Friday, October 19, 2007

Money - It's a Gas

Part of the process of applying for residencies requires you to spend money. Money on travel, hotels, and rental cars/ cabs. All of this comes at quite a price, especially to those lucky enough to have to apply to more than one residency (like me) as well as the fact that this is all done during the holiday travel season and prices soar.

Because medical students are already walking the financial tightrope there are loans out there for travel as well as relocation expenses. These are private loans that can be deferred during residency and a lot of students take them out in order to interview at enough spots to increase their chances of matching. Many students take out between $2,000 - $7,000, but a student I spoke with last year told me that she needed over $10,000 to interview! Without it she wouldn't have matched - lots of flying in December apparently.

So I've been trying to obtain one recently from various lenders and have been turned down repeatedly. Apparently they consider the fact that I have a large amount of debt including some from credit cards (alright – a lot of credit card debt) and tuck tail and run from this credit nightmare known as MSG. So I've been pulling my hair out trying to think what to do and what my best options include. Of course there’s the option to just get a cosigner, but that’s just so demoralizing.

Here I am, almost 30 years old, less than 7 months away from being called “doctor” and I still have to call mommy and daddy for help. Embarrassing and irritating all at once. I wonder if other students have had this trouble. If I’m not able to get a loan I’m going to be very limited in where I can apply and basically run the risk of “suicide matching*”.

So now I'm just going to have to bite the bullet, call up my parents, and ask for some help. Up till now I've been able to do everything on my own and this just hurts the ol' pride a little. But it's necessary, so I need to get over it.

*Term used by med students and residents when talking about interviewing at 3 or fewer programs. The more you interview at and rank the better your chances to match – law of probabilities.


Old MD Girl said...

That sucks MSG. I hate the idea of asking my parents for money. It'll probably be better than taking out more private loans though.

Do you know anything about the proposed legislation that is allegedly going to limit deferment of loans during residency? I heard something about that recently and wondered whether it was true.

The Lone Coyote said...

You are not alone. The whole thing is infuriating on many levels. And, like so much else in medical school, it makes the process even more onerous for students from families without the means to help them out with interview costs.

I had not heard about that proposed legislation, but I really hope it is not going to happen.

The Girl said...

That is really rough. I don't know what your parents are like, but I can understand that it must be very hard to ask them for money like this.

Me, I have no pride. I have already started to drop hints to my parents about potentially needing help by fourth year. I would rather ask for help than lose my house, and Mum and Dad are easy-going. But my husband's parents - there is NO WAY I would consider even asking them. I would have to pay back much more than the money.

It is a tough prospect.

J said...

At least your parents will help you, embarrassing as it is to ask. When my husband was finishing med school, we didn't have any family we could go to for help. We managed, somehow.

And just think - if you go on to fellowship, you get to pay for all the travel for interviewing again...

Good luck, hang in there, and all that.

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