During my final rotation, I had an awesome attending who would introduce me to his patients and proudly inform them that I was about to “walk the line.” On Friday June 8th, I walked it, and even though my diploma is dated April 30th, I don’t think I really felt like I’d made it through med school until that ceremony. It was often fun and fascinating but med school was never easy. If anyone were to ask me what my advice would be to the students just donning their waist-length white coats, I’d tell them these three things: (more…)
Posted tagged ‘The Match’
Although this week is designated as Match Week, I came to realize how different days are significant for different students. For Match participants from on-shore schools, it’s practically a foregone conclusion that one will receive an email of congratulations so the celebrations take part today. For my classmates, myself and thousands of other off-shore medical students and IMGs, Monday was the day of destiny.
I was thrilled to learn that so many of my friends and classmates successfully matched this year. Today is a tad anticlimactic, though it has been exciting to learn where everyone will be headed in July. My own destination isn’t exactly the one I expected but I’m certainly pleased to have matched to an excellent university program (at a beautiful children’s hospital!). It would have been nice to be a little closer to Queens but I’ve never let a little homesickness hold me back.
I’m still a bit in shock from all that has transpired this week but maybe that’s just part of this delirium of happiness I’m experiencing. I’m going to be a pediatrician! What an achievement.
A curious thought has been plaguing me since the NRMP deadline passed a week ago. On the website, the explanation for why it takes approximately 3 weeks to announce the matches details the things the folks over at NRMP are doing behind the scenes, which include:
- Checking the integrity and completeness of the data.
- Transferring the data to the algorithm module, checking it again, and processing the matching algorithm.
- Verifying the results of the Match and transferring the data into the NRMP databases.
- Conducting the Match Week Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP).
- Creating more than 60,000 individual reports for applicants, programs, and schools, and assuring confidentiality of that information; the reports are then posted to the Web in accordance with the Match Week schedule.
Instead of thinking ‘hmmm, that is a bunch of stuff’ and reminding myself to be patient, my mind focused in on the part about running the algorithm. Once all the data is transferred to algorithm mode, shouldn’t it only take seconds to run it? Once it’s run, my fate (at least for the next 3 years) will be decided. But I’ll still have to wait until 1 pm Eastern time on March 16th to find out (funny how my mind has taken for granted that I will match, when that is anything but certain).
3 2.5 weeks has never seemed so far away!
Meanwhile, come Monday, I will be a mere 7 weeks from fulfilling the clinical sciences requirement of my medical school education. After I finish the final week of my psych core, I’m off to Chicago for a 2-week peds elective (yes, 2 week electives can be done if you schedule them yourself, apparently) and after that, I’ll be heading down to Augusta, GA for 4 weeks of otolaryngology. Being so close to the end is really exciting but also very strange. Will I really know enough to be able to be an awesome resident by the later half of April? And what if I don’t match? I guess I’ve got a superstitious streak as well, because I worry that by acknowledging how close I am to completion (or being overly happy about it), I’m going to somehow jinx myself into not being able to finish. Anything can happen in 7 weeks, right? Or maybe psych has brought out some schizotypal traits in me. In any case, please send your encouragement, support and good vibes my way and let’s hope this 医者の卵 doesn’t have to scramble.
After I spent all weekend growing more and more comfortable with the idea of residency at program number 2, I receive an email informing me that their committee has decided not to offer any prematch contracts this year.Translation: Psych! What the huh? Why even bring up prematching in the first place if the committee didn’t intend to do it? The email went on to say something very tepid about how happy they’d be to see my name on their matched list in March but I’m a little skeptical about their sincerity at this point. I still like the program but perhaps other programs are more deserving of its spot on my list? I guess we’ll see how things pan out on Match Day.
Yesterday marked the end of the interview season for me and I could not be more relieved. After visiting 15 places over 12 weeks, I could hardly distinguish one program from another. Some had friendlier faculty, some had tastier lunches; some had nicer NICUs, some boasted better benefits. Even as I neared the end, I couldn’t help but wonder how I was going to be able to make my Rank Order List based on half-day snapshots of programs on their best behaviors. I knew which places were going to be at the bottom of my ROL (often before the interview day was even over) but the trouble now was deciding which should be at the top. Should I give more weight to university programs or community-based programs, free-standing children’s hospitals or hospitals within hospitals, programs closer to Queens or programs further from home? Was a “good feeling” enough to push a smaller, less prestigious program ahead of one with a better reputation? Do I have to be at an institution that does ECMO? What about salary? What about fellowship placements? What about availability of eligible bachelors? How could I make a decision about not only a 3-year commitment but possibly the course of my future based on such limited information?
A peculiar thing happened after I received my first invitation to interview for residency. Watching the sun set over Brooklyn on a J train headed into Jamaica Center, I decided to check my email and there it was, waiting in my professional inbox – the possibility of a PL-1 position in the University at Buffalo’s pediatric residency program. Initially, I was dumbfounded and then, elated (I printed out the email and stuck it on the refrigerator) but then, doubts began to set in (it’s just an interview; scores of other applicants were invited for only 17 spots, what if I fail CK and they rescind the invitation? Why on Earth would they want me???) and then, I had a massive attack of indecision. Did I really want to commit my life to peds? Did I really want to deal with sick babies and zany parents every day? What about family medicine, where I could still do well-child checks, adolescent medicine and possibly dermatology? It suddenly seemed like every other field of medicine had endless possibilities but peds was a path from which, once set upon, one would never be able to veer. As soon as I accepted that invitation, I could practically hear the echo of a dozen doors slamming shut. (more…)