Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Residency Interview Season & The MATCH

Long time, no see!
I know, my poor blog has been neglected.  I'm trying to figure out who's been reading recently even though I haven't posted anything lately, hmmmm.

I think I have a decent enough reason to have neglected my blog for a little while...I've been away interviewing for a Residency job!

Over the weekend, a family friend asked how come I haven't updated my blog recently, so since someone is reading, figured that was as good of a reason as any to give an update on what's been happening in my crazy world. 

I have been totally out of touch and actively avoiding almost everything that didn't have to do with job searching and school.  Feels like my entire life has been put on hold.  Wait, honestly, I should be used to that feeling because it's been almost a constant companion since I started Med School!  I think I've been actively avoiding anything that I didn't absolutely HAVE to do. Kind of wishing I could avoid the mandatory things as well haha. 

Back to this job search thing...It's a long, arduous & expensive process! 
The application period opened in July, I submitted apps in September, and interview season is usually October thru February. 

Submitting the applications cost me thousands of dollars...YES, THOUSANDS! As a IMG (International Medical Graduate--a US resident who attends medical school in another country), we often apply to more Residency Programs than US Grads.   Some people/programs still have a negative view of foreign trained doctors. In years past, there were a lot of foreign medical schools that weren't up to par.  However, in the last 30 or so years, many International schools have stepped up their game. They have obtained equivalency to US Med school standards and they are producing high quality physicians.  This doesn't quite matter in many circles because once something is in someone's head, it's very hard to change their minds.  But slowly ideas have been changing as programs interact with these students/doctors and they realize most of us are hard workers that can hold our own next to a US student.  It's a systemic issue, but I digress...

Because of this warped way of thinking, IMG's are often forced to apply to many more programs than US students in order to get enough residency interviews to be able to MATCH. That's another one of these nebulous ideas that many normal humans can't contemplate. MATCH for us means applying to a ton of residency programs, interviewing, then ranking each program you interview at, electronically submitting this list to a central organization who then has some sophisticated computer algorithm that collates every students lists-- compares them with how the various programs rank students, and then the computer spits out a "match".  Sounds ridiculously confusing right?!?! It's crazy! Most people think if you apply and interview for a job, if the company likes you and you like them, they can offer you a job and you can choose to accept or not. This process is nothing like that. What's in our control? Submitting a strong application, presenting our best selves to the interviewers, and seeing how well we mesh with the current people in each program.  Despite this, it feels like your fate for the next 3-7 years is up to a COMPUTER. In many ways that's the case. In many ways it's not. But in the end, the computer decides where you will train with input from us and the programs.

Between Nov and Jan I interviewed with Family Medicine programs across the USA. All of my interviews are finished--thank goodness! I've submitted my Rank List & now I just wait....

I have 7 weeks and 3 days left of school!!! I'm close to being finished but I also realize how much I still just don't know!!!! Residency will be the time when things will really start to come together. We will really learn to be doctors in our chosen fields. Right now I'm still in a bubble of no real responsibility but that will all change in a few months so I'll enjoy this time while I can.

Oh! Did I mention that MATCH DAY isn't until March? You see how I just left you hanging about Match Day for a minute? That's how we feel for weeks. 
This year, it's Monday, March 13th. That's the day you find out IF you Matched. Then Friday, March 17th you find out WHERE you Matched. They love keeping us on edge! My nerves can't take too much more of this. 

So that's my story of why I've been MIA. But now I'm around, sort of...
I'm super anxious about MATCH DAY.  We've worked so hard over the last 8+ Years (11 for me bc I have a Masters degree thrown in the mix as well). Now I'm just waiting for March 13, 2017.  Those of us that applied are hopeful the fruits of our labor have paid off with a coveted Residency placement. Please continue sending positive vibes that everything will work out just fine!

Until next time...