This is my blog, and I reserve the right to be lazy.
This is my blog, and I reserve the right to be lazy.
Fourth year is known for being the most laid back year of medical school. Allow me to illustrate:
Q: What does the first, second, or third year medical student do when he realizes that the hair product he bought for his beard has an ugly label?
A: Trick question. The first, second, or third year medical student has no time for personal hygiene! The fact that he has no time to maintain his beard is ironic (in an Alanis Morisette kind of way, not in a literary kind of way), because he also has no time to prevent it from growing.
on the flip side..
Q. What does the fourth year medical student do when he realizes that the hair product he bought for his beard has an ugly label?
A: Easy! He uses his vast amounts of free time to design and print his own label!
Q: The first, second, or third year medical student's father mentions that he's had to use the "world's smallest violin" cliche often at work. What does the student do in response?
A: What? He was supposed to be listening to someone tell a story? The only people the first, second, or third year medical student pays any attention to are his cadaver and Goljan.
and the fourth year?
Q: The fourth year medical student's father mentions that he's had to use the "world's smallest violin" cliche often at work. What does the student do in response?
A: Easy! The student uses his aforementioned free time to create an exhibit for his father's desk!
Anything else you'd like to know about the mysterious and crafty fourth year medical student?
Here's a little video about Match Day:
I get a lot of questions about how many job offers Y has gotten, which one he'll take, etc, etc.
Apparently word hasn't gotten out that matching into a medical residency is less like applying for a job, and more like pledging a sorority or fraternity. Let's examine this theory:
Step one, in both cases, is the official Deactivation of the Facebook Page. No one can know about that time they wore a bow tie and posed with a Shake Weight.
Then, whether it's Rush or Interview Season, they travel from place to place in a short time span, dressed in their finest. In Greek life, the places are houses, situated several yards away from each other in a row. In medical life, the places are hospitals, situated around the country. In both situations sensible shoes are advisable.
The applicants/potential new members attend several events -- pink lemonade parties, grand rounds -- where they make conversation and imagine themselves fitting in with the house/hospital.
Then, they must make one of the most important decisions of their lives. Thoughtfully, they craft a list of their top 10 (or 3, or 5, or 15) places they visited to be turned in by a designated time. Potential new members of sororities and fraternities get a few days to think about this; medical students get several weeks.
Meanwhile, the residency programs and active sorority/fraternity members are making their own top whatever lists based on criteria like board scores and bubble writing. (I'm sure sororities look at more than handwriting, but can we discuss how sorority girls have perfect handwriting and I am doomed to be forever inferior?)
When the medical students and the residency programs turn in their rank lists, a far away computer performs some kind of algorithm developed by an economist at Harvard. I'm not sure how it works on Bid Day - perhaps the computer has a part-time gig during its off season?
Match Day is approximately one month after the students and residency programs submit their rank order lists. Every graduating medical student in the country finds out where they matched at noon eastern on March 16th. (Some fourth year medical students find out their matches in private, this post explains how Y's school does it. )
I've never been to a bid day, but I imagine it's similar...but pinker.
See the similarities? Apparently it's confusing for everyone involved - the social committee at Y's school is throwing a post-match party and accidentally used a leftover theme from a sorority party: Devils and Angels. How embarrassing.
After the medical students find out where they matched, med school still isn't over. It doesn't officially end until graduation day on May 26th. If you're wondering how medical students spend their final days before actually being employed, stay tuned. It involves a lot of sleeping. And in our house, a lot of Downton Abbey.
bid day photo via
Since I'm sharing holiday gifts in February, I might as well show you this one, too.
Like many another courageous girl, she's married her young doctor in the making. And now she shares with him those long, gruelling years of medical study and internship.
You'll find dedication, as well, among the men and women who carry on A.H. Robins pharmaceutical research. It keeps them persisting through months and years of discouragement. For it may take a thousand trials and experiments to achieve a single success... a single better medicine to help your doctors of today and your doctors of tomorrow.
PS: this was the actual gift - a vintage earring holder ordered from Etsy.
A few random thoughts about Boston:
1. I was apparently on the flight from Memphis to Boston with the Small Bladder Convention. People were constantly going back and forth to the bathroom, and each time the door opened, the air recirculated and I got a huge whiff of weed. Naturally, since the smell was correlated to the bathroom door opening, I assumed someone was smoking weed in the bathroom. But then, as I pressed my forehead against the window to get a better view of Manhattan as we zoomed over it, the smell got stronger. I looked down and saw curly tendrils spilling into my personal space. This girl's weave REEKED of pot. She did manage to sleep the entire flight -- maybe I should rethink my pre-flight rituals?
2. Y got some good news about his clinical skills board exam while we were in Boston! I like to think I helped with that...
3. If we were basing our choice of city on desserts, I think the lobster tail from Modern Pastry would push Boston into first place.
4. But all of the Dunkin Donuts would be a disaster. Currently our motto is, "See a DD, inhale at least 2 donuts" because we never know when we'll see one again. If we move to Boston, that has got to stop.
5. While Y was at his interviews, I avoided shopping by going to museums.At the JFK library, I was reunited with my inner American History geek. I also learned the following: JFK played a lot of shirtless rugby before he was president, JFK looked good in wayfarers, Jackie had a lot of pretty dresses.
6. Can we discuss this portrait of Paul Revere at the Boston Museum of Fine Art? More specifically, can we discuss how Paul Revere looks EXACTLY like Jack Black? I stopped dead in my tracks when I walked into the gallery with this picture. I was sure I was on [the worst and most boring episode of] punk'd and Jack Black was going to step out of the shadows laughing at me. (By the way, the internet already knows about the Jack Black/Paul Revere resemblance -- and, naturally, is accusing Black of time travel.)
(Also, this is officially my second post about Paul Revere. I love American history and all, but I never thought my blog would cover Revere in such depth.)
You probably don't need me to tell you this, but medical students -- at least the ones I know -- have know-it-all tendencies.
On a completely unrelated note, do you want to know the worst person you could probably travel with? A KNOW IT ALL.
Within 5 minutes of arriving at the airport, Y decided that his last few weeks of travel canceled out the fact that I had ever set foot on an airplane. He criticized:
- the speed at which I removed my ID from my purse ("You need to have that out beforehand!")
- the shoes I chose to wear on the plane ("Boots?! You've got to be f*king kidding me. You do know you have to take those off, right?")
- my shoe removal technique ("You're not fast enough!")
- the placement of my jacket on the security conveyor belt("You need a second bin for your coat. Everyone knows that.")
- my failure to push the bin forward ("You can't just set it down! It has to be pushed. You're holding up the line!")
- the pocket I chose to store my quart size bag of liquids ("You need to keep them closer to the front so they're easier to remove!")**
- "That smell you're smelling is the beverage cart. It smells bad on 100% of flights."
- "Dammit! I've already read this issue of Skymall. Twice."
- "What?! Both of our flights are on Canadair Regional Jets? I myself prefer the Embraer or any of the Boeing jets."
- "PSH! This turbulence is nothing."
One year ago today Y was on his OB-GYN rotation and I learned a very important lesson that I made sure to document.
This is the tragic tale of an exhausted medical student, on the tail end of 5 consecutive interview trips away from home. This time, he's in the faraway land of Pennsylvania.
The men stood up, pushing their chairs back as they shook hands, thanking each other briefly for their time. More thorough thank yous could wait; there was a plane to catch and a stack of blank thank you cards at home.
As soon as he was out of sight, he checked his watch. He had exactly two hours before his flight departed to deposit him across the state, where he would attend interviews at 2 more schools. There was no time to change out of his suit. Luckily, his flight time was less than an hour. He could handle being crammed onto an airplane in a suit for 45 minutes, especially when the entire plane would be looking at him thinking, "Wow, that guy must be important." He stood up a little taller.
After dashing next door to his hotel to grab his bag, he was in a shuttle on his way to the airport. 1 hour and 30 minutes left, he thought, am I going to make it on time? A notorious worrier, he always assumed he would miss his flights and had been known to arrive at the airport two hours before a domestic flight. He paused for a moment to think, Gosh, is my propensity to arrive at airports way too early annoying to my wife and other loved ones? He shook the thought out of his mind. Preposterous.
Just as his worrying was reaching its peak, he realized his shuttle was at a standstill. Traffic. He put his head against the window in defeat, taking in the dreary city around him just as it started to rain. To calm his nerves, he sent a message to his beautiful and hilarious wife. Stuck in traffic. Weather sucks.
She wrote back, So your flight's delayed?
He hadn't even thought of that. He checked his flight status; his flight was delayed an hour. With this new information, at this rate he would make it to the airport 2 hours before his 45 minute flight. His ideal scenario. He sat back to enjoy the stop and go shuttle ride.
And then, at the airport, sat back at his gate to enjoy the
1 2 3 hour delay.
Finally, he was on the airplane -- his dinner plans ruined; his suit too wrinkled for anyone to believe he was of any importance. 45 minutes, he thought, exhausted, in 45 minutes I'll be there and on my way to my bed.
Meanwhile, at home his wife watched TV and refreshed his flight status when she remembered. When a red bar appeared, she gasped. Because what else does one do when they're checking to see if a plane made it safely and out of nowhere, a giant red bar that practically screams EMERGENCY! DANGER! pops up? Did no one think of this when they were designing the site? COME ON.
After circling Philadelphia in terrifying turbulence for over an hour, the plane finally landed, and the flight watched as the smelly, exhausted man in the wrinkled suit made his way off the plane. "Is he homeless?" they probably whispered to each other, "Do you think he stole that suit?"
He had only one thing on his mind: a bed. By the time they landed, it was almost midnight. He blocked the next 30 minutes out of his mind: the disgusting airport, the shuttle that never came. The next thing he remembered was standing in the lobby of his beautiful hotel as someone handed him keys, then standing in front of the door to his room, fumbling with the key and contemplating falling asleep on the carpet outside of the door if not for the sweet, sweet bed that awaited him inside.
He opened the door to his hotel room.
There was no bed.
You single people don't know how good you have it. While Y was on this trip -- Tuesday through Saturday--, I realized I could forgo taking a shower for four days straight and no one would notice. Another perk: leaving the house an absolute mess and cleaning up only just before someone came over. Why didn't you guys tell me about this stuff before I decided to go and get married?
It's just hair, I told myself. Surely it will look better in the car mirror, right? They couldn't possibly be as short as they looked in the salon... right? And even if they are, maybe I can pull off short bangs. I was feeling pretty good about myself by the time I got to my car and opened the mirror.
Operation Summer Vacation had failed again. When Y walked in the door the first thing he said was "your hair looks weird" followed by stifled laughter and a week of jokes at my expense.
While Y was on interview #3, some kind of rodent took up residence in our walls. Of course it decided the best time for its stay would be when I was home alone, extra sensitive to every little noise. Every time I thought I was falling asleep, I would hear a taptaptap behind my head and before I knew it, Ike would be standing on my chest barking. Not cool, unidentified rodent.
Our apartment was a downgrade for me: my friend and I lived in a fairly new townhouse with a new washer and dryer and a bowling alley. Okay, it was a long narrow closet, but we called it the bowling alley. My point is, there were no rodents.
Do you have any idea how good blurry pub food sounds when you're learning about reproductive issues in factory workers in Korea? Really good.
Y is a different sort of traveler than I am. I'm the kind of airplane passenger who puts my headphones on or buries my nose in a book immediately after sitting down. I don't care where you're from, 16A, I don't care where you're going, and I don't want to tell you what I'm reading. Unless you have a baby. If you have a baby, I want to hold it and then give it back to you as soon as it starts crying so no one thinks I am that person with a crying baby on a plane.
Y, on the other hand, comes home with a person's first and last name, where they went to elementary school, and the latest argument they had with their wife. During layovers, he dines in airport bars with plane-friends. On this trip, someone from Y's flight was staying at his hotel and they went out to lunch. I DON'T GET IT.
When Y told me he got this interview, I gave him the so-called stinkface, a term coined by Katie. I had never even considered visiting this particular state or city, much less living there. But then the following things happened:
- the city's standard Wikipedia page made it sound amazing.
- every single person I mentioned it to told me I would love it.
- part of our criteria for ranking is Ike's reaction when we say the name of the state.* When I asked Ike if he wanted to live there he did this:
*kidding. Isn't it sad that I had to clarify that?
I don't want to hurt Y's feelings, but being alone for a few days was kind of nice. I watched two seasons of The Wonder Years, and as Kevin and Winnie fell in and out of love I realized something: I can make ravioli.
That sounds nothing like the practice interviews the career services department offered the School of Mass Communication. Becoming a doctor sounds so easy! Let's all do it!
For the past few months, fourth year medical students have been flying around the country interviewing for residency spots. This time is affectionately known by Y and his friends as interview season, which sounds to me as if they're out in the wild hunting interviews. Which I guess they are.
Since the season is over for now (and Y has figuratively killed about 10 interviews), over the next few days I'll be sharing some of the notes from the interview trail from my perspective. Locations will be vague, as I don't want to screw anything up.
Anything specific that anyone wants to know about interviewing (out of curiosity or for future reference)?
Hadley and Ernest attended get togethers at Gertrude Stein’s home with other artists and their wives. Hadley and the other wives, nothing linking them except their significant others, were sent off to another room while the artists discussed their craft.
“I felt a twinge of regret that I wasn’t a writer or painter, someone special enough to be invited to talk with Gertrude, to sit near her in front of the fire.”
I had this exact same feeling Y’s first year of med school. Y and his new friends would organically migrate to their own separate cluster at get togethers, speaking their secret med school language.
“I wasn’t at all convinced I was special, as Ernest was. He lived inside the creative sphere and I lived outside, and I didn’t know if anything would ever change that.”
The other wives and I would talk about... them. We had nothing in common, so we talked in circles about our husbands, their classes, how busy they were. It was boring, and at times I wished I was in med school so I could belong to something and have original, important things to talk about.
“Alice seemed to feel easier in her role as an artist’s wife, throwing herself wholly behind Gertrude’s ambition... but maybe she’d just been doing it longer and could hide her jealousy better. “
I’ve since gotten over it. Or maybe, like Gertrude Stein's partner Alice, I've gotten better at hiding it.
But isn't that the funny thing about books, that it took reading about the Hemingways’ life in Paris to explain to me how I felt?
What about you guys? Anyone else felt this way?