Month: May, 2012

I’m moving!

I am moving over to a new spot on the web.  You can find me at:

I hope to see you there!


The Post Where I Add Up My Student Loan Debt

I have alluded to my student loan debt already; the Debt is one of the biggest reasons that I started this blog.  I wanted a place where I could put it all down in black and white (or red, ha!), set goals for myself, and track my progress.

I can already tell you that this is not going a blog about how I erase six figures (yes, SIX figures) of debt in some ridiculously short time frame, a la No More Harvard Debt.  It won’t even be gone in four years.  It’s going to be a long process that will require me to balance my debt aversion, having a life, and preparing for the future.

So without further ado…my student loans:


The upside?  I have no credit card debt, no car payment, and no mortgage.

How to Remember to Pack Underwear

Recently, I was invited to a beach weekend with a group of my friends.  In my excitement I completely forgot to pack some pretty crucial items.  I mean underwear and toothbrush crucial.  Fortunately, you can buy underwear and toothbrushes anywhere these days!  However, I would could have saved myself a huge amount of hassle (and a little bit of money) if I had a go-to packing list for occasions like this.

This winter when I was flying all over the country interviewing for jobs I had a specific interview packing list.  It included the clothing for my pre-interview dinner, and my interview, as well as the toiletries and other specific items that I would need.  This list made packing very easy, and it allowed me to feel secure knowing that I had not forgotten anything.

The beach trip made me painfully aware of how little I can trust my own brain to remember even important things.  So, with that experience behind me, I am setting out to try to ensure that it never happens again.  Here is my beach trip packing list:

A weekend beach trip:

bathing suit(s)


casual outfits for lounging around

dressier outfits for going out






workout clothes

sunscreen/aloe gel

shampoo/conditioner/hair product/hair ties

face wash/moisturizer


body wash/soap





cards/board games

beach towel

cell phone/cell phone charger

tea bags (I am not a coffee drinker, so I take tea bags with me pretty much everywhere.)


I have easily adapted this list to help pack for weekend trips to visit my family.   I removed all of the beachy items (sunscreen, bathing suits) and added church clothing.  Also, I keep a running pile in my house of things to return to my mom. That “return-to-mom” pile is also on my list.  I have saved both of these lists into my Google Docs and will reference it from now on when I am packing for a trip.

The Best Work Advice You’ll Ever Get

Okay, that’s probably a stretch, but anyway….

This week I had the pleasure of grabbing dinner with a friend/mentor in the department that I am about to join.  This particular mentor has completed her residency and is now in the process of establishing her career as an attending.  We became friends because we had similar interests, and over the years I have found her advice to always be spot on.  I wanted to post some of the great advice that she gave me.  Even though she was clearly thinking about the hospital work environment, this advice is generalizable to lots of different workplaces.

1. Do the basics well.  Unfortunately medical training places a huge emphasis on the obscure, and sometimes trainees lose the forest for the trees.  It is better to perform the daily functions of your job well than to know every single random tidbit about your field.  Knowing that very rare complication of drug X is not very important if you can’t actually order drug X correctly.  This year I am going to strive to write excellent notes, place accurate orders, and give good presentations.  All of the medical knowledge will come with time.

2. Triage every single day.  Be proactive and imagine the worst possible things that could go wrong.  Then specifically address those things first to keep them from happening.  In medicine this often means identifying the sickest patients and keeping a close watch on them.

3. Always get the full story.  It’s very hard to make a management plan if you don’t have the full history.  If things don’t make sense, slow down or start over.  This hearkens back to #1.

4. Spend more time on the front end to save time later.  Spend time every morning planning the day.  Get a good history now so that you’re not trying to chase it down later.  Establish good personal organization systems.

5. Don’t get sucked into drama.  Patients will lie to you and ignore your advice.  Colleagues will inevitably screw up.  Once it has happened, move on and get work done.  When others complain don’t get pulled down into the fray.  Surround yourself with positive people.

6.  Establish a healthy routine for dealing with immediate stress.  This routine should provide a physical practice to associate with relief of the stressor.  For example, when something bad happened one physician would wash his hands, figuratively removing the problem and allowing it to run down the drain.  It is better to spend some time dealing with your anger or stress in a way that works for you than to take it out on someone else.

I thought that all of this was really excellent advice, and I am excited to implement it into my routine.