Advice for Away Rotations

Hello friends, it’s me again!

After months away from writing (as I guess I’m prone to based on my post frequency), I’m back with more content that isn’t just brunch and happy hour.

‘Tis the season for away rotations (also known as audition rotations), the time during which fourth year medical students across the country essentially “audition” at another institution in pursuit of a coveted residency spot. I’m sure you’ve come across other blogs with advice posts on when/why to do an away rotation, but this post will focus more on how to get the most out of your away rotation.

*Note: Aways are less common in fields such as Pediatrics and Internal Medicine, so my perspective will definitely be skewed toward the former. Additionally, I am not able to answer any questions regarding FMG and IMG applicants as I am unfamiliar with the process.*

Get lost in your new city

As the name implies, you are likely doing an away at an institution in a different geographical area than your med school. Other than being a month-long audition to show your best work toward your potential new employer, aways also benefit you by showing you whether or not you like the personality/vibe of this potential new city, which is of tantamount importance, in my opinion, to strength of a program when you’re finally making your rank order list (ROL) prior to Match Day. This could be the place that could be your home for the next 3-7 years. My advice is to spend the weekend prior to starting getting lost on the local metro/subway, ask locals what they like about the area, and ask the residents whether or not they would like to stay after training.

KNOW WHERE TO BUY FOOD

Aways are so so so expensive. I did my away at two hospitals in NYC while subleasing what was basically a tenement in the Lower East Side (not too far from the tenement museum, I might add) while also paying rent for my apartment in medical school (the rent for my coffin was also more than what I paid for my actual apartment). Although websites like Rotating Room exist for rotating medical students, you will not always be guaranteed to find someone to take your spot. Additionally, I didn’t feel comfortable with someone in my apartment with all of my stuff so I decided to bite the bullet and pay for both sets of rent. It’s important for you to do your homework when looking for lodging to see what your kitchen situation is like – I would suggest saving money by finding a place that has a kitchen and doing some light cooking while you’re there. I was barely a 10 minute walk to other grocery stores in the area including Essex Market (prior to the new Target/Trader Joe’s gentrification) and various stores and street vendors in Chinatown. Knowing this all ahead of time (in addition to getting “lost” in the above section) allowed me to save money on my food… which I eventually spent on Barry’s Bootcamp classes and lots of CAVA but that’s beside the point.

Fire up those dating apps

A seldom-talked about but very important aspect of moving to a new city is the dating scene. Honestly it would be awful to be stuck for 3-7 years in an area where the dating scene was not popping. If you’re single, I would highly suggest downloading some dating apps (Hinge, Tinder, Bumble) to figure out what potential partners are like in the area. It’s another way to figure out what there is to do in the city as well as being a way to meet new people and unwind after a long day at work. You’ll be working really, really hard when you’re auditioning and sometimes it’s nice to just be a real person over dinner and drinks. I was a serial dater and queued up 3 a week because I don’t believe in wasting time hahaha, and I’ll say that it worked out.

I hope you enjoyed this short and unconventional list about the other side of away rotations that no one ever talks about! Let me know in the comments below or on my Instagram what you did to get the most out of your aways!

– TS℞

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