Friday, March 19, 2010

Match Day 2010

The night before Match Day, I woke up randomly for 2 hours or so, unable to fall back asleep. When I finally did, I had the most random nonsensical "nightmare" of the day to come. It involved matching at a program high on Mr.'s ROL that I'm not crazy about, only under the name of a real program to which Mr. didn't even apply! Bizarre.

Anyway, I woke up around 8 and started to get ready for the day. At 10:30, Mr. left for a pre-match AOA meeting. By 10:45, STM and I were both getting a little stir crazy, so I went down to her apartment to finish getting ready.

We each represented the opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of attire. She was in jeans, wedges, and her lucky purple cardigan, totally rocking the snappy casual look. By contrast, I was in a long sleeved slinky Calvin Klein black, white & grey patterned dress with a red belt and my 3" patent leather slingbacks, the nicer end of what I might wear to work in Corporate America. When we entered the school cafeteria, we noticed that neither of us was out of place.

As the AOA meeting came to a close, the cafeteria staff began to set up the tables. Mr. and STM's hubby went to grab their graduation packets and free t-shirts from the alumni association.

We found seats, and then STM's watch stopped at 11:45am. Having not eaten breakfast, I was starving. I helped myself to a tuna salad sandwich and some pretzels. STM grabbed half a sandwich, and our husbands were nowhere to be found, mingling with their classmates.

Mr. strategically positioned himself by the table of envelopes so that when they clanged the gong at 12:00pm, he was able to quick grab his envelope, look at it (I promised him he could see it first), and then bring it over to me. Before I knew it, the letter was right in front of me, and Mr. was pointing toward the answer.

He matched at his #1!

I yelped, jumped up, and gave him a long tight hug. His #1 was the only program on his list that we completely agreed upon. And it's a tiny tiny Midwestern community program at which he didn't rotate. Had we matched at #2, he would have been thrilled, and I would have been slightly bummed. The reverse would have been true for #3, and #4, though an amazing program, was in a city that would have been horrible for my career. Luckily, it didn't come to that. He matched at his #1.

STM's hubby had received communication from his #1 that he was ranked in the top [exact # of slots for that program], so I wasn't surprised to learn that he, too, got his #1 choice.

It was so exciting yesterday, as most of Mr.'s classmates matched at their #1 or #2.

I tried calling my mom at work. It was so loud that her secretary had to tell me three times that she wasn't in before I heard. So, I tried her at home only to get the fax machine. Finally, I tried her cell, where I was thankfully able to reach her. She grew up in the town where we matched, so she was happy (though perhaps a little disappointed we'll be 4 hours away instead of 90 minutes away). I wasn't able to reach my dad, so I just included him on a mass text I sent out.

I emailed my boss to give her the good for me / bad for her news. She responded to both congratulate and mope. I will truly miss this place.

I then called a good friend who is going into general surgery. She also matched at her #1 choice in a program <2 hours away! Mr.'s hospital had been #4 on her list. We should have coordinated better!

I didn't finish my sandwich. The boys didn't even eat. We were the last ones to leave as one of Mr.'s classmates took him and STM's hubby to the local humidor to get celebratory cigars. STM and I did our best to avoid the smoke. Blech.

Finally, we went into the city to eat some BBQ before hitting up happy hour with the rest of the class.

Since the four of us all had to get up early for work today, we made it an early night. However, we have big plans for tonight, as well. And fortunately, none of us have early morning plans for tomorrow!

So far today, I've started emailing my fashion school contacts like crazy in hopes they can introduce me to someone who wants to give me a job. I've started harassing people in the town for apartment recommendations as well as recommendations for good tailors and cobblers.

These next 2 1/2 months are going to fly by. I just hope I can enjoy my last moments as a New Yorker in the flurry.

01 day since The Match
76 days until Mr.'s Graduation

Monday, March 15, 2010

Beware the Ides of March

This year, Black Monday fell on the date that has become synonymous with getting stabbed in the back, both literally and figuratively. Though most US MD students are breathing a sigh of relief today, there are inevitably some who feel they were betrayed by programs that didn't rank them high enough to match.

Fortunately, Mr. is not one of them. He matched in orthopaedic surgery. whew. I had been thinking up to this point that Match Thursday was bigger. I mean, Mr. was likely going to match and the Thursday is the day of the party and where we learn our next destination... but now I just feel so relieved. Where still totally matters, but not in the same way that it did a week ago.

03 days until Match Day
80 days until Mr.'s Graduation

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Waiting to Exhale

It was a windy, rainy weekend in NYC as a Nor'easter came through, flooding the courtyard and ripping one of the doors off our apartment building. Needless to say, yesterday was a great day to stay in. I went through piles of old mail, filing and shredding as needed and purged my closet of clothes I don't wear anymore. I now have three garbage bags full of clothes and shoes to donate when the weather clears up.

I'm currently waiting for groceries to be delivered while Mr. is studying in a classroom building.

I'm running out of ways to distract myself in this final day before "Black Monday".

Statistics are in Mr.'s favor. I haven't run a statistical regression, but if I did based on last year's Charting Outcomes for orthopedic surgery, I imagine his chances would be somewhere around 95-99%. But, it's impossible to not think about that 1-5%. It'll happen to someone; how can we know it won't be Mr.?
Last year I believe there was only 1 scramble spot for ortho in the country, and we don't have a game plan for what Mr. will do if he finds out tomorrow that he didn't match. If he matches, there are only 13 possible cities; if he doesn't... who knows? So, I'm really just holding my breath. In less than a day, we will have an answer of sorts. hopefully.

21 hours until Black Monday
04 days until Match Day
81 days until Mr.'s Graduation

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Love, Life and Lady Gaga

A friend recently quoted my fellow former fighting violet on facebook:

“Some women choose to follow men, and some women choose to follow their dreams. If you’re wondering which way to go, remember that your career will never wake up and tell you that it doesn’t love you anymore.”

-Lady Gaga, Cosmopolitan, April 2010

I found it interesting, because I've been pondering this balance recently. No, no, I have no desire to leave Mr., nor do I fear he will wake up to tell me he doesn't love me anymore. I don't want to sacrifice Mr. for my career dreams, but how much am I willing to sacrifice my career dreams for Mr.?

In one week (1 week!!), we will find out where we'll be moving 3 months from now, whether its halfway across the borough or halfway across the country. And I can't help but wonder what I'll do if we're not in New York City.

Last summer, I discovered something about myself that most have known about me for years. I love law. I want to be a lawyer. I want to lock myself in a room full of contracts picking apart the tiniest discrepancies that could have the largest impact all night until it's time to shower and come back into work again. What drudgery, right? I mean, I'm the girl who quotes Dead Poet's Society:
We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.

Law is merely a noble pursuit. My passion should be theatre or fashion, right? I greatly enjoy both of those. I even love both of those. But ultimately, I'm passionate about boring old law. My father's career. The predictable career. That's why I was 25 before I figured it out / caved in and admitted as much. And yes, I know that's still young, but kids in Germany more or less figure this stuff out at 12.

So, here I am in the somewhat unique predicament of discovering my passion years after getting married. Married to a med student entering a highly competitive specialty. The feminist in me wants to say, "you need to go to the best law school you can regardless of the impact on your relationship"... but the feminist in me also made Mr. move certain programs down on the list for their lack of law school. He's making sacrifices, and I should be expected to do the same if necessary.

I think we often try to paint things in black and white. We want everything to make sense, to fit into a package of quotes about passion and dreams. But ultimately, people are important. Even Lady Gaga, ambitious as she is, offers in her song "Speechless" to stop singing if that's what it will take for her father to get a potentially life-saving surgery. At the end of the day, I'll go with my gut with what feels right in terms of law and Mr., to find the balance between doing what is best for my career and doing what is best for my family.

I'd really like to have my cake and eat it, too. After all, what good is having cake if you don't get to eat it?

04 days until Black Monday
07 days until Match Day
84 days until Mr.'s Graduation

Friday, March 5, 2010

And Now We Wait

The rank list has been submitted and certified. We've told our parents and a couple friends. The decision has already been made; now we just need to wait. I'm so impatient; I just want to know already! At the same time, I hate "wishing my life away" and am trying to live up these next couple weeks.

This weekend I have 3 social activities planned, another one tentatively planned, sorority meetings, and church activities. Earlier this week I tried a new chili recipe, and tonight or tomorrow, I'm going to try to make chocolate covered strawberries made to look like footballs for the Oscars (footballs because The Blindside is nominated...).

I also got my LSAT score back over the weekend and have been using the LSAC's UGPA/LSAT search to find out my chances of getting into various schools. I've then cross referenced this with a list of schools I'll apply to for each of the programs on Mr.'s ROL. I've found this to be calming. What is not calming, however, is writing my application addendum to explain the sole bad grade I earned (or failed to earn?) in undergrad and my previous LSAT score from that time I took it on a whim. *headdesk* I want to go back in time and shake my 21 year-old self. Can we just skip that year? Go from 20 to 22? Because everything I have to explain happened when I was 21. And no, it's not alcohol related; the age is a mere coincidence. Le sigh.

Annnyyyway, moving on. What I should be doing in this time before the match is packing. Regardless of where Mr. matches, we will be moving out of our current student housing apartment. I hate packing with the fiery passion of a thousand burning suns. And I just can't do it. I usually ease into packing by starting with clothes, but that clearly won't work as it's still sweater and coats weather, and we aren't moving until tank-top and sundress weather. Also, we don't have boxes. Maybe I'll work on that next week. We can pack all of the books Mr. won't need for his last two rotations... some wedding presents we have yet to use... keepsakes that don't serve a purpose.
I am also going to clean out my closet. There's a donation bin near our grocery store, so that makes getting rid of clothes so much easier.

I think I might try to pick up some overtime at work. For some reason I'm much more productive after hours (and it's not the money... even when I'm not submitting the time I find that's the case). Hmm.

Anyway, speaking of work, I should get back to it! Lunch break is over. :)

10 days until Black Monday
13 days until The Match

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rank Order List Advice

On her blog, Marissa Nicole has discussed oh she and her husband have used their parents as a resource when creating their list. I think this is wonderful, but Mr. and I didn't opt to involve our parents much in the decision making. Part of this is because I already basically know the advice.

My parents are academic types. They actually met at a university that has a top tier law school, a top 10 business school, and one of the best music programs in the country. My dad was in law school, and my mom was in the music school. Through my college search when I was in high school, I learned that, in my father's opinion, it's not just about the name, but matching the offerings of the program with your own needs. I was in a rather unique program at NYU studying the entertainment industry - an industry that in the US only really exists in NYC and LA. When I considered switching my major to accounting, my dad said I should transfer back to an in-state school because his alma mater was just as good for less than half the price.
In short, my parents advice would be to go where he can get the best training. They'd love for us to be at the program closest to them, but not at the expense of his training.

Neither of my in-laws finished college, but my mother-in-law's father had a PhD from Princeton and moved the family frequently for work. She gets that the best opportunities aren't always in the same place, but she'd love for us to move closer to them and start giving her grandchildren.

So, who have we actually gone to for advice? Mr. has gone to various orthopedic surgeons in the area. For his independent study project requirement, an article on a specific orthopedic procedure, he's being overseen by a Spine attending with whom he has worked before. They have been in contact at least weekly since the fall. He received the specific advice that operating experience is paramount in determining rank order.

As for me, I've been talking to my boss a lot. I know it's often best to play your cards close to your chest, but I respect my boss too much to not keep her in the loop with everything. I plan to go to law school starting Fall 2011, and expect to be a slightly above average but not stellar applicant. My boss has advised to go to law school in cities where BigLaw exists if I want to do BigLaw. On our list, that would be New York, Chicago, or DC. (Ideally for her, we'd stay in New York, and I'd go to Fordham at night, continuing to work for her during the day.) While there are better schools in other cities on our list, they tend to train attorneys to work in those states, and the big firms don't necessarily look at mid-top-tier programs in smaller cities rural areas. I'm taking that to mean I will need to be aggressive in my job search, which I'm planning on being anyway.

In general, a lot of people have a lot of advice, but we've focused in to figure out what's legit and what we really want. I'm pretty happy with our list. I think it does well to look out for our oft conflicting interests. Should be interesting to see how it all plays out!

01 day until ROL is due
06 days until my LSAT score is back
20 days until Black Monday
23 days until Match Day!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Rank Order List

It is one month until Match Day... one short month since it's February to March, so if you prefer to count things in weeks it's 4 of those or 28 days. I'm getting butterflies just thinking about it!

Before Mr. can match anywhere, though, he has to submit his Rank Order List ("ROL"). As many of you know, this is the list of every program he wouldn't mind matching at of those where he interviewed. As I know not matching would be devastating to him, I've advised he rank all of them. Realistically, I imagine he'll match in his top 10, but you can't assume anything.

Mr. has had his #1 choice for a while, but lately we've been tweaking. Two days ago, he bumped what had been his #8 to #5. While this did bump one of my ideal cities down a spot, it also bumped my least favorite city down. Furthermore, I recently (as in, 14 hours ago) learned that my best friend is moving to the city we just moved to #5, so that makes it a very appealing move.

We've had to do a lot of balancing preferences. Mr., in support of my plans to pursue law, has lowered a program in loves in a city without a law school, and I've been less adamant about having to live in a big big city so that Mr. can rank programs that offer more operating experience. There are programs in less than ideal cities up there and programs with less OR time up there, but we've tried to work on ranking higher programs that have something in it for both of us.

I think our top 10 is now set. I like it; he likes it. In order for the Match to work properly, though, you must prefer each program over the next on the list. So, when Mr. showed me a printout of the current list, I asked if he could switch 11 and 12. While 11 does have slightly better weather and is closer to my family, it only has a 4th tier law school. 12 has a 2nd tier law school and is closer to cities with big firms. So, I think he is going to make the switch.

For more information on how the matching algorithm works, visit the NRMP website.

06 days until the ROL is due
11 days until I get my LSAT score
25 days until Black Monday
28 days until The Match!