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Location, Location, Location!

Benferguson72x721Ben Ferguson -- When I got up this morning to take the dog out, they were putting the wind chill at somewhere between 35- and 45-below. It’s another one of those beloved Chicago days that come around every so often when your lips go paralyzed within seconds, your hands aren’t as much cold as they are in stinging pain, and you worry that you’re going to pull a back muscle from shivering so much.

In other words, it’s fricking cold here.

Today is one of the days I wish I’d at least applied to some southern schools, or California schools, or schools around or on the Equator, or purchased that battery-powered heated jacket I saw in a magazine a few weeks ago. $600 for that jacket sounds downright cheap at this point.

A conversation I had with a doctor comes to mind. He was an alum of the lab I’d worked in for several months in college and had gone on to become a big-wig MD/PhD neurologist at a certain prestigious medical school in the great state of Missouri. For some reason, my research advisor, knowing I was planning to apply to medical school at the time, suggested I head down and pick his brain. It was a very thoughtful gesture. In the course of asking him what factors I should be considering when choosing schools to apply to, he said something that, given his prestigious position at one of the most highly-reputed schools in the country, surprised me a bit. He told me to ignore all other things except location.

“Location, location, location,” he said. “Medical schools all teach you the same thing: medicine. They have to. They’re required to, or they’ll either look bad or lose accreditation. The only difference is in how they teach it to you, which really is minor. The biggest difference is in where a school is and how much you like its surroundings. Pay attention to that more than anything.” While I absolutely love -- LOVE -- Chicago, mostly without regard to weather, I’d have to say he might be onto something on days like today.

Kendra wins.

January 25, 2008 in Ben Ferguson | Permalink


Ben, I'm at the same school as Kendra, and I'd trade you weather any day.

Posted by: Jared | Jan 25, 2008 11:17:14 AM

Jared, you are crazy! :) It's absolutely gorgeous here. Hot sometimes, but when the Sea is only a short trip away, you really can't complain. Having seen the med school equation from several sides now, I do agree with the neurologist. Yes, the curricula do vary from school to school, and there are many other differences. But you can't discount the impact that a student's motivation actually makes.

On the other side, some people will still judge you based on the name of the school on your diploma. So in that regard, Ben, you win. :) Just try and keep that in mind as you break the icicles off of your beard in the morning.

Posted by: Kendra | Jan 25, 2008 12:31:59 PM

No, I think in that regard, Thomas and the other Ben win. :) And I would break the icicles off, but my hands already fell off. I'm typing this with my chin.

Posted by: Ben | Jan 25, 2008 2:16:30 PM

I'm not sure what I am winning. I do know that Spokane (where I am this month) is a lot colder than Seattle (my home for the last 6 years) and my wife (from Hawaii) is quick to remind me of that! The moral for me is that your location is what you make it. It's up to you to make the grass greener on your side of the fence.

By the way, Ben. It's convenient that your hands fell off in the cold. Won't that give you more time to get to the hospital for surgical reattachment?

Posted by: Thomas | Jan 26, 2008 2:57:47 PM

Having spent 3 months of my life in Chicago made me realize the weatherin Portland, Oregon is not all that bad. Rain, rain and more rain. Have a water proof coat with a good hood, will travel.

Posted by: sarah | Jan 31, 2008 11:00:06 AM

It's the coldest here in the mideast as never before, about to snow here... anyway it keeps the minor cases (major headaches) away from the ED, some advantage...

Posted by: B not ben | Feb 3, 2008 5:34:59 AM

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