!) that the match will work out for the best.



January 1, 2011

New Year

Filed under: Daily Lowdown — dailymedicine @ 22:25

Happy New Year, everyone!

I cannot believe that it’s already 2011! Crazy how fast time flies! It’s going to be a big year filled with a lot of changes and new adventures. I don’t have any new year resolutions but I will aim to have a happy and healthy year.


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