Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Midyear Recap

Posted by Jenna at Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Midyear has come and gone and I would love if someone could tell me how it's already the end of December!! My time in New Orleans was purely exhausting and a little 
overwhelming. So how did I spend my time at Midyear?

I landed in New Orleans around noon CST and spent the rest of the day exploring New Orleans: the pharmacy museum, Bourbon Street, Canal Street, the Riverwalk, Cafe du Monde, and the French Quarter.

I had 4 PPS interviews. PPS stands for Personal Placement Service and is commonly used to find PGY-2 residencies or jobs. The advice is usually not to participate when you're looking for a PGY-1 but I ended up joining PPS last minute. My advice differs, though, because I had a great experience with PPS. If you're looking for a 'specialized' PGY-1, for example in administration, managed care, or pediatric-focused, PPS could be a great investment. Joining allows you to see the complete list of institutions participating in PPS and also allows you to post your CV and an objective statement. After I joined, I sent messages to 5 programs that I was interested in, and then sat back & let PPS work its magic!

I heard back from all 5 programs and also received messages from ~10 other institutions. One important thing about PPS is to be professional: if a program sends you a message and you're not interested, make sure you respond! Don't ignore their message, just thank them for their interest and nicely explain that you are currently pursuing other options.
Through PPS I got invited to a really great networking event, the CHCA (Child Health Corporation of America) reception, which I went to Sunday evening.
I had 3 PPS interviews prior to the 1st residency showcase. PPS interviews can vary in style. Most of mine were more informational, rather than a real interview. The interviews are booked for 30 minute slots and only people that are registered for PPS are allowed in the PPS area. If PPS is something you're considering, definitely be prepared to answer these typical questions:
1. Tell me about yourself.
2. Why do you want to do a residency?
3. Why are you interested in this specialty area?
4. What are your future goals?
And make sure that you have plenty of questions to ask! Some programs use PPS as a tool to weed out candidates, while others use it more as a personalized Q&A session. 

The 2nd residency showcase was from 8-11:30 and the 3rd session was from 1-4:30. I had my last PPS interview right after the last showcase. 

I had planned to use Wednesday to attend the residents' poster session. However, by Wednesday, I was honestly just sick of Midyear! So I ended up going to the Audobon Aquarium instead. I spent the plane ride home working on thank-you notes, as these should be sent out as quickly as possible. I sent out all 40, yes FORTY, thank you notes Friday. 

Things since Midyear have been a blur. I decided to apply to umm a few more programs than is typically recommended. Midyear wasn't as helpful as I had hoped in terms of eliminating programs that I wanted to apply to. I had really positive interactions with everyone that I spoke to during the showcase and my PPS interviews. I did a ton of research prior to Midyear but the 'tool' I found most useful during the showcase having a single sheet of paper detailing each program I was going to talk to. After doing so much research, programs start blending together and you don't want to seem unknowledgeable about a program when you go to their booth. As I was walking (okay, more like shoving my way through people) from booth to booth, I would get the sheet out for the program that I was going to next. That way during conversation, I could glance down to see the specific rotations offered, etc and write answers to questions right on that sheet. Just an idea of something that worked really well for me! You can never be too prepared and no matter how much time you spend preparing, you're still not going to feel prepared!

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