Thursday, August 28, 2008

Meeting with the Big Guy

Yesterday I had one of the most important, and yet terrifying, meetings of my life (ok I am known to exaggerate). I met with the Residency Director for the Emergency Department at my Medical School. He is known to be a bit blunt and tell you exactly how he sees things, so I was ready to be tackled down and told that I was never ever going to become an Emergency Pediatric Doc.

He surprised me.

I first sat down wishing I had not worn a white top because I knew that sweat marks were already shining through, when he barked "So why did you want to talk to me?" I took a deep breath and opened my mouth and replied "I came here for 2 main reasons. First I want to know about what you think about letters of rec...." and I really didn't close it much after that. For some reason he responded well. He went over each and every one of the residencies on my list and graded them for me based on what I said I was looking for. He then did a mock interview and told me how to revise what I said. Which is when I decided it was time to know, to really know, how I stood up against other applicants. Because I'm gonna be honest---sometimes I'm like an ostrich--I just like to keep my head in the sand and push on through without realizing everyone is running away from the lion.

So I told him my Step 1 board score---its pretty much the mean of what his department takes--which I expected. We discussed Step 1 for a bit. And then I mentioned that I honored everything except for medicine. Now, here comes the hard part. I am pretty sure I prefaced that with "In third year I honored everything but medicine," but looking back, I am not so sure. He was impressed. He asked if I was AOA (they are the ones to be impressed by!). I said "No--I have a very competitive class." And thats when he said, "Well if you rocked Step 2 then I think this whole Em/Peds Residency is a reality for you." My head swelled up 2 sizes and I floated away from that conversation elated. ELATED.

It wasn't until 7 hours later when I realized he might have thought I meant I honored EVERYTHING except for medicine---meaning everything first year, everything second year, everything third year----except for medicine. My elated feeling fizzed and now I'm back in the sand again with the lion circling. I mean what was I thinking?? I knew that conversation went too well. My luck isn't that amazing. So I wasn't sure what to do with this new thought. Some of my closest friends (I love you guys) told me thats definitely not what he thought, it was clear that we had moved on to 3rd year when I mentioned that. And hopefully they are all correct. I am just having a hard time shaking this one off.

Tuesday I start Peds Infectious Disease---you all know how I love the little buggars!!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Selling my soul part 2

I've said it once, I've said it a million times, but I have FINALLY made a choice about what kind of doc I'm set out to be. (have I already posted this?) Anyway, just so the record is straight--I am applying for the combined Emergency Pediatric Residency programs (there is only 3) and then Emergency on top of that. It all sounds so simple, but after a year of liking almost everything, and then changing my mind every 3 days or so, you would think I could catch a break once I made a decision, but this application business is anything but.

ERAS, or Electronic Residency Application Service, is where the thousands of medical students send in their first 3.5 years in hopes to land their dream residency. Whats interesting to me, we go through these ass kicking years, thinking we're working so hard, signing up for extra projects, etc etc, when in reality we're just like every other medical student out there. Signing up for the extra stuff, studying your butt off to honor every rotation except one (TRUE STORY!), turning down social events, saying no to your family---is no big deal when you are compared to everyone who is just like yourself. The residency has already heard of it before. About 500 times before.

So how do you stand out? What will make me special? I actually know of a medical student who started hiking (she went 2 times) in order to have something to say at the interview when they asked about hobbies. (saying it now makes me want to puke) As I fill out my personal statement and my resume I think about the random things that I wish I could add: making good luck cards for every class member for a year, organizing several trips to mexico, camping, lake tahoe, planning dog park days, surprise parties (x2), etc etc etc. I wonder if the 60-somethings attendings on the admission committees will appreciate that stuff. Somehow I doubt it.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

And so it continues.....

So I know I haven't posted in a while, but the stress level really hasn't died down and haven't had anything non-stressful to post.

I am currently studying for Step 2 of the Boards. I've decided this is the worst name for this test. I am a 4th year. I think the Boards by now should be Step 186 or maybe Step 309. I mean Step 2??! It seems like I haven't made it that far with just the second step. I am going to propose this to the headquarters. After I take the test, of course.

On a happier note---after the boards I'm heading to the wild territory of Las Vegas! Any suggestions of what to do while I'm there?? We'll see if that helps with the stress. :)