Fellowships? Seriously? Already?
If I haven't mentioned it before, pathologists are pretty much required to do a fellowship to get a real job in reality land and start paying off those monster loans.
I'm sure I've mentioned *that*. What I should have mentioned, and been thinking of, is that you have to start applying for fellowships like... uh... now. Yes, 18 months prior. And I'm already out one fellowship because you have to start cranking out the paperwork even earlier than that (A program that rhymes with Who Be Ann Sancisco). So now I'm in the eternal dilemma of whether I stay nestled in the safe bosom of a program that already has done well by me and where I know I like the cytopathology person, or whether I fly out, try to get an in back in my home state, or at least my home coast, and rack up some new experiences.
The fortunate thing is that fellowship applications don't cost money until you book a flight. This contrasts to residency applications through our match monopoly which cost me 1800 dollars before I left my apartment. The unfortunate thing is pathology fellowships are far less vetted, since there aren't all that many of us, so I'm throwing my applications into the abyss and hoping they want to grow me into a decent community pathologist, rather than using me for scutwork or ignoring me entirely.
Then the job hunt after that. Then maybe, I can settle into being an adult with a job and a house and a place that's home rather than living the life of a perpetual student. Not that I can really complain much other than the six figure debt leavings.
Scary though. The last two years have flown by, and I by no means feel ready for the next step. I'm just happy I don't cry during readouts anymore.
I'm at a weird stage though. I don't feel ready to be independent but I feel far removed from it. I was attempting to remember who wrote a poem quoted by my attending from a "college English class" and realized I was in college ten years ago. The antics of the medical students seem immature and their questions weird, despite the fact that I needed to be shuttled home from a bowling alley as recently as two hours ago. Yet I feel comfortable giving attendings from other specialties update reports.
I'm removed from a lot though. No one really knows much outside of their own very limited experience so it's hard to know where to go for advice. Within the hospital, you get "The job market is fine in this academic setting where I've been working". The other residents are "I have a fellowship in 'x' secured and that's where I'm going, but I'm not an IMG or from California". People at my level are in the same boat. The advice on the internet is "JUMP SHIP!! PATHOLOGY IS DOOMED!! OBAMACARE WILL HAVE US IN POVERTY! DO ANOTHER SPECIALTY", which is disheartening, but unhelpful.
So I feel a little trepidation. On the other hand, I think I have a good chance at securing a fellowship if I merely stay put (something not an option in medical school), good friends, a great boyfriend, and hey, kayaks. So we'll see what happens.