Monday, December 13, 2010

Interview Season - The Road

Doing my share of traveling these days, I would say more than any other time in my quarter century life. Have met a lot of new people and visited new places; pondered a bit about what the important things in life are and lived a few moments that will be forgotten 10 years from now.

Interview season is an exciting period in life for us 4th year med students. Actually, most of our senior year may be spent deciding on questions like - "which specialty do I want to practice the rest of my life?" and "Which part of the country will I find myself for the next 3 years?". With uncertainty comes excitement.... or anxiety. I once heard a person say that "People with too many options to choose from are rarely happy.", where as people with only option G (good) or NAB (not as good) are more content in their decisions.

All 12 of my interviews are complete now. I have driven to Colorado (twice), Kansas, parts of Texas, Tennessee and North Carolina; flown to Oregon and Washington; even cancelled a few in CA, VA and PA.
The hulking Colorado mountains astounded me as they cast their minute stature spells
The vibrant Kansas sunsets distracted me from important things like driving in the proper lane
The communities of Western North Carolina painted pictures of life in an earthy artsy place
Texas said it can train me the best and keep me close to family and old friends
The Northwest lured me in with culture, saying they were progressive and into nature stuff
Tennessee snowed heaps and iced the roads to keep me in the Appalachian hills For - e - ver (no, you are not hearing the distant but menacing strum of an ill-tuned banjo).

I wish all these recent memories could be part of daily life:
- a concert with my cousin in Leipers Fork, TN

- backpacking at the Colarado National Monument

- disc golfing well planned courses in Asheville, NC

- running from the law in Spokane, WA (really just city park surveillance for relieving myself underneath a bridge... big waterfalls always give me urge incontinence)

- buying fried pies dripping in grease from Davis, OK
- relishing the flavor of my best cup-o-coffee ever in Seattle, WA (stereotypical right?)

- playing board games with my 2nd and 3rd cousins in Elkins, WV

- climbing snow laden trails to the top of Hump Mountain, north of the Great Smoky National Park

- sharing meals with Dan, Emily and Fiona in College Station, TX
- building random friendships in Johnson City, TN
- getting a dear friend married off in McGregor, TX

- power walking with my Aunt in Denver, CO.

So it seems I have slipped into that category of people who have many options. Each program and geographic location has it's strengths and weaknesses, not one seems to meet every criteria in my ideal head. Trying to trust that my Father in Heaven will guide me in this decision and give me peace about it is like waiting for Christmas Morning to finally arrive as a kiddo... you're so excited about the biggest present in the corner yet secretly praying it's not a life sized poster of Mr. Rogers.

When I began pursuing the field of medicine at the end of high school, I knew there was a great need for doctors, but it didn't click that meant lots of job opportunities too. And yes, it has taken a little longer to reach beyond the student leg of this journey than many of my college friends, but I'm loving it. The real deal is this - people with lots of options have nothing to complain about because they at least have options. Underlying this the "wow, you're about to get a paid position" craze, I keep upfront my hopes and dreams for serving the poor, domestically or internationally... which complicates the whole "earning money" idea. It has been good to chat with residents doctors and attendings at my various interviews about underserved and international medicine. Lots of ideas and current examples of doctors going for it are out there. Several books about service ministry are on my night stand such as "Preach and Heal" and "When Helping Hurts", trying to identify what a beneficial medical mission is --> something that allows access to a community and then empowers it to become self-reliant. The faith of a high school student is still at work in me, but the reality of adulthood and the present is not making it easy. Since I have 4 years before I even consider solo practice though, I'm in no rush.

You know what?... God has been better to me than I deserve; not only allowing me the excitement of adventure but also the less attractive aspects of a transient life - like feeling alone and spending too much money(credit); and He grows me. And everything works out for the best.

Trust the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own understanding of this crazy world. Submit your life to Him and His GPS will guide you down the sure road to the destination.
paraphrased from Proverbs 3:4-5

The Green River in NC after a few inches of rain. "Killer" kayaking.

Well, I will be doing some of this trusting business over the holidays, working in NYC for the month of January, then back to rural Cuero, TX in February/March. Merry Christmas friends.


PS - Wish I hadn't rashly buzzed my head just an hour ago. You see though, I have these do-it-yourself hair clippers that make it easy and saves me 10+ bucks each stylist visit... don't get me wrong, the new cut is great - just short - I'm getting the usual sad feelings after letting go. Bah

Oh and I'm not just gallivanting about the country side in my noble steed, Accord. We are also doing normal work on rotations such as emergency medicine, infectious disease, surgical ICU, radiology and sports medicine. Just in case you thought I was slacking off :).

I found some amazing ice formations along a creek in the Jefferson National Forest.
Laurel Falls - TN - and much bigger than this pictures gives justice to... probably 30-40 feet. Not really the nicest bathing weather, but definitely "gorgeous".