Making Your Match List

Dear 4th year medical students,

Now that interview season is over, it’s time to deal with the palpitations and second guessing – Match Day is just around the corner!

This is a scary time but I promise you’ll get through it. I just wanted to offer some advice for making your Match List, known officially as your rank order list. I linked the NRMP website which has some tips but I wanted to share my thought process for making my own list.

Using a Point System in a Spreadsheet

Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of using this approach toward making your list, although I do think it has its merits. The reason that I’m against using it as your deciding system is that it is inherently flawed to assign arbitrary point values and weights to certain categories like pay, location, and prestige. How do you know that location is 2x more important than pay when you create your Excel spreadsheet? Location actually was super important to me and was almost non-negotiable in creating my list. For you, proximity to family, dating prospects, culture/hobbies etc. may all be important as well. Please don’t limit yourself by confining those to a formula.

That being said, I think that this system is useful in creating tiers of residency programs (e.g. Tier A = reach/highly desired but unlikely, Tier B = likely to match, Tier C = “safety” if there even is such a thing). Within tiers, the things that separate programs will be so specific that you are splitting hairs by using a point system. My top 3 programs vacillated often and the point system was useless since I ended up using my gut at the end of the day to some extent.

Take Attendance

Most of, if not all of you, are data driven and are probably going to use the point system spreadsheet with built in calculator that you downloaded from Reddit anyway. If you’re going to do that, at least balance it out with something less insane. If you were smart (not like me because I was a procrastinator), you wrote down your feelings after each of your interview on the back of your name tag/in your folder/in a journal etc. In addition to writing things like whether or not there is a food allowance for call shifts, hopefully you wrote things like how well attended educational sessions were, including morning report and noon conference). In my opinion, programs who highly valued education made sure that the floor was covered by at least the senior while the interns went down or by PAs and NPs if all residents went. Additionally, the quality of noon conference is a great indicator of the program. Is there a lot of resident participation? Do faculty get involved in getting questioned?

I use a similar attendance lens when I look at the resident happy hours/dinners. If they are well attended, one can assume that the residents get out on time AND still want to hang out with each other even though they see each other more than they see their own family members. Being on the other side, I do think that it is true that these happy hours/dinners are more for you as an applicant to judge us than it is to make us like you more (honestly there are so many applicants that it is more likely that a bad impression will hurt you rather than a good impression will help you). Use this time to see how the residents interact with each other, how honest they are about the program, and whether or not they are giving off the same energy in this setting as they were during the tour.

Get Opinions From Your Friends and Family

Unless they’re in medicine and specifically in your field, they probably have no idea what they’re doing. However, you should farm them for some questions like “do you think you could see me being happy here?” or “am I choosing this place for the right reasons?” I think sometimes we can convince ourselves into making up a BS reason for why a program is a better fit for us over another and our loved ones can see right through that. Conversely, a program may look great on paper and look like a perfect fit for you, but family and friends (and mentors) can give a realistic dissenting opinion. At the end of it all, the decision is yours but I have been in both of the situations mentioned above. In retrospect, I’m happy I involved my loved ones in helping me decide on my final list.

Got any other advice? Leave me a comment below or let me know on my Instagram!

– TS℞


Advice for Away Rotations

Hello friends, it’s me again!

After months away from writing (as I guess I’m prone to based on my post frequency), I’m back with more content that isn’t just brunch and happy hour.

‘Tis the season for away rotations (also known as audition rotations), the time during which fourth year medical students across the country essentially “audition” at another institution in pursuit of a coveted residency spot. I’m sure you’ve come across other blogs with advice posts on when/why to do an away rotation, but this post will focus more on how to get the most out of your away rotation.

*Note: Aways are less common in fields such as Pediatrics and Internal Medicine, so my perspective will definitely be skewed toward the former. Additionally, I am not able to answer any questions regarding FMG and IMG applicants as I am unfamiliar with the process.*

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The Seven Wonders of Fourth Year: A Success Guide

Happy Spooky Season folks! In honor of both Halloween and tonight’s episode of American Horror Story, as well as my newfound free time as a fourth year, I decided that I’m going to share my secrets for attaining Supreme status in medical school. Listed below are the Seven Wonders, seven acts so advanced, each pushes the boundaries of craft into art.

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Clerkship: Surgery

Ok so this is super behind since surgery was my first block but at least it’s getting done, ok? I just wanted to share with you some of my general tips for surviving your surgery clerkship! Because it was my first rotation, surgery really scared me. You always hear about how it’s the toughest, most demanding, non-fuzziest rotation. Well, what you hear is right… for the most part. It was also one of the most eye-opening and rewarding experiences that I have ever had. I even considered going into it for a good portion of this year (peds surgeon, anyone?). My point is: go into your clinical years with an open mind, you don’t know what awesome opportunities you’re going to miss out on if you already have a career in mind.

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Welcome Back

Well, it’s been almost a full calendar year since I’ve written anything on here – sorry!

People weren’t kidding when they said blogging was hard (it’s even harder when you’re in medical school). Let me explain why I was away for so long.

I got busy

Not a great excuse I know, but when I’m busy,  my creative juices tend to turn off. It was the perfect storm of preparing for and taking Step 1 and then immediately throwing myself into my surgical rotation in August that prevented me from feeling energized to write. It was a whirlwind and I can’t believe I’m already finishing my third year of medical school.

Too much pressure

Honestly, I became a little disillusioned with the whole blogging thing. There has always been this sense of inadequacy in what I was doing, a little bit of caring too much about whether or not people were reading what I wrote. I became bored with trying to make every post really count. I realize now that it’s not super important to make each post a big dissertation. I became too nervous about living up to the whole “influencer” thing to say what was on my mind, even if it was stream of consciousness babbling.

I’m a perfectionist

Nothing was ever perfect enough. Not engaging enough, not exciting enough. I wanted to make sure I put out good advice. I didn’t always have the perfect picture to post. I didn’t feel like I was living up to my own expectations. Screw all of that. I just realized how much I missed writing.

Moving forward, I want to put out smaller posts about my day-to-day life, even if they’re not life-changing events or anything too exciting, I just want to go back to doing this for fun 🙂

– TS℞

Clinician’s Closet: Tammarah

Happy National Women Physician Day! Today marks the birthday of Elizabeth Blackwell, the United States’ first woman physician. In 1849, Blackwell was accepted into medical school as a joke. While we have made great strides since then, the fight for equality still goes on. Read further to learn more about an amazing physician-to-be, my friend Tammarah.

National Women Physician Day

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New Year, New Routine

Happy New Year, folks!

I hope you had a wonderful and restful break filled and lots of quality time with your friends and family. I hope you also had some equally as important “me time,” a large component of which involves actually taking care of yourself. For medical students especially, self-care often falls to the bottom of our priority lists. However, it’s imperative that you make sure you’re carving out at least a few minutes a day for yourself.

One thing that I am trying to get serious about is a better morning routine. My friends know that I am pretty lazy and have a hard time getting out of bed. The inevitable rush leads to quick shower, some hair product to tame the mane, and maybe some lotion if I’m lucky. With January in full-blown winter mode + a v timely Christmas gift from Anthony, I consider myself a lucky guy!

Ever since joining Equinox and becoming that guy, Ant’s been obsessed with Kiehl’s. I saw it all over IG but wasn’t sure what the hype was about. I am now a fan. This post is NOT sponsored, I just want to show you some cool stuff!

The “Jeremyville – Healthy Skin for Him” Collection, which is pretty affordable for $26 at Nordstrom, comes in a cool box designed by Brooklyn-based artist, Jeremyville.

Kiehl's Healthy Skin for Him

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I’m writing to you from my new apartment! Minus living essentials like floor lamps, a dining set, and anything to sit on or store clothes in, I guess you can say that I’m full-fledged adult now. I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve updated my blog with a personal post, but I especially wanted to reach out to my fellow medical students with this one.

I think I’m still having a hard time adjusting to M2 year. I’m still grappling with the notion that others look up to me as a role model and ask me for advice when I’m just trying to do the right thing for me. It’s scary, it’s intimidating, but it’s inevitable. The “sophomore” year of any point in your education is tough. You’re no longer the baby, but you’re also asked to grow up quickly.

Continue reading “Sophomore”