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

Tail of the Trail

I have three interviews left before I have only to sit down in an echo chamber and perform the mental equivalent of processing pasta dough – taking all the raw information and feelings from the last two months and distilling them down into a rank list.

It’s amusing, really, to think back on how things have changed since the September days of waiting anxiously by the computer for an interview to come in. This pregnant waiting period was only interrupted when disappointed by yet another CALL TO ACTION!, or alert about a very important lecture series where there will be FREE PIZZA if you will just RSVP, but that’s neither here nor there. 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

Color-Coding Has Its Limits

Interview season is crazy and exhausting and fun and exhausting and AWESOME.

For those of you who are nonmedical, interview season is the fourth year winter when all other medical school responsibilities evaporate like a bottle of wine at a Thanksgiving dinner political discussion. No clinical responsibilities, easily avoidable committee responsibilities, sometimes cancel-able friend responsibilities.

If anyone asks you for something that you don’t want to do, you just say, “oh, sorry, I have an interview.” Continue reading

Interview Season is Over!

After nearly three months, seven round-trip flights, two experiences on Amtrak, and an exhausting number of hours in airports and security lines, my interview cycle is over. I can triumphantly report that, regardless of where or to how few schools I gain admission, I have no idea where I want to be, what I want to study, or how I want to learn.

Oh, if you stop by my desk at work, I’ve arrayed my little collection of name tags (yes, I saved every one, because that’s what narcissists with OCD do) into groupings that ostensibly represent my preferences and rankings, but I change it every day. So I really do have no idea. Continue reading

Holding All The Cards

Oh, I’m not talking about me. In the medical school world, the institution holds all the cards. When you apply to schools and complete the secondary application, the rest of the process is entirely at the discretion of the school – that is, until they decide to make you an offer of admission.

Here’s what happens: When a school receives your completed application, they will review it when they get a chance. Or they won’t, and will wait to review applications until a predetermined date in the future. Continue reading

A Whirlwind Week… and a Surprise

The last two weeks have been a crazy whirlwind of stress, triumph, starting a new job, and a huge amount of writing. When I got back to the States, I had about a week to wait for my MCAT scores and convalesce from whatever bizarre mystery infection I picked up in Cambodia. And it took that full week.

You probably don’t care or want to hear about me moving, so I’ll skip that part. I also started a new job on Monday; I’ll skip talking about that, too, mostly because blogging about your job is a traumatically bad idea.

What I WILL tell you: the first date for “data transmission” to medical schools was June 29. If you remember The Long Haul Begins, you’ll recall that this was Step 3 – when your completed application goes out to the medical schools you’ve listed, sans any scores or grades you haven’t gotten yet. For me, this was before my MCAT score came in – so my twenty or so schools got everything but. Continue reading