Well, it's been quite a 2011 (even though I did not post once during its entirety, ha!). I've had plenty of adventures, but of a different sort. Residency applications, interviews, The Match, letdown, scrambling, more interviews, and ultimately scoring a 2-year administrative residency in a large hospital system. I'm over 650 miles from where I've called home for the past 7 years, and I am so happy to be here!
Yes, I had to scramble, and don't get me wrong, the process was stressful. That fateful morning in March when the results came out I was shell-shocked. I had interviewed at 7 different sites, and ranked each and every one of them. With my GPA and involvement I was not supposed to be in the scramble group! But there I was. I had two choices - I could sit and sulk, or I could pick myself up and give it my all. After reaching out and weighing my options, I decided to pursue the position at my current site. I am immensely happy that I did - our organization is going through so many changes at the moment, and I will be able to witness all of them!
I've been in the position 6 months but have only gone on one trip in the area. It was a fun rafting excursion with some of my co-residents and it got my blood pumping for some whitewater. At the moment I've almost paid down all of my costs associated with moving and I decided that I will attempt something I've always wanted to do: get my private pilot's license (PPL).
Yup, in addition to hurling myself out of them, I'm now going to learn to fly the planes, too. After receiving a gift of my first lesson as a Christmas present from my girlfriend, I have plans to start lessons in March. I have a goal date of completing my license no later than the end of my residency (June 2013). Is it expensive? Yes. Can I do it? Yes. On a resident salary? Did you not hear me? I said yes!
To any of you reading this who might be turned off by the "low salary" of a resident, listen to this - I have been in the position for 6 months, pay approximately $1200//month in rent and utilities (by myself!), care for two dogs, have flown home twice (@ $350/flight! Expensive!), and I've paid down $7500 in debt. The residency only nets me $40k/year base, and it is certainly less than what I would be making had I gone with retail, but it is more than enough to get by on. To complete my goal of completing flight training, I need to put away $600/month. At my current rate this will be easy.
How on earth do I manage to do it? It's simple - maximize income and minimize expenses. I take a bag lunch to work every day ($1/meal vs. $5/meal) and eat out only on special occasions. My residency offers extra shifts at pharmacist rate (>$50/hr) but limits us to 16 hours/month. In search of other sources of income, I've turned to the local college of pharmacy. They have a tutoring program that pays exceptionally well ($30 or $50/hr, depending on the environment) and I have logged plenty of hours giving lectures and working one-on-one with students. Does it take effort? Yes. Is it easy? Not really, but I thrive on being busy and juggling multiple projects at once. But I'm in a position I love, am getting excellent career experience, and I'm still able to finance something I thought would have to wait until after residency! And did I mention I'm still contributing 5% to my 403(b), and have budgeted in paying down my loans?
So this was supposed to be about resolutions and the plan for 2012. Here they are in a nutshell:
Start flight training
Blog more (it should be easy when I start flying)
Exercise at least 3x/week, and involve the dogs
Finish paying off the debt from moving (should be done by next month)
Set aside $600/month to plan for flight training
Maintain 5% contribution to retirement
Use any remaining funds to pay down student loans
2012 is going to be a fun year, for sure!
3 months ago