narrative medicine · residency

Life is like…

I guess JellyBelly has a flavor guide too. This just takes all the fun out of it!

I never did like Forrest Gump’s line about life being like a box of chocolates. There are no surprises in a box of chocolates, not really. Chocolate boxes come with those little paper liners that tell you exactly what each kind of chocolate is.

No, life is like dipping your hand into a bag of jellybeans. Sometimes you get the coveted sour apple, and your parotid starts workin’ it in anticipation. And sometimes, you strike out and get the evil “butter” flavored jellybean. (Who decided butter was an appropriate candy flavor? Just thinking about it makes me wince.)

I was feelin’ all sour apple yesterday night, because I had a rocking world lit seminar, and I came home to find that I was accepted to an away rotation at UCSF. Woo! I even managed to find myself a lead on a good looking place to stay during that month. The area around UCSF (the Inner Sunset? What a name) sounds just like the Upper West Side — independent shops, close to the Park, safe and walkable — but with Washington Heights prices. Thumbs up, UCSF!

And then today. I had a meeting with my Dean to discuss residency application/elective scheduling and she … she shot me down. With a freaking bazooka. Basically, there are lots of people applying to neuro this year, and compared to them, my grades aren’t good enough, my scores aren’t good enough, my dual degree “won’t count” because it’s not a research year. And whereas last year (when there were only 2 applicants) I could have had my sweet pick of places, this year I’ll have to apply all over the country and hope I manage to get at least half interviews. Oh, and my financial aid might be screwed up as well.

I tell you, I walked out of that office and straight across the street to my favorite bagelry for some full-fat walnut raisin cream cheese. And chocolate milk. And then I came home and baked cookies.

I think we can see where this is headed.

Anyway, the only point to this story is that walnut raisin cream cheese/chocolate milk/molasses cookies are way, way better than butter-flavored jelly beans.

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2 thoughts on “Life is like…

  1. listen to what the dean says with a grain of salt. my advisors were ER physicians (not knocking on ER, but they aren’t surgeons) and i got better advice reading SDN online than from them. and don’t get trapped into “omg so many people from MY school applying into ___”…it’s not about YOUR school, it’s about everybody. not meant to scare you, but while your school might have an upshoot of neuro applicants, but overall the number is probably the same as last year.

    apply broadly is just good advice. you never know what you might like or not like, and i found myself reevaluating what i thought i wanted many times during the interview process.

    also, don’t let the man get you down. i was told by a lot of people that i probably would not match into general surgery, and what do you know, i did, despite a crappy step 1, despite repeating the first half of M1 year, despite not having any publications, etc etc. just apply to a ton of places…you never know what can happen!

    good luck!

    1. Thanks! My neuro advisor was more encouraging, and my dean does tend to be very cautious (better to match at Podunk U than have to scramble). I see her point about how any particular program might not want to interview EVERYONE from any given school, and I might be screened out on the basis of that alone. Luckily I am planning to apply to a few unusual programs, so hopefully that will lessen the chance of being compared to whoever it is who has a 270 Step 1 score and five publications.

      Thanks also for the reminder about SDN. They helped me a lot through the med school application process, but I’d completely forgotten about them!

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