This month I went to wedding, two conferences, and a strategic planning meeting. One of the conferences overlapped with call, so I flew back through recently-flooded Houston the night before I showed up for a 24-hour shift. I feel like I'm always leaving friends and family behind, never present to them. All in all, I am traveling 4 out of the 5 weekends of this month. (I spent the other weekend TLDRing.)
Hello Internet is a podcast by CGP Grey and Brady Haran. I used to watch a lot of YouTube science, so I knew the creators and listened to a bunch of the podcast while collecting data for a research project. One interesting episode talked about time management across four categories: work, family, health, and friends. Grey made these categories analogous to four lightbulbs, and posed the question of time management in terms of how bright (or dim) each bulb is or should be, given limited wattage for all four. He related personally that his "health" bulb hadn't been on in the early years of starting a successful YouTube channel. As I listened to the podcast, madly collecting data, I felt similar. I, too, am self-employed in a way. I'm in that phase in my career that involves aggressive self-improvement. I'm looking for excellent skills, rare opportunities, good connections, advantageous relationships, and strategic projects. And that "health" bulb is really dim! I'm trying to turn it up a little, but the wattage limit and my chronic ambitious habits are making it really hard.
I'm homesick. When I applied to residency, I had few incentives to stay in my hometown because the public hospital rejected my ethical choices, the good private hospital had residents I didn't want to work with, and I thought the other private hospital was a dead-end career choice. Now I might be able to wedge my way back in, and I'd really like to. I don't like being the stranger at Christmas, that "older sister" who is never present to my siblings' lives. I want to be near my parents and be in the city I know and love. I can't tell how important these feelings are, though. Should I prioritize training in this important stage in my career? Should I go somewhere for the sake of a key mentor or a key set of experiences? And the all-important question: will they take me?
You know the fable of the man who started with a piece of straw and ends up a millionaire? I feel that way sometimes. I started in homeschool and traded up to a good private elementary school. This allowed me to trade up to an academically decent but philosophically terrible private high school. From there, I could have jumped academically higher (and philosophically lower) into college, but instead traded overall "up" to TAC. But TAC is a "straw" in terms of the rest of the world. (All the Thomists may now laugh at TAC being straw.) But I was still able to trade up to get into medical school. From a community program, I traded up again to an academic residency. I wonder whether fellowship will be another trade "up," or whether I've maxed out my potential.
Can I admit something? It relates to "maxing out potential." There is a barely perceptible but real glass ceiling over me because of my moral choices. I can't go to top places because they don't want someone with my "limits." I am not comfortable putting a list of places I'm blocked from online, because I still have steps left in my training and don't want to close doors. But I have this long-lasting frustration with being inferior. I guess it started at TAC: I felt like I took the moral high road, and my high school classmates who had gone to better colleges were getting into better med schools. Then from my state med school, I felt that again I was getting fewer competitive interviews. In any given city, there's a glass wall between me and the big hospital and the big research projects. It makes me irrationally hungry to go to those places and do that research. There is a lot more funding and networking in those places, and I could do more. Wouldn't it be good if I could do some animals studies to further the possibility of ectopic rescue? Wouldn't it be good if I could study methotrexate more?
I will start applying for fellowships in July of 2018. I will start preparing my application around December, when interview season for the entering intern class of 2018 is over. Please pray for me! If there are priests reading, please consider saying a Mass for me.