match day and the rest of my life
Join me tomorrow night at 9pm on the Dr. Anonymous radioshow when I will be discussing amongst other things, “match day”. For the non-medical readers, match day is when I find out where I will be going to residency (post-medical school training in my specialty).
So this whole process has been a crock of shit. Incredibly inefficient and designed for maximal burden (both physical and financial) on the medical student. When I applied for college and, later, MD/PhD programs, I was accepted to a certain number of programs and then I chose where I wanted to go. Residency applications don’t work like that and, I suppose, understandably so. Unlike college or medical/graduate school, which extend a bunch of acceptances with the goal of roughly meeting the number of acceptances they want, residency programs can only accept a certain–and very fixed–number of applicants. So there is no room for one or two more applicants than needed. As a result, we apply to bunch of programs, interview at the ones that give us interview offers, and then make a list in order of preference of the programs (a “rank” list) we would like to end up at based on our interviews. Then the programs make a similar “rank” list for the applicants they want and a computer matches everyone up. The results of this “match” are released on March 19th this year. A little sketchy, but in light of the strict need to meet the exact number of residency slots available at each institution, this “match” process is a necessary evil.
But there is so so so much wrong with steps leading up to it. Let’s start with the fact that interviews fall in the dead of winter when there is at least one major airport hit with a major snow storm every day. Try traveling through that. I did and it was miserable–some of you may remember my adventures up the west coast and across the country last winter, which in part convinced me to end the interview season short. But let’s forget that misery for a second. Interviews are given out by programs whenever they choose, so at least at the beginning, you have to accept and go to every single interview because you never know how many interviews you’ll actually get. Now that everything is all said and done, my first three interviews were a complete waste–I didn’t even rank them as programs I would consider going to and those trips in total cost me somewhere around $1500. As the interview season wore on, I luckily ended up receiving a lot of interviews at really good programs (fortunately) so I didn’t feel the need to go to some of these other interviews. (I guess we’ll find out how smart that was–on monday, those who didn’t match will receive an email). I actually turned down a number of interview offers but the only interviews I went to and didn’t rank were the first three. If any of you readers have the energy, someone really needs to organize this a little better and work on setting a date when all programs release the first round of interview offers, rather than taking their sweet time. I know I make a whopping $25K as an MD/PhD student, but I would have preferred to not spend that extra $1500 on interviews if I didn’t need to. I mean, you’re reading the blog of someone who owned 700 shares of Washington Mutual stock when it went belly-up. Fuck–it makes me mad just to think about that.
Also, how about the fact that medical students and residency programs turned in their respective rank lists on February 25th but the results are released on March 19th? What kind of nonsense is that? How long does it take for a computer program to work? Are they using a fucking Commodore 64? I know it’s really great to make the medical students sweat for a month and build up the excitement but it would be nice to move on with my life–plus, my irritable bowel is acting up.
Whatever. It’ll all be over in another week when I find out where I’m going. Tune in tomorrow night!