Well I’m down to the wire with two schools still in the running and one big decision to make. Where am I going to medical school next year?

The truth is I’ve decided to take the easy way out and let the money decide. Before too long I will know what my financial aid packages will look like and how much debt I can expect to be in when I graduate (read, a whole, stinking lot) and whichever number is slightly less terror-inducing will be my school of choice.

For students with slightly more discerning tastes, however, there is Second Look.

source: PSD Detail

Second Look is a chance for prospective med students to return to whichever schools have accepted them and have a, you guessed it, second look around. It’s a more casual setting than the interview and the pressure to impress is mostly gone. Now it’s the school’s turn to make a pitch (not that they weren’t doing that during the interview, but the utter terror of the day can make it hard to pay attention.)

Really what Second Look ended up being was two days of meeting many many new people and not remembering a single name.

The first evening was a reception. We entered the front room of the medical education building to find it crammed with acceptees and current students. Everyone was already sectioned off into little groups surrounding a center table with snacks and water. It was hot in the room and there was little room to maneuver. If I hadn’t had a fellow postbac buddy I probably would have turned right around and left. (Small talk is not my forte.)

Eventually we migrated to larger room and sat at large round tables that might someday be our classroom. At one point the medical school acapella group (no, I didn’t know medical schools had acapella groups either) came out and sang a few songs. There was no real end the evening; we just chatted with the folks at our table until, bit by bit, the people in the room drifted off in search of a real dinner.

The second day was a bit more organized. For one thing we had name tags this time around, which made it a lot easier to keep track of who I had already met. They also had their pitch ready to go; we sat through two panels and a classroom simulation about handling a disaster situation.

In the midst of the second panel, one of the fourth year girls described all of the amazing experiences she’d had during her rotations and I had a moment where I felt almost disembodied from my experience. This has happened to me a number of times during the past two years when it really hits me all of a sudden that I am doing this…I am going to medical school. How utterly strange. How crazy I would have thought anyone who might have claimed that this would be my future. Whether I attended the school in question, or my other possible choice, I was really, truly going to be a doctor someday.

So in some sense Second Look didn’t quite achieve its purpose. I have no clearer idea of where I want to be for the next four years, despite loving everything I heard about the school. But after nine months of feeling like I’m stuck in between steps, I’m starting to feel like maybe the race is on again. I can’t wait until August.