Guys… this is it. The doors are closing. And opening.
The first two years of medical school, I thoroughly enjoyed how open everything was. Back then, I could have been ANY type of doctor that I wanted.
Doors start to open and close for the first time around the time we get our Step 1 scores back. A higher score means we can daydream about the super-competitive stuff, or the not-so-competitive specialties but in highly-sought-after locations or top-tier programs. Lower scores may mean kissing some daydreams goodbye, or opening up plans for parallel applications.
Then third year hits, and we try to figure out what we really want to do. Maybe surgery wasn’t want we thought it would be. Maybe Internal isn’t as procedural as we had hoped. Maybe we don’t like the small talk of seeing patients in a clinic. Specialties get bumped up or down the list.
In December, we had our first classwide meeting with our Dean’s Letter (MSPE) writer and the opportunity to meet with Program Directors/ Assistant Program Directors/Chief Residents to learn about how to prepare for residency applications in their area of expertise–known at our school as Mastering Career Planning. There should be more of those types of meetings in the not-so-distant future. This was the first time we got to sort ourselves by specialty, which was interesting since we were less than halfway through with third year.
Now, things are getting serious. We have scheduled our individual meetings with Dr. Mike who will write our MSPE letter. (I’ve already had my meeting… lots of good info and lots of things to think about and start doing!) We also have our individual meetings to start planning and scheduling our 4th year (eeeeeeeek!!!!). I’ve now completed my Pediatrics rotation and I absolutely know that is what I want to do with my life, so I am okay with all other doors closing. I’m terrified and excited all at the same time. I’ve been gathering tips and advice from 4th years and residents about applying to Pediatrics. I’ve started my Personal Statement. I have my first letter writers for the recommendation letters that I’ll need. I am starting to look more deeply into what programs I want on my list and getting to know the individual programs a little better to see if I really want to apply to so many. (David is getting antsy, staying in one place so long. I am too. The Ladybug isn’t is school yet. I am excited that the Match process could literally put us anywhere in the country for the next three years of my training. I’m telling ya, excited and terrified all at the same time!)
Guys…. it’s going by so, so fast. I feel like there is no way that I am ready for all of this yet. There is so much stuff that I still don’t know (or can’t recall, that I SHOULD know, or feel like I should know.)… and I’m going to be applying for my first job this September.
I just want to Match. If you pray, or send good thoughts to people…. be thinking of my class as we approach all of the stressors of 4th year and this convoluted process that decides our first jobs. I look forward to sharing the journey with all of you.