Monday, January 21, 2013

Tachy Med Student: Interview Travels

Happy New Year!

Okay it's the 21st and we're three weeks in. I celebrate a birthday month, a Thanksgiving month, a Christmas month, why shouldn't the new year get a whole month?

As you may recall, I'm working on becoming a doctor. I graduate this Spring and I'm going into Pediatrics. As a fourth year medical student, in order to get a residency position for next year I got to travel all around the country and interview with different programs. It was an absolute whirlwind.

In all I went to 9 different states and a few more programs in the past few weeks.

I wanted to share a few highlights from my trips, photo style. As I have not yet matched, I won't be sharing my opinions of programs or my rank list, but I went to a lot of beautiful places.
It all started with this bag my friends gave me for my birthday. It came with me everywhere. It's giant but fits perfectly under the airplane seat. With this and a small carry-on suitcase, I never had to check a bag. However, since I flew Southwest which checks bags for free, I frequently checked it anyway so I didn't have to roll it around on my layovers.
This is the view from Morning Report at one of the programs. Wow right?
The southwest was sunny and clear with some gorgeous sunsets.
Snow all over in Utah. Also a surprisingly vegan friendly place, which I loved.
Oregon's amazing tram ride. Of course it felt amazing to be home.

Boston has really tall buildings, and while I was there I got to see Tiffany. She used to live there and just happened to be visiting the same time as me. It was so nice to have her show me around. Bridge over the Charles.
I tried to walk at least a little in every place I went because I think it gives me the best sense of it. Sometimes I took a latte with me.
One truth that became very true in my life is that the buildings all blurred together. I honestly can't tell you where this is. I know about how I felt in different places and whether I had a good sense about living and training there, but if you showed me a picture of each hospital I went to, I could not successfully identify them, guaranteed. That means I just have my priorities straight right?
[Whatever program this is, please don't hold this against me.]
I felt like Eloise at the Plaza in this hotel that the program paid for in Ohio.
There was snow on the Grapevine in California when we went through this past week. Usually it's not a very pleasant drive, but this is the prettiest I've seen it.
I have very few photos of interview food, as I felt extra weird taking pictures of my lunch in such a professional setting, but I certainly had lots of good meals out while I was travelling [and I few I'd prefer to forget]. 
At most places, they gave us breakfast and lunch (each interview day is about 8 AM to 3 PM). Sometimes if I wasn't sure I'd have a hotel breakfast or grab some oatmeal:
Jamba Juice Fresh Banana Steel-Cut Oats and Coffee

Hotel buffet: Oats, peanut butter, melon and strawberries.

Although I was fed lunch on my interview days, I frequently had travel days and had a great time finding a vegan-friendly restaurant in all these new cities.
Tofu, veggies, french toast in Oregon.

Adzuki burger in Tucson, AZ

Chicken melt also in Tucson, AZ

And...Chocolate Cake also in Tucson, AZ (I flew in and out of there for my Arizona trip so had a couple meals at this place)

Whole foods breakfast bar. Phoenix I think?

Whole foods salad bar and soup. Really couldn't tell you where.

Thai in Boston, MA

I just wanted to share that interview season, while indisputably exhausting, is a blessing. At what other time in my life do I get to travel the entire country imagining what my life might be like if I moved there, see amazing hospitals doing great work and meet piles of people who want to do the same thing.
And after most of them were done and I was bone tired, I got to head home to my parents' house in Oregon for Christmas. My husband came with me, and relaxing there was that much more enjoyable because of the whirlwind.
As I said, I finished my last interview a week ago, sent all my thank you notes, and after some consideration, I certified my rank list and got this email:
You probably can't read that, but it says "Confirmation of Certified ROL" meaning, I'm done! I am of course allowed to change it up until February 20, but I have faith God will send me where I belong regardless of what order I put the programs in. I've done my best to be honest with myself, but messing around with my list isn't going to change where He wants me to go, so it feels good to let it go.
So now that there's nothing left for me to do but wait for March 11 (finding out if we matched) and then March 15 (finding out where we matched) it feels like a strange balance of relief and nervous anticipation.
It would be easy to be anxious, but I'm trying to just enjoy my electives, my friends and this time when my worries are out of my control.
Missed you, see you soon!

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