A Day in the Life of a PGY-2/NRTP Resident


My Background

Hi, I’m Youngsun, and I am a second-year psychiatry resident at Yale. I grew up in upstate New York, outside of Rochester. I attended MIT for college, and then the University of Rochester for an MD/PhD degree. I was initially attracted to psychiatry because I had an interest in behavior through acting in college. As medical school continued, I also became interested in the brain. For my dissertation, I examined the neuroanatomy of amygdala circuits, and additionally used fMRI to examine circuits involved in reward processing in adults and adolescents. Throughout medical school and graduate school, I also worked in a mental health clinic for uninsured patients. I am very excited to begin to combine clinical and research interests and duties during residency!

Why I Chose Yale

Yale offered everything I was looking for in a training program. I wanted experience with a variety of patients and systems of care, and Yale was one of the few programs that had a VA hospital, a state hospital, and a standalone psychiatric hospital. The curriculum was flexible, and I was really impressed by the CASE (Clinical and Academic Skills Enhancement) rotation. CASE is a 3 month rotation in second year during which you can work on any project of your choice. This is a huge amount of time early in residency, and is for every resident, not just research track residents. Because Yale has a huge psychiatry department with faculty that have a diverse range of academic interests, mentorship can be found for nearly any type of project. The research done in the psychiatry and neuroscience departments are some of the best in the country. Finally, and most importantly, the faculty and residents I met during my interviews were kind, encouraging and intelligent. I remember feeling as though I would be supported throughout my residency.

My Schedule

I started my second year with 3 months of CASE, which I requested, in order to start my research and spend time with my family. The next three months will be spent on an inpatient rotation at the Clinical Neuroscience Research Unit (CNRU) at Connecticut Mental Health Center (CMHC). Then I will do geriatrics and substance abuse rotations at the VA Hospital, and finish by working on the consult and emergency services, also at the VA Hospital.

Life as a Second Year Resident

So far my second year is going great. I typically start doing independent work (reading, writing, etc.) around 9am at home. Then I head out for lecture around 11am. The lectures have included topics such as On-Call psychiatry and psychopharmacology. This week we have started a special set of lectures called “Brain Camp” that are given by expert faculty and cover various neurobiologic topics and systems. In two weeks we will start "Mind Camp", which will cover the various psychotherapies. Following the end of lecture at 1pm, I typically have a meeting related to my CASE project, or continue to do independent work until around 5 PM. The rest of the evening is spent with family.

Where I Live

I live in downtown New Haven, and am very happy where I live. I am about a 15-20 minute walk to Yale-New Haven Psychiatric Hospital, Yale-New Haven Hospital, and Connecticut Mental Health Center. I am about a 10-minute drive to the VA Hospital in West Haven.

My Favorite New Haven Restaurants and Cultural Activities

My family and I have become regulars at Seoul restaurant (Korean food) and Thali restaurant (Indian food). We also like to go to Bar and eat pizza and play pool. On weekends, we like to walk around New Haven and duck into the coffee shops and stores. Yale also has an amazing art museum that is free and is a great place to spend a relaxing weekend day.

Final Thoughts

In addition to the many exciting opportunities Yale offers for personal exploration and growth, I was thrilled to discover that my co-residents are amazing, talented and thoughtful people who eagerly support one another. They have made a huge impact on my experience in residency so far, and I have truly loved working with them!