January 17, 2010

The Match.

I submitted my Rank-Order List for Family Medicine programs on Friday. I updated it again today to double-check that my top program numbers were inputted appropriately. Whew!

There's a lot of factors that go into the decision-making process for residency program selection -- geography, work-hours, resident/faculty support, curriculum, monetary factors, etc.

When I looked at Family Medicine programs on the Mainland, I must say, I had NO idea what to look for -- being a medical student from Hawaii, almost all of the faculty in our Family Medicine department trained in the Family Med program here as well! So, I took a shortcut of investigating the P4 programs because I figured that they were excellent programs already, looking for fresh new ideas to integrate into their curriculum. My other choices were based on good things I heard from people, as well as my discussions with them at the Kansas City AAFP National Conference (if you're looking for the perfect family medicine program for YOU, I'd highly recommend visiting in your first month as a fourth year!)

Despite the "4", in the name, not all P4 programs are four year programs, although I found some of the ones that were to be of particular interest. Innovations are a great topic to discuss, but I want to share something else on my mind.


Now that the rank-order list is out of my hands, I have nothing to do but wait and see what the final outcome will be, come March 18th. The National Resident Matching Program "matches" me with my #1 choice, putting me in the queue of their program according to their ranking for me -- if I happen to be in their top 10 (or so,) then I get matched there. If someone higher on their list ranks the program highly as well, then I would get bumped down (and possibly off) their list and when all the slots are filled, I would move on to my #2 choice or my #3, until I get placed.

Naturally, I feel a sense of relief.
I've gone through the grueling process of medical school (for the most part.) The countless hours of mind-numbing study in the first two years, culminating in the Step 1 exam. The thrill and terror of third year, suddenly exposed to the organic, living, breathing patient that we've heard so much about. The uncertainty and anxiety of the interviews and the ever-expanding hole of debt traveling across the country far and wide for the perfect place to spend the next three+ years of my life. Now it is time to relax and breathe. It is out of my hands.

I also feel a sense of dread and underlying anxiety.
Questions of self-doubt and second-guessing arise.
Should I have applied to X program?
What if the people at Y didn't like me?
Would I really be happy at Z program?
Can I handle the responsibilities to come?
Will medical school be enough preparation for the next harrowing experience known as INTERN YEAR?

This lack of control is both comforting and anxiety-provoking.
I have no choice but to have faith that my interviews went as well as I felt they did and just keep my brain active in the mean-time. I am tutoring a small group of incredibly fun second year med students and I'm touching on all sorts of issues that I know will be important in the future. More to come on this. :)

*Picture by 96dpi, courtesy of flickr.

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