My first week at an away sub-I, and I find myself in St. Louis. Just one neighborhood of the city is larger than the entire town where my med school is. It’s a bit intimidating, but also refreshing.
I started out my sub-I on nights, meaning the first day I spent exploring the city. Just the hospital alone, I probably wandered for 3-4 hours just learning the geography of it.
During an away sub-I, it’s easy to simply immerse yourself in the rotation. You are trying to prove yourself, and so the pressure of devoting all day to work is easy. Additionally, being away from your normal routine/friends/family, finding a work-life balance can be even more difficult. But, per the advice of my chief resident and even the director of the residency program, it’s important to take time to check out the city. Not only is this important for you to stay well rested, but also you want to assess if the city is a good fit for your needs.
I’ll admit I haven’t been the best at exploring the city, but I have the weekend off, devoted to exploring. I’ll take the day to find a local coffee shop, a gym, and some staple local attractions and restaurants. I actually have to report back to my chief what I did, as an assignment.
I was told to remember that away rotations go both ways. Not only is the program assessing if you’d be a good fit, but you are assessing if the program and city are good fits for you as well. Most applicants rank geography as their top priority when applying to residency, and so getting to know the city and life outside the hospital is essential.