45 Thoughts Running Through My Head During Match Season

IMG_2667It’s that time of year again, when all medical students who are transitioning into doctors go through a rite of passage called the Match season. I can’t believe it’s been a year already since I went through mine. It hasn’t been that long since I’ve been on this side of the Match, and already,  I will be interviewing applicants like me not too long ago. Thinking back on how stressful the whole residency application process was, and how many things could have gone wrong but didn’t, I am so thankful to be where I am today. I couldn’t ask for a better program, with people I enjoy working and hanging out with, in a specialty that I feel honored to be a part of, and in a place where I want to be.

Just for fun, here are some of the thoughts that may run through your head during the Match season:

  1. I don’t think I’ll ever be satisfied with this personal statement. Rewrite!
  2. Let’s see, so how do I fluff up this ERAS application?
  3. Am I fluffing it up too much?
  4. Did I apply to enough programs?
  5. Forget the application costs…adding more programs.
  6. T minus 20 seconds until ERAS opens up for application submissions!
  7. ERAS is open!
  8. Oh no! Why can’t I access the ERAS site?
  9. ERAS is down! >:o
  10. Been waiting for hours for my application to submit. Why isn’t it going through?
  11. Forget it, I’ll submit it in the evening!
  12. Yay! Got my first…. oh wait, rejection.
  13. Why is everyone else on Facebook getting interview invitations?
  14. Finally got my first interview invitation!
  15. This could be THE place!
  16. Don’t mess it up! This could be my only chance!
  17. Ok, calm, relax, be cool.
  18. Remember, don’t mispronounce the program director’s name!
  19. Wow, awkward question.
  20. … and an even more awkward answer. Definitely didn’t see that coming.
  21. Alright, who all did I talk to that I should send a thank you note to?
  22. Should I email or handwrite it? If I email it would I seem too…? If I hand write it, would it be too…? Wait, is my thank you note long enough? Wait, was it too long?
  23. Oh man, did I sound too desperate on the thank you cards?? Oh well, too late, already sent :/
  24. Yay, more interviews!
  25. This one went way better than the last one!
  26. Mom, I think I found the one.  <3
  27. Going for a second look!
  28. Should I send the program coordinator a New Years card? Would I come off as too bothersome? How much is too much? Can’t decide!
  29. Another interview invitation? Wow, I’m exhau$ted!
  30. Wait, no dinner provided?
  31. Ok, I think I got an idea of my top choices.
  32. Double checking my rank list.
  33. Triple checking my rank list.
  34. Rank list submitted!
  35. What if I don’t match into my top choice? Oh no! What if I don’t match at all??
  36. OK, I’ll quickly read over the SOAP process, in case I have to go through it.
  37. Fine, I’ll stop thinking about the Match until Match Day… la la la la la.
  38. Can’t sleep… Match Day tomorrow! Longest night ever!
  39. Longest morning ever! *click refresh* *click refresh* *click refresh*
  40. Did I match? Did I match? I matched!
  41. Facebook status changed! It ain’t official until it’s on Facebook! *like*
  42. Where did I match? I hope it’s… I hope it’s not…
  43. Yay! First choice!
  44. First day of residency.
  45. What did I get myself into?

6 comments to 45 Thoughts Running Through My Head During Match Season

  • C yang

    Hi Ben, out of curiosity how many students from caribbean med schools (AUC and others) DO NOT match reaidency per year? I keep hearing that finding a residency is really tough for IMG’s and was wondering if you knew anything about those who do not match. Thanks.

    • Benji

      Hi Yang,
      17.7% of AUC graduates from 2013 did not match. I don’t know about the other schools. Getting a residency is indeed tougher for IMGs, who have to work harder in getting higher scores than their US counterparts to be competitive. The biggest reasons people fail to match includes: multiple Step exam attempts, low scores, applying to too little residency programs, or applying to too competitive residency programs without having a back-up. Another reason for not matching is perceived lack of dedication to the specialty you are applying to (i.e. applying to a family medicine program with a letter of recommendation that says you are gung-ho about becoming a surgeon).

  • Damian

    Hey Benji,

    I just have a question that is unrelated to this post. I have a family member who just failed his NBME from auc. Is there anything he can do at this point? Is it really the end of the road? Please let me know what you think. I would really appreciate it.


    • Benji

      Hi Damian,
      You get several chances to take it during the semester, and if it is not passed by the end of the semester, he will need to take a prep course back in the US and return to AUC the following semester to take it again. If he fails again, then he is at risk of dismissal. Hopefully he is not at that point. Most people do pass it by the end of the semester, and the few people I know who had to return to the island the following semester to retake the exam, pass it and go on to do well on the Step.

  • Lisa

    Hey Benji! Love the blog. I don’t know if you’ve addressed this already, but it seems everywhere I’ve researched everyone tells me to do anything in my power (even if it takes a couple extra years) rather than go to a caribbean medical school… even if it is top 5. Is it really that terrible, and are the attrition rates that high because it’s just that impossibly difficult, or because some people had no idea what they were getting themselves into? Thank you.

    • Benji

      Hi Lisa,
      My opinion is that it all depends on what you want to do. If you want to be a radiologist, dermatologist, ophthalmologist, of any of those highly competitive specialtists, you will have much better chance at matching in those specialties if you went to a US school. Also you need to ask yourself how much do you want to risk waiting, because it is possible that you wait another year and still not get into a US school, because of some red flag you had long time ago, even though you might have improved since then.

      Also, attrition rate is high in Caribbean schools because the quality of students that they accept tend to be lower, but of course these students get weeded out as you go up the semesters and by the end of med school, you find graduates just as capable or knowledgeable as their US counterparts. I don’t think it’s because Caribbean med school curriculum is any harder or easier than their US counterparts. We still have to pass the same board exams.

      Best of luck,

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