|one place I will not be traveling soon|
The fourth and final (for most of us, that is) year of medical school has breaks built into it both for board exam study and for traveling the country both for the purposes of interviewing for residency positions and so that we all might actually see and experience these places at which we interview. We legally obligate ourselves to spend a bare minimum of a year at any location with which we secure a match; it's more likely three to five years. In extreme situations, physicians in training will spend eight years in the location of their residencies. It only makes sense that a person spend just a bit of time at the place before potentially agreeing to devote multiple years of his or her life to studying medicine there..
The process is both time-consuming and expensive, though it can be viewed as a way to see the U.S. in a way one may never have seen it before. I traveled as a child and youth with my family, so I've had at ;east some exposure to most regions of the U..S. Some members of my cohort, though, have traveled no further from California than to the neighboring state of Nevada if that far. Some of the foreign students have seen, other than California, only what you can see of a state from its airport or by flying over it at an altitude so high that sometimes one's only view is cloud cover. It adds to overall student debt for most of those in medical school to have to borrow additional funds in order to pay for plane tickets and hotel rooms, but it is, for the most part, money well spent. Furthermore, because it doesn't happen until one's final year of medical school, one has a reasonable assurance of completing medical school and eventually earning the money to pay back both the travel debts and the other debts incurred in attending medical school.
Some of our nation's more "innovative" programs attempt to circumvent this process by holding skype or face time interviews. I can see the financial advantages to conducting interviews electronically, but there's really no viable substitute for actually traveling to a place. We still see only the tiniest sampling of the place. We're told to make it a point to go somewhere besides from the airport to the hotel to the hospital and back again, but the view still is one-dimensional. A candidate sees the place in only one season and is exposed to a mere sampling of the local population. Still, it's the best we can do at this point, and it's better than the best cyber-tour.
I've completed my visits and interviews and am preparing my lists (both U.S. and Canadian) for submission to the national registry. After that, it's simply a matter of waiting until March to learn whether or not one's lists matches up with the list each teaching institution submits with names of desired candidates. At our institution, students know earlier in the week whether or not they have received a match. (If they haven't, they can still scramble for positions, and in some cases end up with the preferred positions. All is not lost for them.) Match Day is the biggest celebration -- more so than graduation -- for medical school students. Much drunken revelry takes place, and students typically take off at least one day following the ceremony.
I will have a block of time during which I will have no duties beginning in less than two weeks. The original plan was for me to travel with a group of cohort mates to New Guinea. That trip fell through. Plan B was for me to travel to New Zealand as part of a group trip with medical students from around the U.S. that offered ample individual time in addition to the group activities. That, too, fell though today. My financial advisor had been advised two weeks ago that at least one of my assets needed to be sold in order to finance the trip, and that I needed the check in my hands by yesterday at the very latest. Today would have sufficed as well; it see now that was right about the artificial deadline being necessary. I should have told the moron the check had to be in my hands two weeks ago. I showed up at his office bright and early at 6:00 a.m. (financial officers tend to work east coast hours here because they're impacted by the opening and closing of the stock market). I might then have had a prayer of having the funds available today. I called the company sponsoring the trip and offered them every credit card number I have, my first-born child, and possibly even sex if they would take some form of currency other than cash. The answer was no.
So instead of luxuriating in New Zealand, I will spend the time I have off in the hole that I will dig for myself in the backyard of my condo. It will be swell, I'm sure.
|another place I'm unlikely to see in the immediate future|