Thursday, January 27, 2005

Ramblings about school and such

(the rambling about knitting will come later tonight - with, hopefully, pictures)

The ekg exam is over - and I'd guess how I did but how I think it went and how I did usually don't line up very well. (meaning that I can leave an exam thinking I did wonderful only to then find out that I've just passed, and vice versa) The general thinking of our class was that it wasn't as easy as we thought it'd be, and there were a few zingers. I agree with that, but thought most of it was pretty straight forward (which, again, doesn't mean anything in terms of my final grade).

It started snowing again yesterday afternoon and as a result I left early so I could travel home in what was left of the daylight. I live 25-30 minutes north of school and travel on the interstate; there were two cars off the road at different points, and three "unmarked" state trooper cars went flying by with their lights on, presumably to head to another accident. I was glad to get home and come inside but the first email I read was from the city, letting me know that a parking ban was in place for the night. I grumbled and went out to move my car from it's perfect parking spot (in what was left of the fading natural light) and then came in to settle in for the night.

I've had my eye on a few things lately (knitting things and board review things are good examples) but needed to sit down and figure out how my finaces looked for the rest of the term.

Medical students are students - and our tution isn't cheap. I've been lucky enough to qualify for a state program that helps students who want to stay and practice in-state (something I will do, at least for a little while) and a few primary care loans (hence my thinking of a double residency in family practice/NMM) but even those sources are loans that I'll need to pay back at some point. (though they do have the potential to be "forgiven" if I stay in primary care and/or in state) I also have government loans - both subsidized and unsubsidized, and loans that still stand from my undergraduate years. I am in a better place then some of my classmates who have taken out private, high interest loans, but I still am going to owe an awful lot when I'm done!

Part of my loan money comes directly to me, as a "living disbursement." The ammount depends on the year, how many months we're actually in class (we are not allotted money for the time we have "off") and what our travel expenses, cost of living, etc should be. I got a check at the start of the term that will last me through till August; but I hadn't yet sat down and figured out how much of it is already earmarked.

A change from last year is that I am now paying for my own health insurance. I turned 25 in December of last year, and no longer qualify as a dependent under my dad's health plan. I opted to use the COBRA plan because it's reasonable (after shopping around for a comperable plan that includes dental and eye coverage) and it means I can keep my current doctor and know that I am covered. This new expense takes out a large chunk of what used to be "misc. money." I'm not complaining, because I know how important insurance is! but between it and the car expenses, I'm going to need to keep track of where my money is going. (it looks like I have a lot of money in the bank right now, but by the time I figure six months rent/utilities/etc it works out to be just enough with a little left over.) Now, my poor secret pal could be reading this thinkng that I'm going to flake out and claim "poor student syndrome" but not to worry, it won't happen. I signed up knowing what was entailed, and will follow through, trust me.

It does mean, however, that I need to stop searching for glorious wool yarns and books for myself. I can still have fun looking, but aside from a few purchases (a pattern or a set of needles I don't have) I'm on a knitting diet. If my budget shapes up then I'll be able to enjoy the month of July (last month without classes/school commitments for the next few years) by traveling and knitting and it will all be worth it.

Someday I will be a doctor, and my loans will be paid off/forgiven and I'll be able to enjoy an income and all the benefits that come with it, but until then (or until my next disbursement in August) I will continue to live the life of a student. (and I say that gratefully because I've witnessed many med school interviews going on this week and I'm already a year and a half into my training; I won't have to pay rent next year (clerkship housing is provided) and will be able to put that money back into my "misc fund" and I have a credit card with no outstanding balance that I can use, if needed. Life is good - it's not complaing, just putting it in writing so I remember that I need to oggle and drool and then walk away from the yarn!)

(knitting content later!)

3 Comments:

Blogger margene said...

Kristen...thanks for taking the time to comment today. I love your life story! Congratulations on your quest to become and Dr. and I have no doubt you will be successful.

1:57 PM  
Blogger Alice said...

Kristen - I'm so glad you posted about the sticky money subject. I'm on loans too, and it's definitely an obstacle to knitting everything drool-worthy. As far as knitting-on-a-budget, Elann is great for discount yarn (as long as one doesn't get addicted), and I really love my Denise Interchangeable Needles for any size greater than US 7. Hope your exam results turn out well!

4:40 PM  
Blogger Lorette said...

Just remember it ends soon enough. At the time it seems like it will be forever, but it isn't. I lived on beans and rice and bulgur wheat for several years and claimed I was a vegetarian...it was just that huge bags of pinto beans are very cheap! We also knew about every restaurant in town that you could get cheap food.

9:10 PM  

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