I’m writing this in a post-travel daze, having just returned from a quick trip to Washington, D.C. for a meeting. I’m currently serving as the National Delegate for Student Affairs with the Organization of Student Representatives, the student arm of the AAMC. As part of this role, I attend quarterly meetings at the AAMC headquarters in Washington, D.C. with the other 11 student members of the Administrative Board. I was elected to this position this past November, and I’m now beginning to settle into the role and the work and expectations that come with it.
Prior to medical school, I had actually never been on a plane before. It’s hard to believe, but true. I had just never had an occasion to fly anywhere. I had traveled in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, and to Canada, but hadn’t had the opportunity to travel otherwise. When I was elected as an OSR representative, though, I was told that the first meeting I would attend was in San Francisco. I was a little nervous, but excited, and I had a very nice trip to San Francisco, gazing out the plane window in amazement for the vast majority of both legs of the trip. After that trip, our next couple of meetings were close enough to Albany to take a train instead. But once I joined the OSR Ad Board, I signed on for four meetings in D.C. Although I could take a train there, it is cost prohibitive and too time intensive. A quick 1-1.5 hour flight brings me to D.C. on time for the meeting and with a cost savings of about a hundred dollars compared to train travel.
Ad Board meetings take place over a day and a half. So for our most recent meeting, I flew from Albany to D.C. on Monday morning, had meetings all day on Monday and all day on Tuesday, and flew back to Albany on Tuesday night. I also experienced a flight delay due to weather, which meant extra time at the airport reading my pathology textbook while I waited. The trips are surreal for me because they are so short and fast-paced and traveling is still pretty new to me. It’s hard to believe that I’m in Albany on two consecutive days, with two flights, a hotel stay, and a whirlwind meeting in between.
I’m beginning to embrace the lifestyle of the road warrior. I saw the movie Up in the Air a couple of years ago and loved it. It was equal parts humorous and serious, and taught me some great travel tips. When I’ve been traveling for Ad Board meetings, I’ve imagined myself as George Clooney’s character, navigating the airport and the skies like a pro. I haven’t quite gotten to that level yet – I still need to learn to pack lighter, move more efficiently, and earn more frequent flyer miles. But traveling and attending meetings has made me feel less like a kid and a student and more like a young professional, which is a change I’m pleased to experience.