Though late by a few weeks because of other life events, Rosha and I are thrilled to be shipping up to Boston for my residency this June! There isn’t a better city for the both of us in terms of professional opportunities in terms of my training at Boston Children’s Hospital, and the plethora of opportunities available to Rosha in the biotech / pharm industry that Boston has to offer.
It has been one chaotic ride these past few months, between our first wedding in Nepal, a second wedding in America, and a conference in Berlin, it has been one heckuva interview season. It was a real treat to be able to travel and have the chance to interview at several places, seeing how different programs are structured and function. While my thoughts were that any outcome was a good decision, as it would allow me to do what I wanted, we are quite ecstatic about the chance to move to Boston for the betterment of both of our careers.
With the stress and chaos of Match behind us, my advice to rising M4s about to embark on the terrifying journey of match is to: trust your instinct, enjoy the process, realize what matters most to you,
Trust your instinct. The bulk of residency training is going to be the same between institutions and it really is your colleagues that make/break your training experience. Initially, I tried making all sorts of complicated excel spreadsheets and algorithms ranking different variables between programs (research opportunities, city life, primary vs. specialty training, etc…). After a few interviews, I realized that these differences were rather subtle between programs, and that ultimately, the best indicator of programs was my voice’s excitement of my phone calls to my wife after the interviews. Anywhere you go, you end up as a well trained physician.
Enjoy the process. My general rule of thumb was to not rush into/out of interviews, and to stay a day before and after the interviews to tour the city and neighborhoods around. Granted, this meant sleeping on someone’s couch an extra day or two, but frankly, to me it was really important to tour the city to see where I am going to be calling home for the next 5 years. Also, the Match interviews are entirely different than Medical School interviews. Where, in medical school, you just want “someone to take you!” However, in the match interviews, the roles are flipped, as programs realize they have many qualified candidates and go out of their way to sell their program to you, wanting you to come to their program. Certainly, you must appropriately prepare for the interviews, but letting your personality shine through can really go a long way in the interview process. It’s a strange sensation feeling wanted, but something definitely worth enjoying for a change.
What matters most: Perhaps most importantly, realizing what is most important to you as you embark on the next personal and professional chapter of your life is probably the most important factor influencing the match decision. Are family and location most important? Are you geographically focused on a particular area for any number of reasons, or conversely, do you want to explore somewhere new and exciting? What else matters in your rank list: reputation, camaraderie, or subspecialty or primary focuses? Asking these sort of questions for yourself will help you identify which institution and city will help you become the best version of yourself.
As archaic and convoluted as it may seem, the match process ultimately is best attempt to make the process as organized and fair as possible. Though, for many Type A’s of medical school, the lack of control is intimidating and daunting, the match process ultimately works out best for just about everyone involved!
I'm a current MD-PhD candidate, working hard to help treat and manage muscular dystrophies