MS-4

Vacation!

I just returned from a fantastic vacation to Costa Rica with my family. Have you been? You should go! It’s jumped on the eco-tourism wagon, and there is plenty to do for hikers, birdwatchers, volcano enthusiasts, coffee lovers…. The flipside of that is that CR has become essentially a fiscal colony of the United States. By that I mean dollars are accepted *everywhere*, even sodas, the restaurant equivalent of a bodega where we would grab lunch before heading back into the rainforest. Changing your money is more than just a hassle at the bank — it’s a symbol that you’re entering a different world with brightly-colored banknotes and funky coins. You don’t quite get that when you are just dealing with boring old greenbacks.

Nevertheless, it was an amazing trip, and CR as a whole really has its act together. Stable political system! No army since 1949! Female president! Universal healthcare (which the Costa Ricans and expats we talked to actually liked)! Free and compulsory public education through 6th grade, with a 96% literacy rate! For a tiny, agrarian country stuck smack-dab in the middle of the world’s drug-running region, they seem to really know what they are doing. Kudos, Costa Rica!

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MS-4

So close!

Last night, I finished my last major hurdle before graduation — presenting my thesis/capstone project to a small seminar. I have fairly crippling anxiety about presentations and lecturing, but I’ve been trying to push myself outside my comfort zone, because … academia likes lectures, and I like academia. And it’s never as bad as I think it’s going to be — I managed to deliver two lectures to a group of overeager premeds! If you can survive the rabid premeds, you can handle anything.

The talk actually went really well; the other woman presenting that night was working on a very complementary topic, so the discussion afterwards was incredibly rich. Lots of encouragement to publish, which is heartening. There are times, when you are up at 3 AM embroiled in the nitty-gritty of statistical analysis, when you start to doubt the validity of your work, its relevance to medical education, and whether or not the sun is going to rise ever again. So it’s great to take three steps back and present to the greater community and realize that no, these are actually really important findings. Now, I just need to convince Academic Medicine of that mindset!

So now back to my regularly scheduled programming: filling out residency paperwork, and lying in the grass in Central Park with Zadie Smith.

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MS-4

Thanks to everyone who left congrats in the last couple of posts. I’m really, really happy at how the Match turned out for my friends and me; we’ve been incredibly lucky.

The last few days of med school were weirdly anticlimactic. When I left clinic on my last day, my attending gave me a hug. Aw. Then I came home, hung up the short white coat for the last time and commenced the inevitable slide into Netflix and trashy novels. Lack of structure wreaks havoc on my day.

Been trying to find a place to live via the internets. I do have some potentially promising leads, so hopefully I will not have to live in a box on the bridge into town. It’s quite remarkable given the insanity of NYC’s housing market, to realize that I can find a place all on my own here. I so look forward to leaving.

MS-4

The Lady or the Tiger?

After a full week of agonizing over my rank list, I sucked it up this afternoon and just put something in. Anything. I barely care any more. (No, that’s not true. I just have a headache.) And then promptly got down to the Very Important Business of reading Wikipedia. Did you know that Mayfair was named for an annual festival held there from 1686 until 1764 when the residents felt it was too lowbrow for them? Gentrification: your ticket to snobbery for more than two hundred years!

I am thoroughly annoyed at this process. Especially the post-interview contact, which by rights ought to be banned. It didn’t really sway my list, and it was pleasant to hear from PDs at programs I was interested in, but at the end of the day it made everything much harder. I like X! I like Y!

Compounded to that is the fact that I have no good advisor to turn to. This is the fault of my school and the general lack of trust between administration and students. For instance, my “confidential” advisor (whom I chose because she was supposedly not on the interview committee) was one of my interviewers.

I’m sure everything will work out as it should, but right now, I’m stressed and frustrated and don’t want to think about it.

MS-4 · residency

Million dollar question

Now that all my interviews are done (and one second look next week), I’m finally sitting down to make my rank order list.

For those of you not playing along at home, the Match algorithm involves programs ranking their preferred candidates, the candidates ranking their preferred programs, and then magic-and-hijinks ensue. I have this idea that the Match computer is some behemoth circa 1970 organism, like Hal from 2001: Space Odyssey, complete with blinking lights and a little “out” slot that spits out the answer to the meaning of life. That’s how it feels, anyway.

I’m pretty comfortable with the middle of my rank list, in part because I think (hope?) I won’t drop that far. But trying to rank my top 5 is killing me. On one hand, this is good, because it means that I would be happy at any of my top five programs. On the other hand, it’s problematic because, well, I can’t tell anyone they are my #1 (because I don’t know yet) and at some point between now and February 22nd, I have to input a real list.

Picking med schools was a totally different feel. When I was applying to med school, I definitely wasn’t thinking about residency selection — I just picked the school where I liked the people I met, and it all worked out, more or less. But now, I’m factoring fellowship placement into the mix, and the added confusion of “You usually practice in the same region where you do residency” and suddenly it seems like my options, rather than expanding, are shrinking.

I’m sure it will all work out in the end, because everyone says so, but still. I dislike ceding control to a computer.