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The Next Adventure…

Hello again and happy spring! As I sit here and write this, I am four hours away from leaving Ann Arbor and boarding a plane for California. I realized that I couldn’t leave without a final blog post, so here it is!

The past few months have been some of the best of medical school. The day after my last blog post, myself (and every other M4 at UM!!) received an email at noon saying that I had matched. This gave me a huge sense of relief, and afterward, I felt a tolerable sense of nervousness leading into Friday’s Match Day. It was the third Match Day I had attended in the past four years (after having attended that of my sister and then my original class) and this was definitely the most exciting and anxiety-provoking! The morning went by in a blur, and before I knew it, it was 11:59am and I was walking toward a smiling woman who held the envelope that would tell me where I would spend the next five years as an ENT resident.  I opened the envelope with my mother, fiancée, and his mother and was absolutely thrilled to read that I had matched at Stanford! It was amazing to share in this very happy moment with my family and to see all of the elated faces of my classmates as they learned where they would be doing their residency training.

April was my vacation block, and I spent it finishing up a research project, doing a lot of relaxing, and doing some final planning and preparations for our wedding. I had six wonderful weeks off and then, on May 16, my family and I drove to Hill Auditorium, where my class had our graduation ceremony. After five years of hard work at the University of Michigan, it was an amazing feeling and sense of accomplishment to be handed my diploma.

Just in case things weren’t already exciting and hectic enough, the following weekend was our wedding in West Bloomfield, MI. This was, without a doubt, the best weekend of my life, and it was a surreal experience to have all of our family and friends from different stages of life (and different corners of the country) all in the same place at once. We got picture perfect weather, had (almost) no planning glitches, and—despite my fears—I didn’t fall as I walked down the aisle, so all in all, it was a huge success.

My bridesmaids and me at our wedding rehearsal

This past weeks has been bittersweet, with growing excitement toward our move to California, but also the stress of packing up our house and the realization that I’m leaving behind a lot of amazing friends in Ann Arbor. This morning, I woke up sad knowing that it was my last time waking up in Ann Arbor, at least for the next few years. This town has been the most perfect home for the last five years, and I will miss it terribly. While I’m incredibly excited to get my residency training at Stanford, I also have a sense of loss at leaving the University of Michigan. I could not have asked for a better medical school experience, and it gives me great pride to say that I am a UM alum. I have countless positive memories from my time at the University of Michigan, and it was here that I met amazing and talented classmates, many of whom became great friends, several brilliant mentors with whom I hope to stay in touch, as well as my now-husband, who was an early M3 when I arrived on campus back in 2009. This place will always be extremely special to me.

On that note, I finish this blog and thank those who have read it from time to time! It has been a wonderful experience to chronicle my medical school years in Michigan. Farewell for now, Ann Arbor, and we hope to eventually be back in this amazing place.

Match Week is here!

At last, Match Day is almost here! The whole application process—from starting the residency application in the early summer, to receiving interview offers, to months of travel across the country for numerous interviews, and finally to submitting a rank list—all has been leading up to this coming week. This is both very scary but also incredibly exciting, and in some senses, it feels as though much of medical school has been leading up to this very moment. I’ve noticed what feels like a discernible slowing of time these past few weeks, as I always experience when I’m highly anticipating something. However, with Match Day a mere five days away, it finally feels like this moment we’re all waiting for is close. While we will learn where we have matched on Friday, the 21st, tomorrow is also a big day for us M4s. At noon, we will all receive an email stating whether or not we matched. This is definitely going to be a nerve-wracking week!

To blow off some nervous energy, several of my classmates and I spent the day in Detroit today. We went to the Detroit Institute of Art and then out to lunch downtown, which was a lot of fun. I somehow haven’t been to the DIA in my almost five years in Ann Arbor, which I’m glad I finally remedied! I’m certainly nowhere close to an art expert, but I have always loved museums and paintings, and it was wonderful to see the very impressive collection that is so close to home. The Diego Rivera mural—complete with an iPad tour that explains the different sections of the piece of art—was incredible, and I definitely plan on going back in the near future. I highly recommend a visit for anyone in the area!

I’m currently on my last rotation as a medical student, since April is my vacation month. I am finishing my M4 year with a head and neck anatomy elective which has been great so far. We do a dissection every morning and then have lectures with various otolaryngologists in the afternoon. I actually found M1 year anatomy pretty difficult and frustrating, largely because I struggled to place the anatomy in a clinical context and therefore had a lot of trouble with the rote memorization of structures.  Following my otolaryngology clinical rotations, though, I’m finding it a lot easier to learn the anatomy and relate it to various diseases, so these head and neck dissections are much more rewarding and less challenging the second go around.

Last month was really busy with my surgical intensive care unit rotation (hence the paucity of blogs recently). We were on a Q4 overnight call schedule, meaning we did a 30-hour call every fourth night. Staying awake for more than twenty-four hours at a time was definitely a new and strange experience for me, but I was amazed at how quickly one can adapt to large changes in the sleep schedule like this. Overall, the month was high intensity, but I enjoyed learning a little about ICU medicine and how to manage critically sick patients.

Our Second Look Weekend is right around the corner, which is always a really exciting time for the whole medical school. For anyone planning on attending (or deciding whether or not to attend) this really fun weekend, I’m more than happy to answer any questions. With my time as a Michigan me student coming to an end, I now more than ever feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to train here and would love to share my experience here with any applicants in the middle of the decision process! My email is Thanks and Go Blue!

Taking advantage of a brief interview respite…

Hello from the interview trail! These past few weeks have been an absolute whirlwind of seeing new cities, crashing on the couches of old friends, attending dinners with residents and faculty, and—of course—the actual interviews themselves. After a stretch of five cities and six interviews in nine days, I’m back in Ann Arbor for a few days before heading home to Connecticut for a few weeks and then flying out to the west coast for another stretch of five interviews. I am definitely looking forward to a little downtime during the holidays!

While exhausting at times, the past few weeks have been an amazing experience. Since I am applying into otolaryngology, a relatively small field, each program offers only one or two interview dates. As a result, there are lots of familiar faces at each interview, and I’ve gotten to know a lot of really great fellow applicants and potential colleagues. The interview days are long (we typically have 10-11 faculty interviews in a half-day session, but that went as high as 21 interviews at one program!) so it’s really nice to have such great people to talk with during the breaks and after the formal interview day ends. I’ve also loved getting to explore some new cities that I haven’t been to before. Denver, in particular, was a really fun, vibrant city to walk around, although temperatures were near record lows of -27 degrees with wind chill when I was out there, so I had to somewhat limit my walking tour! The second half of my interview schedule includes some other cities that I cannot wait to visit, including San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Nashville, all of which will be new to me.

I echo what a few of my fourth-year classmates have mentioned in their recent blog post that leaving Michigan to see other programs has made me even more appreciative of my home institution. Michigan has such a wonderful reputation across the country, and I have had numerous faculty members comment about the strength of our clinical training here as medical students. I have my University of Michigan interview tomorrow and am very excited to see this program from an applicant’s point of view.

It’s hard to believe that match day is a mere three months away. With only half of my interviews done by the holidays, I feel like I have a long way to go between now and March 21, but at the same time I know it will be here before I know it. This is both terrifying and very exciting!

I hope everyone has a safe and relaxing holiday! For those applying to medical school, feel free as always to email me with any questions about Michigan! ( See you in the New Year!

And so it begins…

Hello again! Since I last wrote, summer has turned into beautiful fall here in Ann Arbor. The leaves have turned to vibrant shades of red and orange, the temperature is still in the 70s, and best of all Michigan football is off to a 5-0 start for the season. It doesn’t get much better than this!

I finished my otolaryngology sub-I in late August and then submitted my residency application two weeks later. It was both a relief to submit it (one can only proofread something so many times before going a little crazy) and also an excitingly nerve-wracking feeling, as this marked the official start to the application process and the beginning of the waiting game for residency interviews. ENT holds most of its interviews on the later end of the schedule (December and January) so I am just now starting to hear back from programs. I’ve definitely been checking my email a little more than usual lately!

Chateau Chantal Winery

In September, I rotated on the outpatient orthopaedic surgery rotation. This was a great month, with a lot of flexibility, as we got to pick the clinics that were most interesting to us to attend. In the middle of this rotation, I was able to carve out a few days for a trip up North with my family. We drove to Traverse City where we toured several beautiful wineries for the day, and then headed to Mackinac Island, one of my all-time favorite vacation spots since I was a child. There are no cars allowed on the island, and in lieu, there are many horse-drawn carriages and bikes, both of which we took advantage of to tour the island. We stayed at the Grand Hotel, which is a beautiful hotel that feels to be perpetually set in the early 1900s.

The beautiful Grand Hotel

This month, I am on emergency medicine. So far, the rotation has been great. This is one of the first times as a student that I’ve gotten to see patients *before* they receive a diagnosis (unlike patients admitted to the floor who usually already have some sort of idea as to what the problem is) and it’s been a really helpful experience to be the first to see a patient. The field is also very procedurally-oriented, which I enjoy, and I’ve gotten lots of practice with IVs and suturing. I have just over two weeks left of emergency medicine and will then enter fifteen weeks off of clinical rotations for interviews and vacation time. So far, M4 year is definitely living up to its reputation as the best year of medical school!

I’ll check back in next time from the interview trail!

M4, Part II!

The difference between last Friday and this past Monday was one of the starkest contrasts I’ve experienced in medical school. On Friday, I arrived into lab at the leisurely hour of 9 (okay, maybe 10) AM, wrapped up some last-minute experiments, and spent the afternoon quite comfortably in a coffee shop working on my paper and residency application. A mere three days later, I arrived to the hospital at the slightly less-leisurely hour of 6AM to begin my ENT sub-internship, was in the operating room by 7:30, and did not leave until well after midnight. This was definitely a clear wakeup call that I’m back to my fourth year!

Despite this abrupt transition, I really loved my first week on of my otolaryngology rotation, which completely reaffirmed my decision to go into this field after my year of research. I spent the week on the facial plastics service, and saw operations ranging from very large head and neck cancer resections to quick, cosmetic procedures including face-lifts and rhinoplasties. This diversity, even within the same service, is one of the things I love most about this specialty. Tomorrow starts a week of the laryngology/general ENT service, and then I will end with two weeks of the head and neck division.

This weekend, I caught up on some much-needed sleep and have tried to soak up as much of this beautiful August weather Ann Arbor is having as I can. With only three weeks until the Michigan football home opener, I cannot believe that fall is already right around the corner! Autumn is always my favorite time of year, and this fall should be particularly exciting with the submission of my residency application and the start of interviews! I haven’t quite finalized my list of residency programs yet, but I am excited to see some new parts of the country in the upcoming months, as I am applying all over. I look forward to (hopefully!) having some fun interview experiences to write about. In the meantime, I’m perfectly content spending the summer in Ann Arbor, and happy to be back to medical school!