This year our school is trying a new system that enables the 2nd year students a lot of freedom and flexibility in scheduling our third year classes. Every three days or so, the computer system opens up at noon sharp and we're allowed to register for one more class. I like it because it makes me feel like I have some small amount of agency in my future, even though once I get to each rotation I will have no control over what hospital I'm assigned to, no idea what is going on or what I'm supposed to be doing, and I expect to feel exasperated at how little control I will have over my day to day life. But picking exactly when I will be frustrated and confused in surgery vs when I will be frustrated and confused in pediatrics is kind of refreshing.
The problem is, every person has heard from some other older and wiser student what the "perfect" schedule is, and thus half of the class is trying to schedule a rotation during one time slot. I think that 1/4 to 1/2of my class wants to do Medicine-Pediatrics-Surgery-Break-Neuro-Family-Med Subspecialty-Ob/Gyn-Psych. About 10% of people say they don't care the order of their classes (and I beleive them) and 40% say that they don't care the order of their classes, but still have suspiciously enviable schedules which testify to their presence in front of the computer at noon whenever registration opens...ie they're either lucky or they're ashamed of admitting that they too are neurotic and obsessive. I am in the 50% that admits freely that I care what schedule I have and so I stake out a computer to try to be the first one logged on to grab a spot in a class before it disappears. It's not personal, it's business.
Here are my thoughts and dreams re: my schedule for next year:
I opted for surgery just before winter break because I want to have three weeks to sleep after taking call on the trauma service. I know that I want to be a surgeon, so I don't want to do that rotation first when I am bright green and an idiot. I am taking medicine just before surgery because I hope to still have some retained knowledge from studying for my USMLE, but I didn't want to start with it because my summer is only 6 days long this year and I wanted a mental break scheduled in there.
I want to take psych just after the holidays, because I think I can have the optimal number of crazy people after they've just spent an extended period of time dealing with their inlaws. I don't have any proof, but I highly suspect that the psych ward will be busy after Christmas. Scheduling that would leave a spot for ObGyn just before spring break. I anticipate needing a vacation very, very badly after ObGyn.
In the end, I'm not sure that the order will really make any difference in my performance. I have no real idea what I'll be doing at any given time during next year, but I'm looking forward to a hell of a ride.
On a separate note, I think that NBC online is out to ruin me. Last night I watched 30Rock for the first time (with the intention of only one episode)... I ended up watching seven and overslept Sunday school this morning. I still went down for the last ten minutes and to get a donut because Sundays are the only days when I'm allowed to eat Donuts. For more about church donuts: