Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Home Is Where the Heart Is

As many of you know, Ben will start residency next year. I get lots of questions on where we are going, so I thought I'd do a quick post about how residency will change our lives over the next year and a half.

Ben is going to be a radiation oncologist. This specialty requires the resident to complete a one year transitional or surgical program that is followed by four years of radiation oncology residency. Luckily for us, radiation oncology residents do not have quite the same crazy life as some residents. It won't necessarily be an easy life, but it should not require quite as much as some other programs do.

Ben has been interviewing at a variety of transitional/surgical year programs and radiation oncology programs. All of the transitional/surgical year programs are in Wisconsin, with the exception of one in the Chicago area. This will make it a little easier on us since I still have a year and a half left of law school. During my last year of school, we will both most likely be in Wisconsin. Ben's interviewed at a few different places in Milwaukee (about 1.5 hours away) and has interviews coming up in La Crosse and in Marshfield (each is about 3 hours away). I'm not sure exactly how we're going to do it, but I will probably take a significantly reduced class load during my last semester and spend part of my time in whatever city Ben is in. The fall semester might be a bit difficult, but we'll make it. 

Once I graduate and Ben finishes his transitional year, we will head to the city of Ben's residency. Right now, there are many potential options. These are the options and my thoughts about each one. 

Madison, WI
    We're already here, so that would make this choice super easy. We've got lots of friends here, own a house here, and we know we like living here.
    Baltimore, MD
    Close enough to DC that I might get a chance to work in the federal government. I'm a little concerned about the safety of the city, but I hear they have some of the best crab cakes in the country. 
    St. Louis, MO
    Another easy choice since I would love to be closer to family, and the Central West End would be a fantastic place to live. I would be a little worried about making friends in StL since all of our school friends are gone, but I've never had a problem before.   
    New York, NY
    If we are ever going to get out of the Midwest, now's the time. I loved visiting last year and I have plenty of friends in the city.  
    San Francisco, CA
    Same note on the Midwest, plus the weather is better. I'm not sure how I feel about living in California, but I'll give anything a try. It would be cool to be closer to Ben's brothers and there are so many wonderful food/wine/entertainment options.
    Palo Alto, CA
    Pretty much the same thing I said about San Francisco. 
    Ann Arbor, MI
    I'm not sure how Ben feels about this one, but I do not think it's at the top of my list. I don't really want to compete with a bunch of Michigan Law School grads for a job in a small economy, plus Michigan is kind of cold. 
    Rochester, MN
    I know that Ben likes Rochester because Mayo is such a good research institution. If there's a chance I can find a good job, then I'd be okay living here. It's about the same distance away from the family as I am now, but we don't have a built in infrastructure of friends here.
      Dallas, TX
     This is pretty much the only truly warm locale on the list, plus I hear Dallas has a booming downtown. I'd be perfectly happy trying out this city. 

Ultimately, home is where the heart is and we'll do our best no matter where we land. 

Note: All images are linked to the source where I found them.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Queen of Mediocrity

I actually wrote the other post from today a couple days ago, but I was having problems posting...so you get a bonus post today. Will you accept two for one as repayment for my failure to blog for months? Even if you won't, I can't change the past...so moving forward...

I'm in the midst of writing my law review paper. It is, of course, taking longer than I expected. I really enjoy writing, but I am not passionate about the topic I chose. I am arguing that the State of Wisconsin should require district attorneys to publish goals, priorities, and performance measurements to increase accountability. It's not that it's a really bad topic; it's generally a novel proposal and there's enough meat to create a 30-pager. However, I don't really know how timely or relevant it is.  Oh well . . . I don't have to write an award winning paper, and lots of academic writing is boring.  But, how do you even find a topic you're passionate about?

Is anyone else jealous of the stick-to-it passion other people have? For example, my old roommate Amber does everything she does with passion. She plays her violin and ultimate frisbee with gusto; she wins paddle and portage competitions and takes cross country skiing to the max. I feel like I'm always searching for a new passion. I take a new hobby up for a couple days, weeks or months and then get bored.

  • I learned to play Oh When the Saints Go Marching In on the harmonica and that was more than enough for me.
  • I've attempted to take up knitting at least 5 times - I'm currently on a streak that has involved knitting every few days for more than 2 weeks which is my longest streak yet. 
  • I loved acting in high school (and would probably still love it) but I'm always intimidated by the ridiculous time commitment.
  • I've learned basic Spanish vocabulary more than once.
  • I go through cooking spells where I bake or cook really difficult and tasty dishes, and then I eat at Taco Bell for months because I don't want to be exhausted by the cooking.
  • I biked the MS-150 and then stopped exercising for months.
  • I have at least 3 unfinished sewing projects in my basement.  
Is this adult onset ADD? I sometimes feel like I am the queen of mediocrity - I can do just about anything, but I never have enough passion for any one thing to inspire me to dedicate myself to excellence. I'm torn between embracing this jack of all trades mentality and really craving the exhilaration of being focused on excelling at one thing.

This whole topic also has me a little concerned about what I want out of my law degree. I'm excited about working at a firm this summer, but I have no idea if I really want to pursue a traditional law career. I also know that I am capable of excelling, but I know that the cost of excelling at work will probably mean of loss of time to discover my passion(s).

Does anyone else have this problem? Has anyone else overcome this problem? What did you do or are you doing?

It's Been Too Long

The last time I posted was in July 2010. It’s January 2011. Oops!
Well, the last year was busy with so much boring stuff that I saw very little nonsense. From August until December, school took up more of life than it should have. I’ll never take 17 credits again. In addition to classes, I edited for the Gender Journal and have been writing and cite-checking for the Law Review. I also participated in Mock Trial – we went to Chicago in November. This was followed by exams.

Winter Break
Once exams were over, I enjoyed Christmas with Ben, my parents, sister and extended family in Missouri. Dad & Ben finished a bottle of scotch with minimal help from Mom and me on Christmas Eve – bad plan: we should have kept drinking to help the guys drink through the hangover. I also got to see my old friends Jama & Sarah for the first time in a long time.
Then, we headed to Phoenix to visit Ben’s family. There was just a little bit of ridiculousness there. Ben’s parent’s bought a home in retirement community—Leisure World. I kid you not. Even better than that…Grandma, who is in her late 80s, calls it Seizure World. I had lovely Mexican Wedding Cake cookies, good dinners, and plenty of time to relax.
I knitted a scarf…now I just have to figure out how to get it off the needles! And, went on a hike in the Superstition Mountains. Over this break, I exercised a couple times, I gambled at the casino with Mom & Dad, I read the book Room, and I’ve cooked and baked a lot.

The New Year
My winter break’s been pretty good. Here’s hoping that there will be more nonsense this year…or perhaps, the same amount of nonsense that I take a little more time to notice. Everyone seems to make New Year’s resolutions, so I figure I should too.
My resolutions:
I will have more fun this year.
I will devote more time to myself this year.
I will expect less of myself. (I have a problem with perfection…)