Match day was a few weeks ago for the fourth year med students across the country, where they found out where and in what program they will be spending the next 3-6 years! It’s a day full of excitement for all med students as we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
For me, and for some of my classmates, however it was a source of stress. In less than 5 months we will officially submit our ERAS application for residency spots in our chosen specialty field. There are several of us who are still undecided on what we are going to apply to! It makes it easier to know that there are people in the same position as you, when it seems like everyone is applying for away rotations and looking at what programs they want to apply to. I’m just walking around the hospital trying to figure out what I can see myself doing for the rest of my life.
This is when the incredible community of medical students shines through. When you look terribly confused or upset, there is always someone around the corner willing to help. It’s what I love most about my med school class. On a day where you feel like you’re in the wrong field, you’ll never be able to choose a specialty, or are on a downward spiral thinking you’ll never match, there is a friend right there to reset your thinking with positive thoughts. I am so grateful for the wonderful people that are in my class who help me through my semi-daily panic attacks on these large life decisions, because they are in the same place I am.
There’s one thing I’m told over and over again… listen to your heart it already knows what you’re meant to do. Which is easier said than done. Mostly because there are so many factors to take into account when choosing a specialty – Do I have a competitive board score? Does it have the lifestyle I want? Can I raise a family? Would I be happy? Do I want to work with my hands or my brain? Do I like the OR? Do I like the clinic? Do I like the hospital? It’s a long, complicated soul-searching process. While it’s a journey each of us has to travel alone, we are never truly alone. On a daily basis I have med friends texting me with words of encouragement and advice.
Other truly wonderful are the attendings and residents at UTMC. Because one of my considerations is general surgery and my general surgery rotation was rather slow, a surgeon is letting me take my spring break week this week to work with him. A neurology chief resident sent me a long email all about the pros and cons of choosing neurology. The orthopedic surgeons were willing to offer any advice on choosing away rotations. A family medicine doctor told me to call her any time if I need any help with the application or choosing a specialty process. These doctors go above and beyond to help, and it’s something so special about UTMC.
So to everyone out there who is still unsure of where they belong, don’t fear. There are some of us who are with you! And to those of you who know what you want, congratulations!