Merry Christmas!!!

December 25, 2013

A festive hello, readers!

I hope you all are having an excellent holiday season. I’ve been taking it easy out here in OK–found out on Monday that my attending was planning on taking most of this week off/being on-call from home, so he told me that afternoon that I was off until this coming Monday (when I start a new elective with the adult psych folks). I kayak.com’d flights back to NC while I was sitting in his office, but to no avail; the most economically feasible options were $750+ and while my folks offered to foot the bill, I just couldn’t rationalize paying $100+/day to be at home when we’ve still got flights to book for January/February interviews. (Seriously, I flew to Kitts for less than that!) So here I sit, hanging out with the dusty old books in the medical library, writing interview thank-you’s. At least I’m not in the middle of my internal medicine core rotation like last Christmas…or ruminating over going back for my fifth semester of med school on the island (dreading that ghastly comp shelf exam) like the Christmas before. Things are improving! YEA!

This latest situation (where I found out that last-minute flights out of OKC are expensive) reminds me how important it is to schedule yourself in a convenient location with access to more than 1 airport during interview season. I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m really kicking myself now for not thinking about that back when I was booking electives. It was silly of me to apply to primarily East-coast programs (which are normally easy to drive/fly to from centrally-located NC) but then put myself in Oklahoma during the two busiest months of interview season. If I’d have thought ahead, I’d have done these OK rotations either before or after interview season so that I could have been closer to all these places I’m having to pay premiums to fly to from OKC.

I have a weekend coming up in January where I have two East-coast interviews booked over one weekend, so I’m having to schedule a multi-city flight plan to make it to both interviews from Oklahoma in one trip. When I first looked up ticket prices, I was flabbergasted that they were $650+ and thought that surely they would go down. Nope. Priced them today during my stent in the library and they are now $800+. I feel stupid. Considering it’s 2 separate interviews and 3 flights, it averages out to a reasonable cost but I feel like kicking myself (again) for not booking earlier when it would have been cheaper. Who knew that it was so expensive to fly out of OKC? I was just sitting here wondering what the limiting factor on the expense of my trips out of OKC was and realized I hadn’t checked other airport departure sites. I mapquested how long it would take to get to Tulsa or Dallas–2 hours and 3 hours, respectively. That’s not horrible–I drive that far to get to RDU. So I priced my multi-interview trips out of Tulsa and they’re only about $700. Better. Priced trips out of Dallas. $600. Cha-ching! That minus my $50 voucher from Delta [after I never got off the ground during my last attempted East-coast interview from the OKC] and I have 3 flights for $550. SCORE! Merry Christmas to me. I guess I should re-title this entry “$250 discounts for thinking outside your home airport.”

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3 Responses to “Merry Christmas!!!”

  1. Stephanie said

    Hi Jenn!
    Just curious, would you mind giving a bit of a breakdown as far as “interview season” goes? When do you start applying, when do most interviews happen? Do you need to take the step 2 exams prior to starting applications for residencies?
    I still have a ways to go, but I am desperately trying to have somewhat of a timeline so I don’t have any avoidable delays.
    Thanks!
    Stephanie

    • jenningers said

      Hello again, Stephanie,

      Ah, you’re curious about interview season? Sure, I can provide a breakdown, but first I’ll answer your 4th question: Do you need to take the step 2 exams prior to starting applications for residencies? Technically, no, you can apply with just a Step 1 score, but I would STRONGLY recommend taking your Step 2 CK with enough time to get your score back so you can include it on your application, as most folks tend to have a higher CK score than their Step 1, then you can take your CS later since it’s pass/fail. If you do amazingly well on your Step 1 and aren’t sure you can top that score on your CK, then go ahead and apply with just Step 1 and perhaps with CS.

      So you need, at minimum, your core rotations done before you start applying. I had completed fam. med elective (6 weeks), psych (6 weeks), internal med (12 weeks), surgery (12 weeks), OB (6 weeks), and was in the process of finishing peds (6 weeks). There’s no written requirement anywhere that says you need cores done, but this is my advise as it will give you a chance to experience all of the fields and make sure you’re pursuing the residency you’ve got your heart set on.

      So April of that year, the school emails you and lets you know that you need to submit your CV/resume, a draft of your personal statement, and a couple other documents bringing them up to speed on your plans. Then I would recommend researching programs over the summer, using Freida (the AMA database) and google to figure out where you want to be and if there are programs there you’re interested in/IMG-friendly programs. You finish up your application and send it off in September, then will start hearing back from programs either YAY we want to interview you or NO we don’t want to interview you, then interviews are October-January. Your rank order list of programs you interviewed at/want to Match at is due at the end of February, then Match week is in March–you find out on Monday if you matched or not, then Friday (if you matched/scrambled) you find out WHERE you matched. Then you finish up, graduate at the end of May, have June to move to your program, then start orientation at the end of June and July 1, residency officially starts.

      Hope this helps!

      Jenn

      • Stephanie said

        It does, thanks!! Since I started in January, it looks like there won’t be any avoiding the sitting around and waiting between finishing rotations and applying for matches. Although, I guess that just means more time I can dedicate to researching programs and preparing for interviews 🙂
        Thanks, again!

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