Busy, busy.

Hey gang,

I’m still in residency, despite the lingering imposter syndrome.  This past year I’ve been sure to keep up with emails from people that find this site, but I’ve neglected the posts.  Figured I drop in a quick update and remind everyone that you can email me at any time.

Residency is full of surprises, some rotations are better than hours (whether it’s the service, the hours, or the people). There were times when I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it through the week. Sometimes I needed to call for a ride home, sometimes I had to cancel plans, and sometimes I needed a few coffees to keep me going. The other day I was hitting the unlock button on my car keys trying to get my apartment door to open (that was a new one!). Despite all of that, I enjoyed it. I felt more of a sense of satisfaction that I mattered and was making a difference for patients. I could see myself improving drastically in a short amount of time and can’t believe how much I learned. I forged close bonds with my colleagues through the long days and nights and found mentors that inspired me to take on extra projects or read more about things that I didn’t necessarily find interesting before. Plus, Step 3 was my only test for the year 🙂

So for all of you at different stages in the process, keep up the good work! I believe in you. So many before you have gotten through it all despite life’s curveballs and obstacles.

Take some time to give yourself some self love and compassion. There are only so many hours in the day, and we spend most of them taking care of others. Never forget to take care of yourself first.

Send me emails with questions or asking for encouragement.

Intern year

I am two months into my intern year, and to say it’s flown by is an understatement.  From getting my first long coat to signing my first paper prescription, it’s been a whirlwind.  There have been nights I’ve come home after being in the hospital for 18 hours.  There have been days where I can’t remember if I’ve eaten a meal.  It has been intense, but I love it and I am so happy to have the opportunity that I have to be a real team player in making a difference in people’s lives.

So I’m just checking in to let you know, once again, that if I can do it, you can do it!

A few things that have been key to my survival as an intern:

  1. Sleep when you can. Literally whenever and wherever you can.
  2. Fight to keep a work-life balance. Make time for a hobby that you enjoy, for a 5 minute a phone call a day with a friend, 10 minute bursts of exercise throughout the day, mindfulness, whatever it is to help prevent burnout
  3. Write everything down. If you don’t write down that critical lab value or that reminder to call your mom on her birthday – you won’t remember it.
  4. Be active in your learning. Admitting a patient with 20 meds at home? Don’t just say continue all of them – figure out why they’re on each and be thoughtful about inpatient meds.  If you have time, go back later and recheck the mechanism and side effects of those drugs. Residency is exhausting and it’s a lot of grunt work, but this is the only time where you will get the chance to have this much repetition to build a solid foundation.  I struggle with this, because it’s so much easier to let it go and just get the work done and get home.
  5. Take ownership of your patients. Sure you have senior residents, attendings, and maybe even a med student to help cover all the bases, but things fall through the cracks. Ultimately you as the intern are the face of that patient’s care and your name is all over the medications and orders.
  6. Budget and put as much as you can on autopay. You’re making money – YAY! Don’t blow it all in one place. Look up White Coat Investor or something and outline a general budget.  Live within your means and save up for a rainy day (or unexpected car troubles).  Also, remember you’re going to be tired and might have trouble enough knowing your schedule for the week, so you better have your rent, electricity/utilities, car insurance, and whatever else you can on autopay because you might forget.  Don’t waste your hard-earned money on late fees.
  7. Enjoy your career. This isn’t just some job or some stepping stone. This is your career, the life you’ve been working towards for so many years.  Learn to love it. Build a solid foundation now and do your future self a favor.

I don’t know when I’ll get a chance to write another post, but send me your ideas!

On to the next chapter

I matched! To a top program to boot. Which proves anything is possible if you work hard.

There were days when I doubted myself and my competitiveness during the interview process.  Times I thought I wasn’t good enough and shouldn’t apply to ‘reach programs’ to save some money.  Thankfully, I thought ‘screw that noise’ and went for it, and I got into a program that was one of those ‘reach programs’.

So keep working hard and believe in yourself – it’s all possible! Please reach out to me if you want any advice or just someone to listen.

Home stretch! Rank list

I found out today that there are 45 days left until Match Day.  Seems so close, and each day I keep going back and forth between programs on my rank list.  If you would have told me 3 years ago during my repeat year that things would turn out this well and I would be weighing my options, I wouldn’t have believed it.  Granted – I haven’t matched yet – but I am actually hopeful!

If I can do it, you can do it.  There will be tough days and it will take hard work, but it is all possible.

If it helps, I will share my stats:

Step 1: 213, Step 2: 229. 1 HP in first two years, 2 HP in 3rd year.  Externship, 2 year research project, and good amounts of volunteering/leadership roles. Number-wise I am below average, but my extracurriculars and projects set me apart.

I applied to 40 psychiatry programs, received 15 invites, a few wait lists, and went on 13 interviews.  I went to a few places ranked in Doximity’s top 30.  After talking with some advisors, I do think I was a bit limited regionally since I went to college and medical school in the same area.  This means I could have probably saved some money by not applying to so many, but I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go, so I applied all over the country.

There are so many factors to consider when choosing a program.  The thing that makes it tough is that there is not one set of criteria that will work for everyone, and so you need to figure out what matters to you.  My main advice is try not to have preconceived notions of places and don’t underestimate the ‘gut feeling’ factor when ranking.

Let me know what questions you have.

How time flies!

Quick update – just finished an away rotation and had a wonderful experience.  I am scheduling interviews and on my way to a week-long conference in the morning.  Life is exciting!  I realize as this month has flown by, there have been so many other months where I get to the end and I think ‘what the heck happened?’ and cannot recall much.  So below is some advice for those of you who are in the earlier steps of the journey.

It is so easy to get caught up in the cycle of study-eat-sleep-repeat.  Recently, I started making time for 5 minutes of mindfulness each night. I think it has made a big difference with calming me down and getting a better night’s sleep.  Too bad I didn’t start sooner than fourth year, it probably would have been even more helpful during test week!

Here are a few things I wish I would have done while I was in school:

1. Paused after various experiences to jot down my thoughts and reflect on how the experience impacted my career path.  This would have made expanded on my CV, preparation for interviews, etc easier.  Also it would have probably made me be more grateful for all the opportunities I have.

2. Volunteer more. I found it difficult to commit to long term projects, especially third year when you have little control of your shcedule.  However, I think if I had really wanted to make it work I could have.  During college I did a program similar to Big Brothers Big Sisters and I wish I would have continued that.

3. Read the news.  At times I felt like I was out of touch with reality.  I actually like physical newspapers, but the Skimm is a nice, quick substitute.

4. Wrote down lessons learned from people I worked with.  Some providers made me think “Wow I want to be just like you when I grow up.” and others I thought, “Ugh, I really don’t like how you phrased that.”  There were people who seemed to be very happy with their work balance of clinic, research, and also home life.

5. Unplugged and slept more.  We’ve all done it, thought ‘Oh I’ll just see what my friends are up to on social media since I haven’t seen them in awhile’ and then BAM an hour or more is gone.  Time and sleep are priceless, and I wish I would have been more efficient with my time.

Back to the Future (Planning)

I am patiently awaiting (read: trying to ignore) Step 2 CK scores and working on ERAS.  This time around, I felt more relaxed during the test.  I did some breathing exercises, made myself move on when I got stuck, tried to not to change my answers, and did my best to be positive the week up and during the test.  Hopefully that all worked to my advantage!

Post-test events were lovely.  Basically I went out to eat every day for a week and read a book.  My rotation this month was spectacular with a wonderful attending, so basically I was spoiled.

Then I got down to business revisiting my personal statement, CV, etc.  While working on my PS, I decided to pull out the one that helped get me into medical school.  Had I not known that I wrote both, there is no way I would have guessed they were written by the same person.  My writing skills have declined…and I just don’t feel as inspired this time around.

What are your thoughts for writer’s blocks and ideas for inspiration?

Remember to take some deep breaths today and think about what you are grateful for!

Fourth year… at last we meet!

Hello all!

So I am kind of bad at this whole updating thing.  I am really sorry about that.  Once I take Step 2 next month, I will really try and think up some more topics to post about.  Probably about the residency application – which up until this week I was blissfully ignoring.

But the reason this last year of posts was so sparse is because third year rotations are tough.  I had no control over my schedule.  Even when I wanted to go to a legitimate lunch lecture or conference, I would get denied or take too long to write notes or be too tired to keep my eyes open.

I thought surgery would be my least favorite, but I got lucky and had some really awesome residents and attendings. There were days where I had forgotten to eat, stood on my feet for so long I thought my spine was going to snap, and where I couldn’t get my brain to send the right signals to my hands for stitching.  Despite all that, the people I worked with made me feel like a human being and surprised me with how much respect they treated me with (even though I was pretty much an idiot when it came to pimping).

Turned out OB/GYN was just as bad as some of my nastiest nightmares.  Was that in part because it made me wish I wasn’t a female?  Maybe.  It also had a lot to do with the hours, the smells and sometimes awkward moments, and the times where it made me question how in the world could I feel this terrible about life.  There were some moments.  The miracle of life and literally feeling the gigantic amounts of love and joy in a room was mesmerizing.  One particular memory that will be a ‘forever story’ for me is the night I delivered a baby alongside the doctor who delivered me.  Talk about full circle.

Anyways, here’s what y’all really care about – I officially passed all of my clerkships, evaluations, shelfs, OSCEs, and am a fourth year medical student!  It was another huge weight off my shoulders, if only briefly before Step 2 took its place.

I am making progress.  I started my ERAS application.  I am going to be a MD.

If I can do it, you can do it.  I believe in you.  You should believe in you.