The Fourth Year Lexicon

I’ve written twice before about funky medical words – once in first year, with Commonest Erythematous Palpation, and once at the end of second year with A Lexical Update. As I hit the big orange “CERTIFY” button on the rank list page last week, I realized that there is a completely different dictionary for the fourth year medical student.

As useless extra hands in the hospital go, we have basically completed our penance and have become experts in the Med Student Daily Apologia For Being An Idiot. In celebration, many of us – yours truly included – took huge chunks of time off to apply for and interview at residency programs. The process, while fun and exhausting and replete with enormous amounts of Netflix binge-watching, also generated a lexicon all on its own. Continue reading

How The Match Works

As I wrote in PANIC! At the ERAS, the final step in obtaining a spot in a residency program is the Match. Like I mentioned, after all the interviews everyone’s preferences – and the preferences of all of the programs – go into a big computer and get processed through some algorithm, which somehow pops out a “best match.” This process is administered by one central service, called the National Resident Matching Program, or NRMP, so they control everything from start to finish. Continue reading

Tox ‘O Clock: Carbon Tablets

So I have pretty much nothing to write about now, as I’m in a lull between (mostly) the end of interviews and having to make my rank list. I spend my free time, which usually ranges between 20 and 23 hours a day, contemplating my existence in the various cities where I’ve interviewed and pretending the horrifyingly high-stakes reality of creating a match list isn’t around the corner. Continue reading

Are We There Yet?

Am I still a medical student? I am legitimately no longer sure.

In the last four weeks, I’ve flown to five different cities, taken a two-week family vacation to Japan, stayed in enough hotel rooms to bankrupt a minor consulting firm, and worn a suit enough to notice that I am clearly fatter than when I had it first tailored in 2012. Continue reading

Sorry, Can’t Help You

The fourth year of medical school is sometimes referred to as the “victory lap,” because historically it has been an easier year where you take some chill rotations, interview for residency, and mostly relax before starting intern year.

Fourth year is, obviously, the greatest year for medical school. It’s the last year when you can focus simply on your own learning without yet having to deal with all the horribleness involved in actually working in the hospital – writing the notes, checking the administrative boxes, following decision rules and spending seemingly 90% of your time in front of a computer. There is also significant time built in for important rotations such as “Let’s Go Skiing” and “I’d Like to Drink Some Beer Now,” both of which are courses known for giving out high grades. It’s fantastic. Continue reading