Sunday, March 18, 2012

Anxiety about next year

The uncertainty about next year is making me slightly ill.  I was hoping to know by now if I'll be taking a research year or going on to 4th year, but alas, nope.  Having not been offered a fellowship in the first round of selections, I get to keep waiting until all the spots are officially filled up.  Who knows how long this whole process will last...  It is so much worse than sitting by the phone for a date to call!

My peers are fervently filling out VSAS (visiting student application service) applications for audition rotations.  Rumor has it that spots fill up super fast and one must be very strategic about these things.  I haven't opened the email sent from my dean about registering for VSAS.  I have yet to figure out where I'd even want to do an audition rotation!

To make matters worse: my experience speaking at the conference of Friday, seeing where the 4th years matched, and a conversation between ob-headed peers and an OBGYN attending we greatly respect have me wondering if I should go into peds instead.  I LOVE obgyn.  I love everything about it and like what my life could look like.  I can do perinatal care, high risk OB, adolescent health, trans reproductive health, provide abortions, surgery, and the list goes on and on... But a lot of obgyn programs are malignant, conservative, and have seemingly unhappy residents.  I also worry that the all female environment will bring out the competitiveness in me.

I like peds a lot.  I can still do adolescent reproductive health, medical education, trans health, and public health based work.  I can maybe, probably, also provide abortions.  The pediatric community is all so happy, nice, and welcoming.  If I'm going to have my own family, peds will allow for a better balanced life.  Plus, I have many a connection that will help me get into a good peds residency.

Taking a year off would slow down the process a bit, but it will also slow down the process a bit.  Translation: I'll buy myself a little more time before making a decision.  I'll make more noteworthy connections in the obgyn world that should help me for residency.  However, I'll be 30 when I graduate medical school!!!  Yes, yes, I know that age is only a number.  But 30 is a really big number.  It'll also mean that I'll spend the next 2 years nomadicly as I move for the research year and then travel all around for 4th year.

Anyone have a crystal ball?


Solitary Diner said...

Figuring out what to do "next" is always a struggle, but hopefully the answer will come clearer to you before too long. My suggestion (from someone who waited too long to set up electives) is to start setting up visiting electives even if you're not certain whether you'll need them. Although it's clearly a pain in the butt, it will be a good thing if you end up needing them.

Also, have you given any thought to family medicine? There's a lot of flexibility in family medicine (in
Canada at least), and it might be a career that would allow you to combine many of your interests.

physician activist in training said...

I've thought about family a lot. I really wish I could get myself to embrace it, as I honestly think it's where the US health care system needs to go. Plus this year they are changing the education a little so fam med residents can opt to increase their OB training significantly. However, I have a really hard time with the idea of doing lifestyle/chronic disease management outside of the context of what all physicians of any specialty need to do. Even if I opt not to practice that way down the road, I don't even want to do it in residency. I love old people but I hate seeing them in the hospital for anything other than a hys or bladder operation or the such.

Solitary Diner said...

I understand completely. I wanted really badly to like family as a med student, but I just couldn't bring myself to be interested in all the chronic disease management. It's too bad, because as you say it's an important field, and it has a much nicer lifestyle than other fields.