Moving On After Graduation (or: The Existential Terror Of The Void)

Before the ceremony, we were all supposed to line up in alphabetical order. But when our Dean called out our names in said order to make sure we all knew how to alphabet (spoiler alert: NOPE), I suddenly knew that she’d skip right over me. And that she’d then pause and look at me all concerned and say, “Oh, hey… you’re not on my list…” and then everyone would know I was a terrible, terrible fraud.

i think it's a mistake

But she actually did read my name: both before the ceremony and (arguably more importantly) during it.

So I guess I’m a doctor now!

I probably need to stop finding this hilarious.

Anyway, in other news, I’m moving to Midwest Metropolis! On Tuesday! And I will be super excited about it just as soon as I’m assured that I won’t be living in a cardboard box.

(Not really joking. I legitimately will be living out of my rental car / cheap motels until I manage to sign a lease – and the rental car is expensive, so…)

excuse me i am homeless

This move entails:

  1. Packing up everything I own.
  2. Realizing I own way too much stuff to fit in a rental van.
  3. Giving away half of my stuff.
  4. Hoping that everything else fits, miraculously, into said rental van.
  5. Driving 7 hours to Midwest Metropolis.
  6. Charming some landlord into giving me a lease ASAP so I can turn in my rental van and stop paying $150 a day for it jesus christ that’s a lot of money
  7. HYPOTHETICAL MOVING SUCCESS.

So far, I’ve gotten as far as Step #4: I’ve rented the van. I’ve packed my stuff. I’m ready and waiting.

I even looked up Craigslist apartment listings! I found one within walking distance of the hospital where a female grad student was looking for a “clean, mature, responsible female grad student or young professional”, and I was like “THAT’S ME. YOU’RE LOOKING FOR ME. HELLO, FUTURE BEST FRIEND.” and sent her a calmer, more subdued, casually disinterested version of that.

But it’s been 10 minutes and she hasn’t replied with an immediate offer so maybe I should diversify my options a little.

And finish packing.

And relearn all of pediatrics before someone accidentally expects me to know something useful.

And say goodbye to everyone in this town I’ve ever loved.

sobbing amidst packed boxes

STAY TUNED.

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Post-Match Paperwork: The 7 Stages of Grief

1. Denial. “WHOO! I MATCHED – I’M DONE!” 

The charming belief that because your CV, LORs, proof-of-identity, proof-of-USMLE scores, and photo were all uploaded into ERAS, your hospital employment will not make you find / beg for copies in order to upload them for its own pre-employment files.

Lasts up to 1 month.

2. Anger. “But they already HAVE all this stuff. It was all in ERAS.”

Yes, your residency program has your USMLE scores – but the hospital itself requires an official copy! Let’s hope you saved each individual score report, because the NBME ain’t Santa Claus – they want $75 per each “official transcript”.

Lasts up to ‘lingering resentment for the rest of your professional life’.

3. Bargaining. “Whatever, they won’t read it.”

They already hired you, didn’t they? The contract is signed. So you can probably get away with uploading screenshots for your USMLE scores, the draft of your Dean’s letter as a LOR, and your 3-years-out-of-date CV. There, you’ve helped your hospital check off some stupid boxes. Moving on.

4. Depression. “$300 to apply for a State Board of Medicine Training License? First and last month’s rent? No paycheck until July 31st?

HAHAHAHAHA.

5. Acceptance. “Okay, private loans exist.”

Lasts until you discover that US law requires a 30-day “cooling off period” once you apply for one of these loans (to give you time to reconsider), so you aren’t getting your monopoly money anytime soon.

But hey – that’s okay, because you still have 3 weeks after you get your loan from when you need to move! Plenty of time to pack, buy a car, search for apartments, and – wait, hold on, check the calendar – oh god…

6. Graduation

… is poorly timed. You’ll have to stay in your current city so your proud relatives have somewhere to crash before they watch you walk across a crowded stage.

(Hope you remembered to order your comically colored robe and floppy hat! $800 to buy. You did remember to order them, right…?)

Okay, now you have 1 week to get your life in order before you need to move.

7. Magic.

[Presumably. I am not sure exactly what happens here but I am confident it involves a good story.]

I Matched! I Have A Job! Someone Will Pay Me Real Money!

Unfortunately I can’t outright tell you the specialty (sorry, everyone who’s asked!), because it’s just so small: there are only double-digit numbers of us, and I haven’t yet decided just how reckless I want to be with my internet pseudonymity.

But I can tell you that so far the Frequently Asked Questions include “Wait, that’s a specialty?”, “You can DO that?”, and “Isn’t that a fellowship? How did you match straight into a fellowship?” – so, you know, that’s fun. (Anyone super emotionally invested in my story can probably detective it out from there, but if you’re that invested, you deserve it.)

But – right, the important thing! I matched at my #2 program. And yes, as nice as it would have been to say “I matched at my #1 program”, the program I did match into has a much, much more recognizable / prestigious name – so, somewhat bizarrely, I think I’ve gotten way more sincere congratulations and impressed reactions from my friends than I would’ve the other way around.

(There is a tiny, possibly evil, part of me that enjoys that. It all works out, I guess.)

But – real talk: I’m going to miss med school. If you’re still a student, I have only one piece of advice for you:

Enjoy every irritating, terrifying, face-palmingly-stupid minute. 

God knows, I did.

Residency Interview Season 2013

The First Week After Submitting

staredown impatient

i expect nothing and i'm still let down

Getting That First Interview Invite

HELL YEAH

they broke up 2

uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh

… And That Program Earns A Special Place In Your Heart Forever.

kiss the screen

Especially Since No Other Program Seems To Like You

single mascara tear

… Until One Day…

chris rock holy crap you're dumb reaction gif

 When You Get 17 Interview Offers….

wait - what

… In 3 Hours.

oh god oh god oh god

i'm dead now gotta go

And You Try To Fit All Their Restrictive Interview Date “Choices” Into Your Calendar

excited typing

i got nothing

this is a nightmare

… But Mathematically, It Doesn’t Work.

that is not going to happen

QUICK: DECIDE YOUR LIFE PATH WITHOUT VISITING ANY OF THESE PLACES

yelling into pillow aaaaaaagh

And Now You Have To Write Horribly Complicated Emails Declining Those Precious Interviews

first of all i feel like an asshole

i am not good at saying no okay

And You Still Aren’t Guaranteed To Match

Kristen-Bell-Laughing-to-Crying

… Welcome To ERAS 2013-2014.

just slow clap it out

Applying For Residency: In GIFs

Students Applying to Surgery

i will take what is mine with fire and blood

Students Applying to Medicine

little bit intimidating but i'm sure we'll live

Students Applying to Family Medicine

popcorn

Writing Your Personal Statement: Draft #1

it's so weird being my own role model

Writing Your Personal Statement: Draft #2

can we just take a moment to celebrate me

Writing Your Personal Statement: Draft #3

my place is here

Reminding Your LOR Writers That They Have Two Weeks no big deal it’s only my entire career on the line Oh God Please Write It Soon

staredown impatient

why what is taking so long

 

Finalizing Your ERAS Application

signing your life away