As I began the interview process, I had a few things that I was looking for in a program: good people, great training, work-life balance, and a convenient location.
I ranked WashU number one on my list because it was truly the only program that offered all of these things. I met a lot of great people along the interview trail but WashU was one of the only places where I engaged in normal conversations with residents, where the topics were not all about the program specifics. I have made some of the best friends I have ever had during residency, and met some of the nicest humans I have ever known.
In addition to the benevolent environment this program has to offer, WashU provides a truly well-rounded clinical experience and curriculum. Going through training, I have already noticed the growing confidence within myself when handling difficult situations. Starting off with our transitional intern year, I really got to know the hospital well and made many great friends along the way in other specialties. In addition to the wonderful colleagues/friends I have met, the attendings here are supportive, nurturing, and excellent educators. The WashU culture and dedication to education, hard work, and most importantly camaraderie, is unparalleled.
Work-life balance is another thing that was extremely important to me when choosing a program. I definitely got a sense of how social the program is from my interview but I had no idea the extent of it until I came here. The monthly happy hours alone sold me! But then you start attending the program’s other events like the fall gala (a very fancy black tie affair) and you realize that you are in great company. Everyone enjoys their lives just as much as they enjoy their work, and it is a beautiful thing!
And lastly, one thing that was really important for me was location in relation to my hometown of Nashville, TN. I wanted to ability to either take a direct flight home (which is possible because St. Louis airport is a Southwest hub) or be able to drive there in less than a day if I needed to. I knew very little about St. Louis initially so I asked a lot of questions during the interview, but generally you will hear the same great things—affordable place to live, good food, etc.
When I matched here, I started getting nervous about moving to St. Louis as I had only ever lived in big cities in the east coast and the south. Living in a smaller midwestern city was going to be an entirely new experience for me. In bigger cities, people say there is “always something to do.” Living in St. Louis, you find unique things to do and this has really diversified my experiences and interests. Another thing that scared me was the misconception that everyone is married/has kids here. I came here with no kids and unmarried and am having a great time!
WashU has offered me all these things and more (things I did not even know I wanted in a program until I was here)! Whether you want to go into academics, pursue further specialization via fellowship, or go straight into private practice, the department will support and help you achieve your goals. I have made lifelong friendships here and have come to really enjoy the city of St. Louis!