Three Mothers and Their Children

Three mothers and their children - L to R - April, Leah, and Irene Ho. Three mothers and their children – L to R – April, Leah, and Irene Ho. Dear Mom,
Ever since I became a parent, I appreciate more than ever the patience, dedication, and sacrifice that you made in your life to raise us to become the individuals we are today. Being a mom is not easy, especially to four boys. You taught us…

January, May, or September Semester?

aucclass Can you find me? Unlike US medical schools that have only one start date per year in the fall, Caribbean medical schools typically have 2 or 3 start dates. At AUC, students may start medical school in January, May, or, September. I’ve gotten quite a few questions about the difference between start dates and so I’d like to address the answer here in…

Loan Repayment Programs

Coins Med school is no doubt very expensive, and for international medical graduates like me, living in the Caribbean where cost of living is high and traveling around to different clinical rotation sites does not help the amounting debt that we build up during our training. After four strenuous years, I now have an MD degree, a Dr. in front of…

Before Residency

Benji_and_Lyra.JPG As I write this, Irene, Lyra, and I are taking a road trip up to Macon for a few days, getting some important things done for our move up to this town in the next few weeks. It’s been over a month and a half since we’ve been in the Cherry Blossom Capital of the World (or so we proudly…

Tips on Ranking Residency Programs

photo Residency interviews wrap up in late January, and by mid-February, you should already have an ordered list of how you are going to rank the programs you interviewed at. How you order your Rank Order List (ROL) can make a difference in where you go for residency. Here are some important tips on what to do and not to do…

A New Family

Photo Apr 11, 1 22 47 PM From the moment I met Irene, I have been impressed by her free spirit, dedication, and her ability to always make me smile, and I married her so that I will be smiling for the rest of my life. Irene is a strong woman and for the past nine months, she has been a trooper, not giving up a day…

Best Birthday Present Ever!

Irene and me when we first found out where I matched! It’s not everyday that you turn 30 and find out you landed a residency position to your first choice program. But that’s what happened yesterday, and I couldn’t be any more ecstatic. Yes, I’m happy to announce that I have matched into Mercer University / Navicent Health Family Medicine Residency Program! This means I am going back to my hometown…

Any Day Now

4 months If you haven’t noticed from our Ecuador babymoon pictures, Irene and I are expecting our first baby soon! Irene is now at 38 weeks, which is considered at term, and so we’re preparing for our little girl to come any day now! For the past few months, Irene and I have been living in two different cities. I’ve been working on-and-off…

Look What I Got!

Matched I matched! I now have my first job as a family physician for the next three years! I want to thank my family, friends, and especially my dear wife Irene for all the endless support you all have given me these past few years. And to AUC, thank you for giving me this opportunity to pursue medicine, and for constantly challenging…

Following Up after a Residency Interview

Use simple cards to write follow-up messages. Use simple cards to write follow-up messages. Post-interview follow-ups are considered standard etiquette and a good way to continue communication with the residency program after the interview. Because programs are often bombarded with thank you notes and follow-up letters, the trick is to write long and specific enough to show that you’ve put some thought into it, but short enough so…

Questions to Ask and Be Asked on Residency Interviews

IMG_2669 Late October through early February is a crucial time for those applying for residency programs. It is the interview season. In these past few months, I have visited several different programs. I have put together a list of questions that I have been asked during my interviews, as well as questions that I have asked the interviewers. The questions you…

How Many Residency Programs Should I Apply to?

IMG_2667 As an IMG, the short answer is at least 100. The long answer is that it all depends on the attractiveness of your application, the competitiveness of your desired field, how much choice you would like to have, and how much you are willing to spend on applications. One mistake that some applicants make when applying to residencies is overestimating…

How to Prepare for Residency Application Season

glassespen Hi everyone! During the summer before the Match, it is important to start preparing for the residency application season. There are several things you can start doing to prepare for the residency application and interview season: Clean up your social media.
Understand that some residency programs and their connections may look you up online. As an aspiring physician, hopefully you’ve…

Which States Are Most IMG-Friendly?

NRMP States IMG friendly full When applying for residency, especially as an international medical graduate (IMG), it is important to apply broadly beyond the state or region that you want to end up, to maximize your chances at getting interviews and matching. Looking at the number of IMGs that match into residency in different states, it is clear that some states are more IMG-friendly than…

How to Improve Your MSPE Letter

IMG_2671 The Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE), formerly known as the “Dean’s Letter,” is a major component to your residency application. As its name suggests, it is a multiple page evaluation of your performance during all four years of medical school, including the good and the bad. It is put together by the school and sent to all the residency programs…

How to Get a Letter of Recommendation

IMG_8619e During your third and fourth years of medical school, it is very important to establish good relationships with all the attending physicians you work with during your clinical rotations. Not only would it reflect positively on your rotation evaluations, which eventually show up on your MSPE letter, but also it would make it much easier to ask your attending for…

A New Year in Ecuador

Irene and I headed to Cotopaxi National Park, home of the Cotopaxi Volcano, one of the highest active volcanoes in the world! With a world as diverse and fascinating as ours, Irene and I want to see as much of it as we can in our lives. Despite our busy study schedules during the past four years, we’ve managed to squeeze in quite a few trips exploring the Caribbean as well as Europe. When your medical school is in the Caribbean and…

In Transition

USDA_MyPlate_green As many of you know, I have recently finished medical school, passed the Step 2 CK exam and am in the process of applying to residency programs in Family Medicine. I have almost two-thirds of a year before starting residency (fingers-crossed). In the meantime, I have moved back to my hometown of Macon, Georgia, and started working full-time with my…

Diploma

IMG_5689 Got my diploma in the mail. Although there are several graduation dates per year when diplomas are issued out, there is only one graduation ceremony each year, which takes place in May on St. Maarten. I always thought that it was beautiful to end your journey where you began, on the island, but now with a different perspective. As much…

PASS

IMG_6051 “PASS” … I can’t explain how relieved those four letters made me feel when I opened my USMLE Step 2 CK exam score report on my computer screen. After countless hours of study, an ever-receding hairline, and lots of patience and support on my wife’s part, I’ve passed my last exam in medical school, and my last requirement for graduation.…
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