Nov 22, 2010

Hopping along the interview trail...

My five year plan? Fellowship. Maybe two. Ten year plan? Good question. Should have an anwer to it. Don't. Why did I go to a good undergraduate program, excel in it, and then head to the Caribbean? No money for AMCAS stuff at the time. Do I want to go back to place-of-birth? Don't care. Am I applying to other specialties? No. What brings me to _______? You agreed to interview me. Why pathology? I love it. How long pathology? I dunno. It became apparent once I realized "medical science geek" was an actual job. Usually you don't find that kind of career specificity outside of "chocolate taster in a stripper factory". What did you learn during your pathology rotations? That gout is waaaay less disgusting under a microscope. Tell me about your research. Apparently, it's weird enough to gross out people that do this for a living. Do you have any questions for us? I've been stalking your program on the internet, but I'm still going to ask about your board pass rates. How many other programs have you applied to? Many. I mean, only yours. What are you looking for in a program? One that will hire me. Please note that I am, in fact, wearing a suit. This should adequately convince you that I totally don't spend the vast majority of my life wearing running shorts, tank tops, and penguin holiday socks (my feet get cold).

This is a brief summary of interviewing... that, plus becoming intimately acquainted with every form of public transportation ever conceived by man. And I'm sure with my upcoming air transit necessity, I'm going to become intimately acquainted with some TSA agents. Blah blah blah, relevant news. I'm actually trying to read the New York Times right now because there's a free app for it, I have a lot of downtime on trains, and I'm running out of ways to launch angry birds at pigs.

I've been running down my NYC "to do" list. I cheered for a friend in the NY marathon (that's the closest I'm going to get to running one, guys), had a fabulicious birthday weekend in Atlantic City, got smushed in the Greenwich Halloween parade while appropriately dressed as a bedbug, saw dancers reenact multiple seasons of Dr. Who, all while getting my hospital rotations on and obsessively checking my student email account every 16 seconds for the remote possibility of an interview. I've gone from fastidiously trying to impress attendings with my intrinsic knowledge of their field to trying not to get them too pissed off by missing too many days for interviews. I've come to accurately read the expression on their faces as they start to explain patient management algorithms to me, remember that I'm going into pathology, and trail off hopelessly as I lean forward and nod politely. I'm fighting the dregs of senioritis while being more aggressively 'scheduled' than I have perhaps ever been. I've developed a term for this period of my life known as exhaustilerating.


thuc huynh said...

hehe nice recap of the interview process! reminds me of my schmoozing interview days.

kageen said...

Hi Ishie!

Thank you so much for your posts. They're so helpful and informative.

May I ask for some advice? I'm currently set to attend medical school in australia, and I'm a Canadian citizen. In your opinion, is it worth it? I've been reading lots of blogs/advice online, and all IMGs seems to suggest to potential students *not* to study abroad. Should I wait another year for a canadian/us school to accept me, or just go into another field?

Thank you so much for you help.

Ishie said...

Hi Kay!! If you're still reading this, sorry not to get back to you earlier.

I can't comment with any authority on Australian medical schools because I genuinely know absolutely nothing about them. I know, as you likely know, that getting into Canadian med schools is a frigging nightmare, and the farther you get away from it in prestige, the harder it is to get back. I know SGU students get back to Canada, but it is a difficult route, plus the cost of a private school and the necessity of paying back loans ends up keeping a lot of Canadians in the states, thus having to deal with the whole visa issue.

If you want to stay in Canada, the best choice is go Canadian if it's an option, even if it costs you another year. If US is an option after Canada, go that route. Then back up the US/Canada with back-up-plan-of-choice. I feel like SGU has done well by me (but I'm a US citizen who doesn't care that much where I live and am going into a less competitive field), but if you're set to go to an Australian school, just research it, check their stats on pass rates for both US and Canadian licensing exams, residencies obtained, etc.

As far as whether it's worth it, that's entirely up to you. If I wanted a kid and/or had a kid, I would probably tell him/her not to be a doctor. A good number of my friends feel the same way. Particularly not coming from ANY kind of difficult background: different citizenship, hiccups in records, etc, because it is an expensive pain in the ass that requires years and years and years of education that potentially ends with patients saying Oprah knows more than you and that you're a beamer driving sell-out because their hospital bill included a multithousand dollar piece of laproscopic equipment that you had nothing to do with.

*That* being said, I wouldn't choose any other route for myself. I love pathology, I've really enjoyed the process of getting there, and in the end, I think it is going to be worth the entire money dwindling, high stress route of getting there FOR ME.

If you want to be nothing other than a doctor, be a doctor and don't let anything stop you. If you have an inkling that you would be happier doing something else (including other health care professions), by all means, do that.