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Moving to a city with no friends or family nearby?

Discussion in 'Emergency Medicine' started by quideam, Dec 25, 2008.

  1. quideam

    quideam Too tired to complain
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    So, as I continue to agonize over residency options (two more months of tossing and turning coming up, and that's before I even certify my ROL!!), the same issue keeps coming up. So, wise SDNers, I wanted to get your professional opinion :D

    My biggest concern at the moment is that a few of my favorite programs are in locations that, while probably at least relatively "desirable" (big cities, decent weather), are places where I don't know anyone. When I did my away rotation for a month at one of these places, I have to admit, it was a little lonely - hanging out by yourself on days off gets a little old after a while :(. So, my question is primarily to those of you who moved for residency to locations where you had no friends or family nearby - how are you doing now? Are you happy, have you made some friends, do you feel you fit in? Should this be a huge factor in my decision, or should I assume that, being reasonably outgoing, it won't be difficult to build up a decent social circle? Of course, this is all keeping in mind that the long, demanding hours of residency won't allow for a lot of typical on-the-weekends-out-at-bars socializing...

    Thanks in advance for your input!
     
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  3. Speed Racer

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    Whether they are nearby or can come visit, family and friends are key to surviving residency, IMHO. You will make friends in the program, but you need a separation to remind yourself that there is a world out there where shooting people and eating dish soap is not the norm.
     
  4. GeneralVeers

    GeneralVeers Globus Hystericus
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    Just pick a place where family and friends will WANT to come and visit you.
     
  5. energy_girl

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    I'm in the same position as you and can totally relate. The cities I like the most are ones in which I have a few distant friends who may or may not still be there by the time I get there. However, they are big enough cities (i.e. NYC), and I'm hoping that I can meet and make new friends through other mutual interests. Perhaps this is too optimistic of a view, but I think those who want to seek out friends will find them.... Would love to hear the opinions of those who've gone through it too! :)
     
  6. substanceP

    substanceP Member
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    hey! i went to medical school 2200 miles away from where i am currently doing residency. when i moved up here, i had one friend living up here and several distant acquaintances. a few acquaintances from medical school also moved up here for residency. over the past 18 months, i've worked hard to make a good group of friends; some of them are medicine-related, but most aren't. i still hang out with the one friend i had up here prior to moving up, and one of my acquaintances from med school and i have become good friends over the past 1.5 years. some my friends are friends-of-friends from back home who are either nyc locals or have been living here for years. some of my friends are from a running group i joined. i also hang out with one or two ppl from residency (although i don't do this that often b/c all we end up talking about is work). my point is that if you put effort into it, you can have a totally normal social life that is unrelated to medicine/residency. good luck! --sp
     
  7. Aloha Kid

    Aloha Kid Senior Member
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    Aloha's Top Ten Ways To Fight Loneliness

    1. Get a dog
    2. Consider Alcohol
    3. Leave you house so messy, you never want to go home
    4. Immerse yourself in Play Station
    5. Make friends with nurses who are a bit Histrionic

    Okay . . . Just kidding . . . Here are some ways

    1. Realize what your personality type is like. If you are outgoing and friendly, you will make friends. If you are not, you will probably still make friends, but less of them. If you are a loner, then great, you are all set.

    2. Realize you will be so tired at times that the best friends you have will probably be your classmates in residency. No one else outside of medicine will want to maintain a relationship with you unless they are very understanding.

    3. Pick up new hobbies in the areas you're in. Could be canoeing, sky diving, reading or whatever you are interested in. Join a local club and you are bound to meet many people with the same interests and no doubt find a release. These are some of the things my classmates have done. Marathon runner, Surfing, Scoutmaster, mountain biking.

    4. Don't forget church communities. They contain some of the most supporting environments and we could always use help from upstairs.

    5. The catch about ER is there are so many extracurricular activities. We carry the mother load of after school programs from things like EMS, Toxicology, Hyperbarics, and the list just goes on. This is another great area to find a niche, do research, or just hang out and make friends. If you are extra lonely, try finding two niches. This is an area where you can really apply yourself.

    6. Southwest, Email, Cell phones make the world an easier place to live away from family and close friends. Advice from parents can still be given via phone and email. You will not lose those relationships but simply nourish them via other forms of communication. When you can't take it anymore, why not buy a plane ticket home for a few days when you are off shift and go visit. These relationships will still be a strength to you no matter where you go.

    7. Don't forget about dating. Most of the people in my class are now hooked up or have been. Most are married. Life still happens and the birds and the bees still has its effects. You will date, you will find someone special, and if you don't, then you will have fun and gain important experience doing so.

    8. Find a MENTOR. Yes, the word we hear about all the time. It is important to find a MENTOR - most likely an attending who you can go to for any work advice and personal advice. You will need to put forth the extra effort to maintain this relationship. Mentorship can steer you clear of many tough spots and simply be an outlet for you to release. FIND A MENTOR.

    9. Get involved with national EM groups, Local groups, Hospital committees. You will meet many wonderful people and develop relationships with them. It will help you when you walk into the hospital and recognize so many faces you already know. It will also make your job easier. You not only broaden your friends base in the hospital but also develop friendships for out of hospital relationships.

    10. It's entirely up to you in determining how you feel. Loneliness is almost always accompanied by low self esteem, cynicism, and spiteful words/actions. You will find as you are a genuinely nice person others will want to be around you. As you cheer up the sad and make someone feel glad they will want to be around you. It will affect you and make you better person and stave off those feelings.
     
  8. quideam

    quideam Too tired to complain
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    Thanks everyone for your input! This makes my decision at least a little bit easier!

    Q
     
  9. roja

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    I moved to NYC with no friends or family. I think it depends on who you are. I knew I would be fine without a major support system.

    I ended up making some of my best friends in residency. I think you got some great advice:

    Find a mentor
    socialize
    get out
    Make nice in the hospital, you never know where your friends will come from. (One of my best friends is an intensivist I got to be friends with over the years, meeting initially as an intern.)
     
  10. Universe_Explorer

    Universe_Explorer Junior Member
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    I moved practically a thousand miles away, and it's worked out really well. I can think of three reasons to move far from what's comfortable:

    1) The location fits your hobbies - if you love to ski and there are mountains, or love the weather, beaches, or just want to live in a huge city (LA, NYC, Chicago, etc). I have warm weather hobbies and rarely get bored here.
    2) The residency program is very social. You'll make great friends in residency if you choose the place you fit. My program is like a big family, from the attendings to the nursing staff, and we spend lots of time together outside of work. It made it a lot easier.
    3) Least important, but if you choose somewhere your friends and family are apt to visit, it helps. It's a lot easier getting people to visit me in Orlando than it would be if I had gone to Northwestern Idaho State University...

    Most importantly, be yourself - you made friends before
     

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