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I’m writing this post from a train on the way from Portland to Seattle. I just had dinner with a bunch of total strangers in the dining car and after we gazed at the bridges, waterfront and gorgeous rainbows, I returned to my sleeper car to curl up with a good book and watch the sunset from my window. Wait a minute… Isn’t this supposed to be a blog about medical school? At Michigan?

Actually my friends, it’s not that surreal. I’m a 4th year, just starting out my ‘M4-cation’ as they call it. It’s still busy with submitting ERAS and scheduling interviews, but compared to the past few years, it feels like I’ve got a LOT of free time. Before I start telling you how I’ve been filling my time, let me tell you a little about myself.

I’m an M4. Grew up in Michigan, left to go to college in the beautiful state of New Hampshire, hopped around NYC a bit and found my way back to Michigan for med school. After my first three years of med school, I decided I wanted to do an MPH so I headed off to Boston to spend a year at the Harvard School of Public Health. I would say that I’m a “non-traditional” student, but more and more students are taking time off during med school, and Michigan is INCREDIBLY supportive of this. In fact, there were 10 people in my class that headed off to Boston with me to pursue dual degrees in Business, Public Health and Public Policy. It was great to have a crew of Michigan folks to stay connected with while out east – but more about my awesome classmates later. Right now, I just submitted my ERAS applications for pediatrics AND finished my last major clinical rotation for months (Emergency Medicine at Beaumont). The rotation was a great way to see another hospital system and learn how things are done differently outside the University of Michigan – And now, because I did quite a few rotations before I left for Boston, I’m on vacation until January!

I started off by attending the wedding of two of my closest friends in Seattle. Then I zipped down to Portland to visit some more friends and go on long, wonderful hikes. On my way back, I took the Coast Starlight from Portland to Seattle. The views from the windows of this train are absolutely breathtaking. One day I’d love to take it all the way down the coast. If you’re traveling that way, the train is definitely the way to go. Next, I spent a night at the Green Tortoise Hostel in Seattle. If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend it; cheap, clean, and situated in the heart of Pike’s Marketplace and just steps from the world’s very first Starbucks! I’ve never been to the Pacific Northwest before but I think I was most impressed by the natural beauty all around me. I hope I get to go back.

Now I’m back in Michigan, getting ready for interview season and starting work on an internship with an organization I started working with a few months ago as part of a rotation in Haiti. I’ll be editing and organizing curriculum content in French and English; and I’m pretty excited that I get to keep working with an organization that I loved. One of the great things about M4 year at Michigan is the incredible flexibility in the curriculum. I’ve already gotten to do so many incredible things; travel to Haiti, a child abuse elective, Emergency medicine; and it’s only October! More about my adventures from the past few months soon!