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My take on NYC residencies

Discussion in 'Psychiatry' started by Salpingo, Nov 15, 2017.

  1. Salpingo

    Salpingo 7+ Year Member

    Dec 5, 2008
    As interview season rolled around, I became nostalgic looking through the interview reviews. It occurred to me that you can conceptualize the big NYC residencies as undergraduate archetypes. Of course, stereotypes are not the absolute truth, but they can still be fun.

    Columbia, the Ivy (think Harvard, Stanford and uh... Columbia): despite all the things we tell ourselves about finding the “best fit” and “going with our gut,” deep down beneath the veneer is a greedy gunner that just wants that juicy diploma that brings fear, envy and respect from all of our relatives that you wish would stop talking to you at family events. Like going to an Ivy undergrad, you benefit from learning alongside some of the brightest peers you can find, wonderful colleagues who will fill you with the constant, all consuming fear that you can never rest on your laurels lest you fall hopelessly behind. Also like the Ivy undergrad, there are some of the biggest names in the field working in your very institution, although they probably have their own bathrooms and cafe because you don’t ever really see them that often (especially after Eric Kandel blocked you on Instagram). Whatever direction you pursue, the Ivy has the resources and pull to get you there, which is clearly not an issue for that guy sitting next to you who is finishing his third research grant while simultaneously interviewing.

    Cornell, the Liberal Arts College (think Amherst, Williams or some other similarly British sounding school): like the elite liberal arts schools, the name loses some of its luster once you leave the northeast, but why would you want to leave the northeast? Sure, Cornell is in a little bit of a bubble, but as long as you stay in that bubble everything is good. Like liberal arts, you get to spend time contemplating philosophical constructs that may or may not have any relation to reality, although you will still have to work your ass off doing it. Initially, the intimacy of the liberal arts school sounds appealing, but is followed by intense claustrophobia, then followed by indoctrination, then followed by cocktails, then you can start billing at $500/hour for psychotherapy (again, within the bubble).

    NYU, the Elite State (think UC, UVA, Michigan, but DON’T think about friggin Ohio State): the large, sprawling institution, with tons of resources and opportunities if you could just figure where your classroom is. There’s national name recognition even if it’s not for the best reason (everyone knows Bellevue, just like everyone knows where Arizona State ranks on Maxim’s list of “colleges your mom doesn’t want you to know about”). And... uh... good exposure to substance use? I dunno, I guess I thought I would get more mileage out of this metaphor.

    Mount Sinai, the Alternative School (think Brown, Bowdoin, or any school that has done away with SATs, let’s you choose your own major/class/instructor species type): you know it’s a good place, smart people seem to be there, and you appreciate how hard they’re trying to let you be you but... why are they trying so hard? Like I mentioned, everyone is bright and accomplished, but in an alternative way (for example, maybe they started a successful silkworm production plant in Brooklyn in their free time, with all proceeds going to cure daschund obesity research).

    Montefiore, the King of the North (think McGill, University of Toronto): like the college that lets you drink legally at 18, everyone here seems to be friendly and at ease, with a decent education behind them. And yet, it seems so far away.

    Finally, the most important part of the analogy: your college experience won’t be determined by the reputation or stereotype, but the relationships you form and what you bring. While a big name and connected mentor won’t hurt, success is possible coming out of anywhere.
    QueenJames, 3lefts, Coupd'Cat and 2 others like this.
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  3. smilepinki

    smilepinki 7+ Year Member

    Jun 12, 2009
    Interesting post and curiously on point.

    Off topic: It's also a poignant reminder that many people across the country - including a sizable number of medical students - don't understand the elite college stereotypes, which, lets be real, mostly concern a certain demographic in a certain geographical region of the US. If you are outside this region trying to match into it, let this be a preview of the environment you will be brew in if you want to build a life here.
    QueenJames likes this.
  4. Amygdarya

    Amygdarya 7+ Year Member

    Feb 14, 2009
    Haha, do you know that Cornell and Brown are Ivy schools and Stanford isn't? :p (jus'sayin', I know it's not the point of your funny post)
  5. Salpingo

    Salpingo 7+ Year Member

    Dec 5, 2008
    That's a really good point. Beyond the fact that doctors will become part of this culture themselves, there is also some clinical relevance. Kids who seemingly have every resource available will literally kill themselves when they're discovered cheating on an exam. And at least in NYC, it extends beyond the private schools and upper class, with some of the biggest pressure cookers being the elite public high schools.

    Yeah, that's kind of an illustration of northeast academic elitism at its most obnoxious. There are the schools in the Ivy League and then what people consider the "real" Ivy's. Its like in the early episodes of the Simpsons, when the Harvard writers would throw in little digs at Yale. As mentioned above, these are distinctions that really don't matter to most of the country, don't impact wealth, health or happiness in any significant way, but is part of the NYC culture, to some extent.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2017
  6. rdk322

    rdk322 2+ Year Member

    Aug 10, 2013
    Lol Love your "King of the North" commentary on U of T and McGill having gone to one of those schools for undergrad myself! Excellent schools! Absoultely loved my time there <3 <3
  7. boogaaloo

    boogaaloo Banned Banned Account on Hold

    Nov 13, 2017
    So many strained analogies here.
  8. SeniorWrangler

    SeniorWrangler 7+ Year Member

    Nov 9, 2010
    New York City seems so large when you live there, doesn't it?
  9. Dharma

    Dharma 7+ Year Member

    What's wrong? Not a Buckeyes fan?
  10. Blitz2006

    Blitz2006 10+ Year Member

    Nov 20, 2006
    Actually I think its paradoxical living in big cities. You have everything in your neighborhood, so you rarely leave it.

    E.g. Person living in Bronx probably has never been to Queen's/Brooklyn in the past few years, and vice versa.

    And as a result, living in a big city doesn't feel "so big" (unless of course you are commuting daily into Manhattan for work, or partying all weekend in the city).

    Whereas when you are a tourist in NYC, it "feels so big" because you go all over the place (Greektown in Astoria, Yankee Stadium Bronx, Brewery in Brooklyn..etc)
    Amygdarya likes this.
  11. Amygdarya

    Amygdarya 7+ Year Member

    Feb 14, 2009
    This is very true. I live in the city basically across the street from our main hospital and the school, so I spend most of my time within 4 blocks or so (unless I'm on a rotation at one of the affiliated community hospitals which are spread around 4 boroughs). On top of that, given the subsidized housing, the area is so saturated with medical personnel that you can't leave the building without bumping into one of your residents carrying their child or one of your attendings walking their dog. Which feels not just small but kind of like a village where everyone knows everyone :) This may not be to some people's liking but makes me feel warm and fuzzy.
    Blitz2006 likes this.
  12. Dharma

    Dharma 7+ Year Member

    When you have family in 4 of the 5 boroughs, the place feels HUGE! Especially driving on the BQE when it's jammin'.
    Coupd'Cat likes this.
  13. Salpingo

    Salpingo 7+ Year Member

    Dec 5, 2008
    The typical New Yorker’s perspective of the world:

  14. Nasrudin

    Nasrudin Apropos of Nothing 10+ Year Member

    Jun 8, 2006
    Of course, also, if you have a family of 4 in any of the 5 boroughs, the place is bound to feel small. With somebody's feet in your face at night. And no place to masturbate or take a long peaceful crap, with all of the people-rats in your cage.
    Dharma likes this.

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