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I suppose there are people in the world who feel comfortable in a suit. There are certainly enough people who wear them to work on a daily basis. I’ve even seen more than a few female physicians walking around in pumps that make me wince in sympathetic pain. I like to think that whenever a person’s career is such that they are required to wear an extreme level of professional attire (which is what I consider a suit) they can at least afford to buy outfits that are comfortable to wear day in and day out.

I do well enough for interviews. I’ve made it up and down vertical hills, up myraid flights of stairs and sat in all manner of chairs and couches during my interview days. But I have to say, my favorite part of the interview day is the post-interview quick change.

This ritual was not one I participated in for my first two interviews. They were located close enough to where I’m living that I could drive to and from the location on the same day. (Painful shoes notwithstanding, I arrived home in the same clothing I left in.) But the further from home the city I was interviewing, the more elaborate the post-interview transportation process became. Thus, the post-interview quick change.

It goes like this: during the interview, there may be some bonding among applicants. Occasionally I would find a interviewee or two who was headed to the same airport or bus that I needed to catch. Often I made the trek solo. Regardless there would be a moment after the final event of the interview day had concluded when I would retrieve my bags from the storage room in the admissions office, and find the nearest bathroom.

There I would undergo the delicate task of changing out of a suit and heels into jeans and sneakers without letting anything important touch the questionably clean bathroom floor.

A few pieces of advice for anyone attempting this in the future.

First, remember to put the clothes you wish to change into on top of your suitcase. It seems obvious, but in my rush to get ready in the morning I frequently managed to stuff a towel or pjs into my bag at the last minute, only to realize, as I was hopping around on one foot in the corner stall, that my desired clothes had become buried at the bottom of my duffel.

Socks are important. Unless it’s flip flop weather, they have a knack for sliding out of reach or losing their partner along the way.

Bring optional layers. Even in February the weather can be anything from below freezing to a balmy 60 degrees. Plus you’re probably going to be somewhere with unfamiliar weather patterns.

Have somewhere to put your suit post-change. You either need enough room in your suitcase, or a separate garment bag. On a related note, garment bags are surprisingly awkward to carry on public transport.

Last but not least, make sure that you’ve finished with everything interview-related before you decide to do your quick change. You’ve put all this effort into giving the impression that you’re the sort of mature, professional sort of person who hangs around wearing a nice suit all day. I feel like the illusion might suffer if you rush back in wearing a ratty sweatshirt to get a map for the subway.


In case you missed the drama, Planned Parenthood and the Susan G. Komen Foundation have had a rocky relationship this week. To summarize; Komen cut off funding for PPH (they sponsor over 170,000 breast exams each year) which set off an intense reaction from both sides of the pro-life/pro-choice divide. Then, after a surprisingly silent day or so, Komen reversed its position and declared that it would continue with its funding.

Ultimately, I think Komen is going to lose out from this whole debacle. Before the threatened funding cut, Komen’s relationship with PPH was far from common knowledge. I wasn’t really aware of it, and I have a vested interest in both organizations. Now, however, Komen is going to be forever linked to its decision. If they had chosen to continue with the cut funding they would be a pro-life organization, and supporters of Planned Parenthood, like myself, would search for different breast cancer organizations to support. Never mind that many of those organizations have never donated to PPH in the first place or taken any kind of side in the abortion debate.

Now that Komen has returned it’s funding, there are still some pro-choice advocates (again, like myself) who are wary of the organization. The publicity turned up a fair amount of dirt on Komen, like their habit of suing smaller breast cancer fundraisers for use of the phrase “the cure.” Or their ill-advised partnerships with organizations like Kentucky Fried Chicken and Mike’s Hard Lemonade. On their own, these missteps seem like well-meaning blunders, but combined with the Planned Parenthood scandal, I find myself wary of the organization as a whole.

Meanwhile, Komen’s decision to return funding to Planned Parenthood will certainly damage their reputation among pro-life groups. And because of the drama and publicity of this whole flip-flop, many people who never knew that Komen and PPH were partners are now very aware of that fact.

The funny part of all of this? Right after I heard the news of the cut funding I did a vague Google search for alternative cancer charities to Komen. Every single link that turned up was from pro-life groups trying to spread the work of Komen’s attachment to PPH. I accidentally found myself reading all sorts of propaganda about both organizations like the photo-negative of everything I had just been reading from the opposite side. A strange way to bring two sides of an argument together.

In the end, though, we are all on the same side when it comes to breast cancer. The fact is, if Komen had never started donating to Planned Parenthood in the first place , there would never have been in issue in the first place. The issue is not, nor has it ever been that one must be pro-choice to be anti-cancer (or vice versa.) In some ways, Komen deserves props for even daring to go there in the first place (although I doubt they anticipated the political hotspot PPH would become when they first signed on as a sponsor.) I hope there are at least a few pro-life advocates out there that don’t care if a woman’s life is saved because she is screened at Planned Parenthood or somewhere else. But if the majority want to send their money to a charity that has avoided the controversy altogether, I certainly can’t hold it against them.