Friday, January 30, 2009

My Ottawa Adventure

Ok, so the trip to Ottawa wasn't as smooth as I thought it would be. I banked on 5 to 5.5 hours from Ben's place to Ottawa. So, I left at 9 a.m. so I wouldn't get stuck in as much rush-hour traffic. I woke up at 7 and looked outside - snow. I was expecting snow, because Ben told me it was going to snow, but I hadn't banked on THAT MUCH SNOW. And still falling. So, I thought, I should leave a little earlier. I left at 8:30. By 11, I was still in Toronto. Just getting out to Oshawa. I had broken down and taken the 407 instead of the 403 from the QEW to the 401 because the 403 had an accident on it. Then I got on the 401 - mistake #1. I should have just paid the money and taken the 407 out to Oshawa. Oh well, got out of Toronto, drove to Kingston, things were relatively ok except for the 10-foot visibility, the fact that my hood got frozen shut so I couldn't refill my windshield washer fluid (thank you man in the gas station who cracked it open for me) and I kept getting a weird fog on top ice on the bottom configuration on my windshield that was only solvable by driving with the defroster on and the window open. I got to the outskirts of ottawa around 4 o'clock and then I hit disaster Ottawa traffic. The transit strike (which is ending thank goodness) has really f-ed things up for people who live in Ottawa. It took me 2 hours to drive the 15 km to my hotel on the 417. That's right. I was driving roughly 7.5 km/hour. Then I went out to dinner with my friend Michelle and her husband John. It was fun - we talked about how the replica statue at the McMaster interview banquet hall was a bit disfigured and had a really small penis. We also delved into many less serious topics such as what the hell we're going to do about residency.

I stayed at a bit of an odd hotel. I can't tell you what it was specifically that weirded me out - it just felt like lots of people had cheated on their spouses there. And then the next morning I went to my interview at another hotel down the street. I was the first one there (of course) and proceeded to go get some coffee. I was standing there putting milk in my coffee and instead of pouring the milk into my coffee, I opened the little container and diligently poured it into the garbage. Don't ask me why, I think my wires got a bit crossed on that one. Thank goodness I don't think anyone saw me. Then, I almost spilled coffee all over myself on the way back to my table. In good news, I didn't. The actual interview part went really well and my resident and doc who were interviewing me were SO NICE. Then at some point later in the day I kind of cornered the program director and asked him to give me the downlow on whether I could do some of my core rotations in community hospitals. I'm not sure if I made him uncomfortable. I hope I didn't. Sometimes this residency stuff makes me feel a bit pathetic and desperate. Thank goodness I was talking to another girl from my class and she said it made her feel the same way. Phew.

I'm really hoping at this point that the Mac sites I added to my application have been approved by the program. Ben and I haven't decided what is going to be ranked where, but I would hate to rank something I haven't even been officially entered into the match for! Ranking opens Feb 5th. I'm going to try starting to study for my surgery NBME today and forget about this. I also want to make some bread. I once found a blog that was all about making bread and different bread recipes and it was really good and I've lost the URL - anyone know it?

This post was a bit of verbal diarrhea so I'll stop now.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

My final interview in Ottawa went well. I'm excited for some of the new community-oriented opportunities that are starting up in their program. I now have the very hard task of figuring out where to rank and what order and all that fun stuff. The CaRMS algorithm is a bit of a mystery but as far as I've heard: if you are ranked in a program's top X number of spots (X being the number they accept) that spot will be held for you in the CaRMS system until you match to something you ranked higher on your ranklist - therefore you aren't forfeiting that spot by ranking it lower. This is good news if, like me, you have several rural programs on your ranklist that only have one or two spots. It's going to be hard because some of the places I want to go are harder for Ben to find work in and the easy places aren't programs I'm interested in. Hopefully we can strike a balance somewhere in the middle. I think I'm a pretty solid family medicine applicant, but I can't hope but have that little voice in the back of my mind telling me that I might not rank. I think everyone has it.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The interviews this weekend were really good, but introduced so many more factors into my decision of where to rank programs on my ranklist. Today I went to Mac to interview for the Kitchener-Waterloo program and ended up being really interested in the Fergus rural and Grimsby rural sites. Thank goodness you can add sites late for Mac. I think both of the interviews went well too. My interviewers both days were relaxed and friendly and it was more like a conversation than an interview - kind of like my most successful med school interviews. I'm putting the UBC experience behind me and heading on into my last interview - Ottawa on Thursday. Wish me luck! Then the really hard part begins - figuring out a rank list. I thought I had it all figured out before I went to interview, now I'm not so sure!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

You can't be in a bad mood when you see this:

The further away from my UBC interview I get, the poorer I think it went. I just don't think any of my genuine personality came across and I think I had a bit of verbal diarrhea. I wasn't really very well prepared for the questions they asked. I thought I was prepared for the types of questions, but when I got in there I couldn't make the stories I had prepared to use fit into the specific questions they asked, and when I tried they just sounded vague and unengaging. Everyone's gotta have a first interview though and I can only hope things get better from there. This weekend I have my U of T and McMaster interviews and then next week Ottawa. I'm only interviewing at 4 schools but for 7 different programs. I'm not sure how my combined U of T urban/Barrie-Newmarket interview is going to play out because the programs are so different but we'll see how it goes. I'm curious to talk to residents from the Ottawa programs because they all seem to be in pretty big hospitals (with the exception of the rural stream and the 2-resident pembroke program) and I wonder how the residents feel they fare with specialty residents around. That is why I'm going to their social night - to try and get the inside info.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I'm off in an hour or so to my UBC family medicine interview. I'm not sure what it's going to be like and I've spent all night dreaming about it and other weird shit. I'm glad I had a nap yesterday afternoon in anticipation of poor quality sleep last night because I don't feel too bad. I've been trying to think of bad qualities I have that I can actually tell people about in my interview because everyone asks about a weakness! I'll update you all when I get back.

UPDATE: So, yesterday I promised an update but when I got home I was so exhausted that I collapsed on the couch never to get up again. I think the interview went sub-par at best. It was a pretty structured and standardized interview that didn't give a lot of room for flow and conversation. I felt like some of the questions were redundant. The interviewers were nice enough, I just didn't feel like it was what I had prepared for. Oh well, onwards to the next one.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Whew. Just elipticated for 40 minutes while watching the new TV show (new to me) Petal Pushers on HGTV. It's interesting what a florist's life is like and how they badmouth people and decide clients are wrong behind their backs... on tv. Anyhoo, it got me thinking about flower arrangements and centerpieces. I know what I want for my bouquet but not sure about centerpieces yet. I want something cool and different and quirky.

I came to the realization last night that I really want Christmas back. There was some Christmas carol on the TV and I realized that between working until the 20th and leaving for Vancouver early, Christmas was just way too short. I'd like to take another stab at it please.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Had a great day today going to the vancouver aquarium with some friends from engineering school

It's fun to have people you can just be yourself with...

I've taken a few snaps of my walk to work across the BIG BRIDGE.
Ok... not over the biggest bridge in Vancouver, but still a sizeable bridge.

Work is going well. Learning lots. Going to medical clinic and learning calipers for body fat % last week was neat and got to admit someone onto the medical ward. Also going to spend some time with a dietician this week and see what they're all about! Getting ready for my interview on Saturday, a little freaked out, I'm not gonna lie.

Monday, January 05, 2009

First day

Today was the first day of my elective in Vancouver. I hate first days. I got there 30 minutes early, sweat through my shirt, made some stupid remarks in my introductory meeting and then ended up a loose end for part of the day because I didn't know where to find people. All the doors and locked and I don't have a key and I forgot my ID badge at my parents' house in Toronto so I'm the unidentified girl. I met lots of people today though and they were all very nice, so hopefully it will continue to be just me being silly for no reason. Tomorrow should be better, at least I have the lay of the land and I don't start until 9. I don't know what I'm going to do with myself in the morning though.

Today is the first day I've been here without having sushi. I love sushi. Walking home today I started thinking about sushi and then got hunger pains and almost had emergency sushi at the place around the corner. I stopped myself though. Maybe tomorrow. Made a big pot of chili tonight for lunches but am very tempted to have sushi instead!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Residency Interviews

Over the next month, I will be going through the process of residency interviews. I'm looking for practice questions. If anyone has any experience with residency interviews and has any practice questions or wisdom to pass on, I would appreciate it. I'm confident that they will be fine but scared that I'll freeze or say something stupid. Argh.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

I'm in Vancouver sitting in Princess Amy's livingroom. I have already made a good dent in my New Years Resolution. Amy and I are going to go to the gym later (she has a gym in her building - sweet!) and she'll do some crazy workout while I try not to lose a lung. I really need to get back on the work-out train and this is a good way to do it.

In other news, Ben and I spotted a beaver a few nights ago down the road from my folk's place. It was in a section of the Don River that goes through the Donalda golf course. We have been looking for it ever since and have been going up and down the river in various sections looking for signs that our beaver had been there. Last night we spotted him again! This time in a section of the river under the Don Valley Parkway. Unfortunately, after a few minutes, he scented us and gave a nice warning slap before disappearing up-river. Fortunately, we got to see him and some nice big trees he's working on felling. We thinking the one yesterday looks smaller than the original beaver we saw but the perspective was different. Woudln't it be exciting if there were two! Hopefully when I get back to town in 2 weeks after my elective in Vancouver we'll have more time to beaver hunt. And hey, get your mind out of the gutter!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Vancouver here I come

My only resolution for this year: eat more sushi.

Why? Because I love it AND because it's easily attainable, as I leave for Vancouver tomorrow. I only hope that I can get another miso horney magnet for my fridge.