All Systems Go

When I last wrote about being in the intensive care unit, I was coming off a three-month research stint where my primary job was perfecting the art of appearing busy while actually doing nothing. I achieved true expertise in this area and earned commendations for my efforts, if not for my actual research. Continue reading

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

The Coming Reckoning

Two things right up front:

With that said, I write this post while experiencing a fairly complex, ebbing and flowing mix of trepidation, desperation, apathy, and outright nihilism. These are the emotions of a compromised fourth year student with a willpower wellspring shallower than a lunchbox. When you do nothing for almost three months, your brain atrophies; at this point, all I’m really capable of doing is following the smells of free food and clicking “Yes, I’m Still Watching” on the Netflix popup. This bodes poorly for my ICU rotation starting tomorrow. Continue reading

Red Tape

Next month, I’ll be doing my sub-internship at a veteran’s hospital near my home school. A sub-internship is supposed to be a capstone to medical school, a chance to behave “like the intern” in preparation for the actual ass-clenching panic of actually being an intern.

(It also means that I will be writing much, much less, which is probably a welcome respite for those of you not named Grandma.)

The VA, as it affectionately and simultaneously-not-affectionately known, is one of my favorite places in the medical universe. 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

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