Day 15: Where to go, where to go

Today’s inane image of the day:

We use this fun device for most of our classes — it’s a part of the “active learning” part of our curriculum. For the most part, I think it does do its job of making sure we understand the material.

Just to keep you coming back, I’ve been promised guest posts from some of my inaugural-classmates… assuming I can squeeze one out of someone!

I’ve been meaning to write an entry about this for a while, but I’ve found other things to be easier to discuss and thus left it for a special day. Apparently, the day has come: let’s talk about specialties. Yes, yes, yes, I’m barely in my third week of my M1 year and I’m already concerned about what I want to be doing after four years?

Well, first off, it isn’t that absurd to be thinking about it now — especially if I wanted to go into dermatology, ophthalmology or something along those lines [I don’t]. Nevertheless, the thought of having to select a single thing to do for the rest of my life is quite daunting and has been weighing down the back of my mind since I received my first medical school acceptance letter. See, the moment we started medical school, our clock has been counting down to the day that we take the UMSLE Step 1. Not to say that this test will make or break us, but a high score on it will inevitably open more doors than one that is just barely passing. Even though I cannot predict my performance on this test [actually, I’m a terrible test-taker, so I’m just hoping that the right thoughts will pop into my head at the right time…], I can think about what fields of medicine intrigue me the most and set myself up early for success in the match.

Although I hate to admit it, one huge factor in deciding on a speciality is the lifestyle. True, I went through medical school so that I could practice medicine, and I fully intend on practicing full-time, but I also fully intend on living a fulfilling life [have you ever seen ‘ful-‘ used so many times in the span of 11ish words?!]. I have to face the facts: I am female, and I intend to have children. I also plan on being there for my children during many of their important milestones. Plus, a good number of men look at the lifestyle factor as well, so I know it’s not just a gender-thing.

I want patient contact, but I don’t think I could do the sustained, long-term relationship. I have been very seriously considering radiology [there are reasons I feel that I could forego patient contact for it], but there are a lot of factors that go into whether or not I am serious about that. After reading Dr. Michelle Au’s blog from Day 1, I have very seriously been looking into anesthesiology. Another route I was considering was trying to figure out a way to fit in a pediatric subspecialty [pediatric anesthesiology?] because kids always just brighten my day [yes, I do realize the capacity that I would be interacting with them — but really, the thought of helping a child just feels like you’re doing so much more because they have a whole life ahead of them].

I’m still keeping my options open because I have yet to start clerkships or the real medicine part… but with my sights somewhat narrowed, I feel better about having a goal to work toward. One thing I’ve learned about myself is that I need to set goals in order to achieve, and by setting this target of scoring at least in the median range of students who successfully matched into anesthesiology, I am giving myself something to work toward. I realize that things could [and probably will] deviate from my plans, but I’ve grown much more comfortable with accepting and embracing change.

4 thoughts on “Day 15: Where to go, where to go

  • August 30, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    where do we find those scores? 🙂

  • September 4, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    pediatric endocrinology 🙂 i had the scores for derm or opthal or whatever, but i’m so happy with my choice! the $ may not be there but the lifestyle is otherwise fantastic and it’s so much fun.

  • September 4, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    @Sarah: After discovering your blog, I actually looked into the possibility of pediatric endocrinology — I may end up asking you for more details later on. =)

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