On March 19th I along with thousands of my colleagues across the country found out where I would spend the next step of our training. In my case I will be heading to Northwestern, culminating what now jokingly but for a quite some time seriously was considered by my parent’s and I as “the worst years of our lives.”
It feels almost unbelievable given that at the start of MS 3 I could not even contemplate applying for residency in any field at Northwestern let alone match there. Looking back it was this very sense of lowness that allowed me to affect the change that brought me to this point. Prior to the start of MS 3 and receiving my Step 1 score, though I had done well and loved pathology, I assumed I would go into internal medicine and ultimately on to a career as a Hematologist/Oncologist.
Following my experiences in surgery and my disappointment regarding Step 1, suddenly simply being happy became an acceptable enough goal and I started reflecting on the “glow” my dean noted when I discussed pathology. While I had long been reticent about openly considering the possibility of actually pursuing pathology, my new mind frame, an assist from scheduling in the inability to secure a heme/onc elective, and the support of pathology faculty led me to take my first clinical pathology elective. During that elective I met attending physicians and residents who demonstrated deep affection not only for their field but also for me. From day one I was made to feel like part of the team and by simply doing what felt right was able to make a place for myself in a way I had not previously experienced.
The events of the following year and half can be gleaned from my posts here, my work in the Pathologist, my soon-to-be published textbook chapter and most sufficiently long conversations with myself. My path to pathology has shifted from a perceived side path on a longer walk elsewhere to a direct path towards my future.