Went down to Gainesville on Thursday. Lexie and I ate BBQ before heading out to La Chua trail where we saw HUGE alligators several feet from us. It was cool and a little scary. Then we went to Lake Wauburg to kayak. UF students hosted a welcome dinner at The Swamp. UF threw me a curveball: my socks were blown off by almost everything. Almost.
What’s the definition of success? My answer to this question: moving to Colorado. I firmly believe that all Coloradans are successful by virtue of living in that beautiful state.
On Friday, after my interview, I took off for Colorado Springs, about an hour south of Aurora. I made it to Garden of the Gods State Park an hour before sunset. There, huge rock formations shoot out from the ground and tower over the surrounding trees and shrubs. The scenery is composed of a desert dirt red. The rocks have pockets that make them look great for climbing. Indeed, there were several climbers at 5 in the evening. The state park feels surreal–like you were plopped into a giant’s land as everything else towers above you. (That or you were part of Honey, I shrunk the kids.) The state park is well-adapted for tourists in that many of the trails have been paved over as sidewalks.
Life goals: move to Colorado. Subsequent post on my adventures near Denver coming soon. I had a lovely day interviewing at CU on Friday. All interviewees had two interviews (both in the morning). We also had presentations on financial aid, curriculum, and the Colorado Springs campus (MS3 students do their main clinical year in Colorado Springs where they follow a ‘portfolio’ of patients longitudinally rather than spending 2-3 weeks for each specific rotation). My second interview was with a MS4 student who also went to Duke for undergrad. I wonder if the admissions committee did that on purpose.
Pros: Colorado! The vibe out west is completely different from the East Coast. Ang asked if that’s because, “they’re all high.” I hope not. The community seems very collaborative, concomitant with the vibe I got. The area around the Anschutz medical campus is bike friendly. They have “tracks” that allow students to focus on a specific area in medicine. One track is on leadership, advocacy, education, etc. Basically, it focuses on training physicians who are aware of the social determinants of health and will make decisions that empower people in the community to make the best health decisions. They have nice facilities. Sunshine! Basically everything about Colorado (sun, mountains, climbing, trail running) is a plus–I’ll collectively classify these things as cultivating mental health 😉
Con: The biggest con is the price tag. Tuition for non-sponsored students (their term for out of state) is scary expensive. My interviewer (who did not attend medical school at CU) said you don’t get double the benefits from a school that is twice as expensive (say compared to a FL in-state tuition). Other cons are that you still need a car (as bike-friendly as the campus is, cars are still necessary to get to rotations, to Boulder for trail running or out to the Rockies), large student body (184 students), and tests are on Monday.
Lexie, Catherine, and I hit up Disney’s Food and Wine Festival at Epcot this past weekend. We had park hopper tickets so we also went to Magic Kingdom where we rode Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain, Teacups, and the new Seven Dwarfs ride. There were a TON of people–a Disney cast member said they were anticipating 66,000 guests. Having been to Disney countless times made this trip much more enjoyable because we didn’t feel pressured to try to ride everything.
Back from Cleveland and my interview at Case. I interviewed for the University Track, which is their 4 year traditional MD program. Didn’t get to see much of Cleveland, but I wasn’t too impressed with the limited parts I saw. Then again, places can grow on me given time. Had a very friendly host student.
Pros: I loved the IQ teams, which is Case’s small group (7-8 students) learning sessions. They put a hypothetical patient case on the board and walk through the case–everyone contributes by discussing disease pathways, functions of different proteins, cells, etc., and medical treatment side effects. This was definitely a HUGE plus for Case. Students are tested at the END of a block (blocks can last 11-14 weeks no including the first block), which means students aren’t stressed about studying for a test every weekend. Time management skills required. Truly pass/fail pre-clinical work (no internal ranking system, e.g. student is in x percentile of class).
Cons: Cars are still necessary for daily life and de facto required to get to hospitals for rotations. This is a big bummer because the major draw of moving to a city would be to ditch my car…especially if I have to give up nice, suburban running trails for streets. I saw a lot of cars park in designated bike lanes (what??) and two student recently got into pretty major accidents while cycling to school. Other cons that are not as major: large class size (170 students per class), older facilities, it’s cold (this one isn’t really that fair since I’d adjust).
Missed Duke’s homecoming since I bought my plane ticket before I remembered HC was this past weekend. What a bummer! But Duke beat BC 9-7. Woohoo!!