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3rd January 2006

toast

The Professor!

*raises mug of apple cider*

(http://www.tolkiensociety.org/toast/2006/index.html)

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3rd January 2006

Happy New Year’s Day After After … er, bother that, Happy January!

I didn’t do a “last day of the year” or “year in review” post like I had intended. But then I haven’t sent out my Christmas cards yet, and I still plan on doing that. Maybe for Human Rights Day or Valentine’s Day (if you want a Christmas card for a random holiday, drop me an email at jcd1013@yahoo.com and I’ll send one to you…eventually). BTW, while I’m actually remembering AND sitting in front of my computer, thanks so much for all of the cards, guys! They really brightened up my dreary mailbox.

My New Year’s was really nice and mellow. It was down-pouring here all night, which dampened any desire for revelry. Instead, I went over to Liz’s with other friends and we all drank hot chocolate and cider, watched X-Men, and put puzzles together. A pair of our friends has this Renoir painting that is one of the most challenging puzzles I’ve ever done. After 3 hours of work, we maybe had put together 50 pieces. But it shall not conquer!

I’ve started teaching this week. Yep, you read right! I’m teaching 1st year medical students how to do a physical exam and conduct a patient interview. I love it. One of the first things that I had decided, long before choosing a specialty, was that I wanted to stay in academics and have the chance to teach medical students. It’s rather awe-inspiring to teach my 6 first years and realized that that was me, just three years ago. I often feel like I know nothing now; especially after 9 draining hours of examinations–but I’ve learned an incredible amount in medical school. I know for example, the exact format of the interview (chief complaint, history of present illness, past medical history, medications, allergies, family history, social history, review of systems), without even trying. I know what questions to ask to understand recent headaches, diarrhea, diabetes, etc. I know where to place my stethoscope and what I’m listening for. You don’t want me to be your doctor, but it’s a process and I’m not as standstill as I thought.

Maybe there is a chance that someday, I will be a real doctor. 🙂

I submit my Match list sometime in the next 7 days for residency, which has me completely worried and stressed out. Have I told you all about The Match (to be said in a voice of foreboding doom) yet? Basically, this is how my future place of residence and my job is determined. I’ve interviewed at all of the various schools, and now, I decide which schools I would want to go to. I submit a list (paper, because neurology seems completely clueless about technology), with my choices ranked. The schools submit their list, with all of the people that they would want as residents ranked and wherever the highest choice matches, that’s where I go. On January 26th, I will know where I will be spending the next 5 years of my life. Four tiny weeks away. I’m trying not to think about it.

In the meantime, I have to sort through all of my conflicting feelings and old and mushy impressions of the different schools to figure out my preferences. It’s a lot of pressure and I’m feeling very torn. I’m freaking out about moving away. By myself. From all of my family and friends that I’ve been with for nine years. To a place that, because of my busy schedule, will be lonely. I’m comfortable here (which is probably the number one reason I should go), and it’s been hard to completely convince myself to uproot myself, especially when my school here was willing to create my special combination program just for me because they loved me so much.

Well, my school just made that part of the decision easier. I got an email last week–after excited emailing everybody after I got back how Indiana was willing to share copies of the paperwork that they had submitted to create their program–with the overall message of “Julia, we don’t think we can get the paperwork done in time. Please look elsewhere.” It crushed me and really put me in a despondent mood, which I think I’m only now started to get myself out of. I’m not a very confident person on a good day and having your one “foolproof-you’re-at-least-getting-in-there” school back out damaged my already blue spirits.

So now, I’m back to square one and seven days to make up my mind. I’ll be posting some of my impressions, strengths, weaknesses of the places that I visited over the next couple of days (hopefully with pictures!), to help me sort out the confusion. If you’d rather not read my ramblings on this, let me know, and I’ll make them private. I suppose it’s more for my benefit, but my travel journals were rather sparse on details, so if you do want to know… It’s up to you.

Ack! It’s almost 2 and I need to be up early so I can go be a school marm again! What am I doing!!!

***P.S. Thanks again to everybody for their words of compassion and support last week. Knowing that you are all here for me transformed my spirits. I do know that I will never be alone when I have such good friends out there who are thinking about me.

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