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No Sleep 'til Brooklyn

Kendra_new_headshotKendra Campbell -- My mind is currently filled with an amalgamation of excitement, fear and a feeling of accomplishment. A few days ago I found out that I passed the USMLE Step 1 (yay!). That once seemingly huge and insurmountable obstacle is now nothing more than a blip on the radar screen behind me. For a few days, I basked in the satisfaction of having a profound sense of achievement.

Today, I took the final exam for my psych rotation. I can proudly say that I finished my first rotation in the States, and judging by the marks on my evaluation, I did an outstanding job. So, that is behind me now as well.

Just when I felt like I could let out a huge sigh of relief and sit back and relax, I had a bomb dropped on me. I’m currently living in Baltimore, Maryland, and had hoped to do all or most of my clinical rotations here. My school has affiliations with many different hospitals all over the country, and around five of them are in the Baltimore area. When I received the paperwork with my rotation schedule for the next nine months, all of the relief and relaxation made a furious exodus from my body, and was immediately replaced with fear and anxiety.

I found out that I was scheduled to begin a surgery rotation in Brooklyn, NYC in three weeks, and that I’d be spending almost a year finishing my rotations in Brooklyn and two other cities in NYC. There was a point in my life where this information would have made me immensely happy, but I’m not currently at that point. You see, my partner and I just recently moved into an apartment in Baltimore. All of my earthly belongings are here. And that’s not the bad part. My partner is starting a graduate art program at a local university just a few blocks away. His program begins in September, and lasts for two years. So, what this means is that he won’t be able to come with me to NYC. Not only that, but practically speaking, I won’t be able to bring either of my dogs to the city. In just a few weeks I’ll have to leave my partner, my dogs, my apartment, all of my friends and family, and most of my belongings behind.

I’m still in the midst of working with my advisor to get some of my rotations scheduled in this area, but I’m not sure if it’s going to work out. If it doesn’t, I will be spending anywhere from nine to seventeen months away from everything familiar to me.

There is a part of me that is very excited about this upcoming adventure, but another part of me is scared to death to leave my life behind. One of the reasons that I chose the school I’m attending is because I knew that it would involve a lot of travel. I got to live in a foreign country for almost two years, and I knew that my clinical rotations could be scheduled at many hospitals throughout the country. But I think I forgot to take into account the effect of having to be separated from my loved ones (partner and doggies!). I’m questioning whether the adventure of travel is worth the sacrifice of leaving my loved ones behind.

But, I know that I’m up to this, and that I have overcome many larger obstacles in the past. So, I will just keep telling myself that, as I pack a small portion of my belongings into my two pink suitcases and hop on the bus to Brooklyn to discover what lies ahead.

July 28, 2008 in Kendra Campbell | Permalink


I now it's scary and a little demoralizing at first, but I found that I was so busy with the hospital I didn't really think about it much. I was away from my family for almost two years. Can't believe I did it - glad it's over. I guess my bottom line is - it can be done. Keep your eyes on the goal and make sure you have a web cam. Also, AMTRAK is a releatively cheap and fun way to get between NYC and Baltimore.

Best of Luck!

Posted by: chip | Aug 6, 2008 8:15:22 AM

"two other cities in NYC"


Posted by: jp | Aug 8, 2008 4:07:10 AM

Hey Kendra,

Don't forget -that you do get a bit a say with Ross as long as you haven't signed the original schedule they gave you yet, you just have to really force it and you might have to wait a little while to start for something. Worse comes to worse you can always threaten to fly up there and work on your schedule. They hate having students visit the office.

Good luck,

Posted by: irene | Aug 8, 2008 6:04:34 PM

I've been apart from my boyfriend for all of third year. He and I chose to be at different hospitals so we could live at home as a way to save money. Being apart from each other was hard sometimes, but we'd try to see each other on weekends if we could. If we couldn't, it wasn't the end of the world because we were both busy in rotations. When you start your surgery rotation, you'll see that you won't have too much time to yourself, and you will be so busy working and studying that the time will pass quickly. But try to see each other when you can, talk when you can, and realize that it's only one year and NYC and Baltimore aren't that far apart.

Posted by: Stephanie | Aug 12, 2008 3:45:47 PM

I feel for you, Kendra! I am studying medicine in Australia and left my family and friends behind in Canada. It is so hard, but like you, I too have my partner and dog with me. That makes it so much easier, but I am wondering what will be sprung on me for my 3rd and 4th year rotations. It is very possible that I could be in your position. Change is always hard. It is nice to know there are other women in medicine out there going through the same hardships. Love your blog!

Posted by: Laura | Aug 14, 2008 12:03:34 AM

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