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"We" Are Going To Medical School

In real life and on the blog you will hear me say things like "we are in medical school" or "we are applying for residency".  No I am not actually enrolled in medical school and I am not actually the one interviewing for residency.  So why say it?

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One of the first people I met when we moved for medical school was the wife of the medical school dean.  The first of many pieces of advice she gave me was to think of the whole medical school process as a "we".  She laughed and said my husband wasn't the only one in medical school.  We went to medical school together,  residency together, fellowship together, and from job to job together.  Her rationale is that saying we creates a sense of teamwork and togetherness that gets you through the "oh my goodness you are studying late again?!" moments.

I was reminded of this again at this year's OMED conference talking to several physicians and their spouses.  The ones who seem to have the strongest relationship view life (in and out of medicine) as we.  Life in medical school isn't all roses.  I don't say this to make it sound horrible because it's not.  It's just a rollercoaster of a journey with lots ups, downs, and twists.  So I continue saying "we" as a reminder that we are in this together, on the same team.

We are not sitting in class or studying for an exam together but we spent a summer flipping through so many MCAT flashcards that by the end I was pretty sure I could have taken the test.  I have read so many personal statements I could recite them.  I have held my breath while she taken three 8 hour exams and then again while we wait for the test scores.  I have tossed and turned right along with her thinking about the residency match and all of the what ifs that go along with it.  We moved 2,500 miles away from everything and everyone we knew and created a life together in the rural south.  We have celebrated the victories, mourned the losses, and sat up at night talking about all of the "what ifs" this medical journey brings.

When she graduates in May, she will be the one walking across the stage while I watch from the side beaming with pride (and probably some tears of joy).  We will celebrate the culmination of many years of hard work and then get ready for residency, the next step in our journey.  

Auditions, Step 2, the Match Oh My! A Timeline for 3rd and 4th year of Medical School

Ever since I made a broad timeline of medical school, people have requested a more detailed breakdown of what happens during the third and fourth year of medical school.  First, thanks for reaching out and letting me know what is useful for you!  And second, I completely understand! Trying to understand and remember all of the details of what needs to be done and when during third and fourth year can be a little overwhelming.  Let's see if we can make it a little less stressful!

Applying for Audition Rotations

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An audition rotation is a 2-4 week rotation that is completed in the first part of 4th year with a residency program you want to apply to.  Think of it is an extended interview because they give students an opportunity to get to know a residency program and for the program to get to know them.  Audition rotations are a funny thing because for some programs they are so important they are required and for others they don't even offer them.  Each specialty and program is going to be different.  

Researching Residency Programs

The first part of the fourth year of medical school will be consumed by getting ready for residency.  There are a few steps to this process:  
1) Research Residency Programs
2) Schedule Audition Rotations
3) Audition Rotations
4) Apply for Residency Programs
5) Interview

We will go over each of these steps in-depth.  Today's topic is researching residency programs.  I recommend starting this process in the Fall of third year to ensure plenty of time to research programs.

Medical School Timeline

Congratulations! Your significant other got accepted to medical school... now what??  I feel like the four years in medical school are spent trying to enjoy the present while always planning for the future.  If you don't know someone who has been through medical school and can explain everything to you it can be a little overwhelming.