A Day in the Life of a PGY-2 Resident
The bulk of my upbringing was spent in Amityville, NY - a town known for the Amityville Horror House and less for the redlining which caused disparities in health outcomes, economic and educational opportunities. Keenly aware of the wealth and opportunity gap at 16 years old, I penned an article for my school newspaper entitled “Miles Away but Worlds Apart.” My Colombian immigrant father instilled in me a will-to-persevere no matter our geo-socioeconomic positioning. Determined to realize my potential, I studied Biology and Political Science at SUNY Stony Brook, while working 2-3 part time jobs, rehearsing in Marching/Pep Band and volunteering on an emergency response team. My gap years were spent working as a legal assistant and paralegal in Mortgage Default on the side of Big Banks. I quickly realized I was on the wrong side of my moral compass and was energized by the prospect of combining my interests in science and law to address societal ills from the lens of a physician-advocate.
Why I Chose Yale
As 1 of 2 self-identifying Latinx individuals in my medical school class fiercely committed to DEI efforts, I was drawn to Yale Psych’s commitment to same as reflected by their recruitment of a residency class with 8 Black residents and a thriving Black resident, fellow, and attending affinity group (YSCFA)! After meeting like-minded minoritized trainees during my interview day, I realized that I was amongst a collective of supportive residents, equally devoted to uplifting one another and fellow marginalized members of the greater New Haven community. This, combined with the Social Justice and Health Equity Curriculum and prospect of pursuing service-learning via CASE left me convinced that I would be supported in my desire to effect change for my patients beyond the frame of our clinical encounters.
Like Stephanie, I have mastered maximizing sleep, while making it to our various clinical sites in record speed. Depending on the rotation, I awake in time to catch a ride with a co-resident on their way to the West Haven VA. I am currently on my Emergency Psychiatry rotation at the VA where I work in an interdisciplinary team of APRNs, Social Workers, Mental Health Associates, and various rotating trainees (medical students, SW, psychology post-docs). At 8 am we run the patient list, then divide to re-assess the patients and see new patients as they enter the Psychiatric and Medical ER. In between seeing patients, documenting, making collateral calls, helping to coordinate care, I enjoy catching up with fellow trainees over peer supervision and joy rounds. By 4 pm, I am signing out patients to the incoming ED team and weighing taking the Yale shuttle home vs carpooling with another resident.
On Tuesdays, we have a half day of protected time for didactics and class-wide meetings with our PD. We also have Long Term Care Clinic therapy patients, who we see during protected time from clinical duties. These are Yale graduate students who we meet with weekly for psychodynamic therapy starting in the PGY-2 year and will continue to work with across the next few years! It is an opportunity to start learning therapy early with close supervision from a psychodynamic-oriented clinician.
Where I Live
I live in Wooster Square about 1.2 miles from the Yale New Haven Hospital in a 2 bedroom. One room is inhabited by my collection of indoor plants. I am one block from Wooster Square Park where many residents meet for impromptu hangouts. It is also an opportunity to admire the array of dogs that frequent the park. During the spring and summer, we enjoy fresh bagels, coffee, and fruits at the Farmer’s Market just down the block from the park. As a New Yorker-turned-Chicago transplant, I am not moved by the pizza here but on occasion will share a pie of Pepe’s or Zenelli’s while spending time with co-residents or family.
My Favorite Thing to do in/around New Haven
Stephanie and I have gone on many impromptu jaunts in and around New Haven: field trips to various plant shops, bubble tea walks, ice cream runs, new restaurants, pet stores, beaches, etc. There is still so much left to do.
Whatever Stephanie said. I am kidding. Trust your judgement, acknowledge your relative privilege, and remain grounded in the Match process, realizing that no matter where you land, you will receive quality education and have the distinct honor of leaving a lasting impact on many as a budding psychiatrist.
I am a Chinese-American, second-generation immigrant. I was born and raised in the Midwest and spent much of my childhood in the suburbs of Indiana. I struggled to find a sense of belonging growing up; it wasn't until I left for college that I began to grow into myself. I always imagined myself a starving artist, thinking I might work in animation or illustration, but found myself taking a different path in college. Through my art courses, I was introduced to the question of visual representation of psychological trauma, and this has captured my imagination since. My interest in childhood and complex trauma and desire to work with women with histories of sexual trauma, led me to medical school. At my core, I remain energized by art: art influences my vision of how we can cultivate a radical pedagogy and decolonized worldview. Art has been my tool for cultivating anti-racist practices. Art ultimately led me to psychiatry, the most creative, ambiguous, compassionately curious field within medicine.
Why I Chose Yale
The residents that I met during my interview day were lovely and visibly loved on each other. I could see myself here, with these people who care so much. Many residents are deeply engaged in social justice and activism, and these are the kinds of people I wanted to be inspired by and journey with. There is the Social Justice Health Equity Curriculum that builds along multiple tracks all 4 years: structural competency, the human experience, and advocacy. Art as a tool for activism is part of our didactics! The flexibility of the schedule (1 month of PREP in PGY-1, and 3 months of CASE in PGY-2) allows everyone here to pursue their passions outside of clinical work. New Haven is also close to New York City, which makes for an easy weekend trip.
I spent the first three months of PGY-2 year on my CASE rotation. This time belongs to you! This is a rotation where you have the opportunity to work on a research project of your choosing, and research can truly be anything! Since engaging with visual art is one of my greatest joys, I chose to spend these months developing and leading an arts-based therapy group on the inpatient young adult unit at Yale Psychiatric Hospital. I also took time during the summer to vacation to Greece with fellow co-residents. The rest of the year I will be rotating with the Consult Liaison teams, the psychiatric ED, addictions, and geriatrics units, and at the Connecticut Mental Health Center, which is a community mental health center.
Where I Live
I live in Downtown, New Haven, in an apartment within 5-min walking distance from the main hospital building. I don't have a car, and I enjoy snoozing my alarm one too many times in the morning, so this has worked out well for me. I’m a short walk to the main hospital, to St. Raphael's campus (where I did one month of CL), and to CMHC. There's a lot of graduate students, medical students, and medical providers who live in my building.
My Favorite Thing to do in/around New Haven
Sharing space with my co-residents. Picking up breakfast sandwiches or bagels and walking over to my co-residents' apartments, where we will sip on home-made lattes, taking care of one another through food and friendship. The Downtown is very walkable with so many restaurants to try. The Yale University Art Gallery and the Yale Center for British Art have wonderful collections, and there's a thriving arts scene in the community. I grew up in a land-locked state, and here I get to enjoy close proximity to the ocean.
Residency can be emotionally and physically taxing. Hold onto your passions and things that bring you joy as this could be the fuel that propels you through the tougher days.