I have been following this blog for the last 3 years. I am currently a fourth year medical student who is about to apply to residencies … and I am a confused fourth year student. I am also a 33 years old mother of a 3 year-old boy.
I applied to medical school thinking about becoming a pathologist. It was my mother’s dream and had some exposure to pathology when I had worked at a clinical laboratory as a phlebotomist and a lab assistant during pre-med years. During the third year clinical clerkships, I fell in love with general surgery and scheduled all my sub-I’s having surgery in mind. Now finishing up my first sub-internship and having taken a couple of 30 hour trauma calls, I start to doubt my decision for the first time. I am now torn between pathology and general surgery for the first time since the middle of the 3rd year. Feeling physically tired contributes to it but what I have recently realized is that I do not know much about neither residency schedules in either specialty nor about lifestyle of neither general surgeons nor pathologists. I am worried that if I choose pathology I will work just as hard during residency but would be thinking about how would my life be if I chose surgery. I heard that it is best to choose what you love the most and the schedule will work out at the end. Would you agree with this statement? I also heard statements about applying to general surgery only if one can not imagine doing anything else but surgery, but I also find it hard to believe that the general surgeons, especially mothers, never doubted their career choices.
Here are my questions, and I would appreciate input from Cutter and Gizabeth.
- What are the approximate work hours in residency (pathology and general surgery)?
- Do the hours in residency depend more on a specialty or more on a type of a program?
- How will my schedule look like when I become a breast surgeon vs a pathologist?
- What is an attitude towards family in pathology and a general surgery residency?
- My husband would really like us to have another baby. Would it be feasible to combine internship, 2nd or a 3rd year residency with a pregnancy / new baby?
- If my marriage does not work out, would it be possible to continue residency and take care of my kid as a single parent?
- I am shy about asking my current residents and attendings about their schedules since I am on an audition rotation. Do you have any ideas whom I should ask and what else I can do to try to figure it out within the next few weeks? (Ideally, I should be submitting my ERAS application between September 15 and October 15).