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Navigating Residency in a New City: Reflections from an Out of State Pharmacy Resident

April 08, 2024

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Graphic including an image of Teresa Tran and a quote

P.S.: Tips for the big move

Although it’s a cliché, one of the most helpful stress relievers is to plan early!

The biggest factors I considered during my search were location, convenience and budget. If you can take a physical tour, I would highly recommend it as many cities and places are not what they seem online. Also, better options may not show up through an online search. Convenience considerations include a furnished vs. unfurnished rental, inclusion of internet service, garage vs. street parking, and proximity to grocery stores and other basic essentials. The few weeks prior to starting residency can be a really busy time, so if you can plan moving logistics in advance, that would help a bunch!
By Teresa Tran

I was born, raised and completed my education in Seattle, Wash. So, when I found out I matched with Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center for a pharmacy residency, my first thought was: How will I successfully make this transition to Portland?

When I first considered places to complete a residency, one of the biggest reasons for choosing a program out of state was for personal growth, including the challenge of living in a new environment. I knew that a residency would be a good opportunity to leave my hometown and learn more about myself, as well as push me to truly be independent for the first time.

At the start, I felt great. I spent time with my co-residents, enjoyed the warm weather and liked the newness of having my own living space. After a few weeks, the excitement started to dim and the loneliness kicked in. I tried to fill the void by keeping myself occupied with rotations and studying for exams. As summer ended, my friends and family came to visit me. It was during these visits that I realized I was trying so incredibly hard to be independent that I had forgotten the value of maintaining relationships with the people I cared about most. It was a good reminder that leaning on people for support does not make people less independent but gives them the courage and motivation to overcome challenges.

I was excited to explore Portland. Contrary to how I envisioned, I quickly learned that I naturally did not like doing things on my own and much preferred to experience things with another person. I took this as an opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and take the initiative to invite my co-residents to meet outside of work. We quickly bonded over stressors and supported each other through our board exams. I cannot imagine this year without them.

As residency related responsibilities started to pick up, I found myself falling behind on house chores. I was frustrated because I was not taking care of myself in the way I had glamorously imagined I would. I felt as though I was failing to maintain the work-life balance residents collectively work to achieve. But in these moments, I reminded myself that residency is hard and that mopping the floors at home can wait until tomorrow. Getting an extra hour of sleep/time for myself was more important. Residency is undeniably challenging: Be gracious to yourself and try to rest when you can.

Residency has not only helped me grow professionally but also personally as I navigate and reflect on my life here in Portland. I have lived in Portland for more than half a year so far. The street names are becoming familiar and I can now drive to the grocery store without Google Maps. Some days are better than others, but I am enjoying the journey and striving to make the most of my time here. I am so incredibly thankful for the endless support at Legacy Health, not only regarding my residency training but also with many aspects outside of it as well.

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