Tomorrow I head out-of-state for an interview. As a fourth-year medical student, I’m currently finishing up a second year of clinical rotations and applying to residency programs. Residency programs are started after graduation from medical school and are done in the field of one’s choosing. I have applied all across this great country of ours and received 9 interview offers out of the original 30 programs I applied to. I was originally shooting for 10 interviews, but already I’m finding myself exhausted and lacking in enthusiasm. Some of the rejection notices that I received from programs were very disheartening, but I suppose it has thickened my skin some, and at this point I really don’t think I would like to do any more interviews.
Some of the interviews I have been able to do while rotating at that hospital, thus reducing expenses. However, most of them have unfortunately cost me airfare, hotel, and sometimes a rental car. Interviews come at an enormous expense to the hospital too, as several of mine have paid for my hotel, dinner with residents the night before, as well as breakfast and lunch the day of the interview.
After interviews are completed, medical students submit a rank list to include the programs that they’ve visited in the order of personal preference. At the same time, residency programs are making their own list of preferential candidates. All of this information gets fed into a computer, which aligns everyone’s preferences (generally siding in favor of the student’s choices) and spits out a match list. For me, this whole process will culminate on Match Day, which this year occurs on MARCH 15.
At first I was excited about traveling, but soon the novelty wore off. Some of my classmates have used their vacation time for interviewing, however I wanted to actually vacation during my vacation time, so I’ve been working around my interview dates. Traveling for interviews generally means: sitting at the airport for several hours, maybe spending an additional hour or two driving from the airport to my interview location, unpacking and ironing interview clothes, meeting strangers for dinner, not sleeping well in a strange bed, not adjusting to a new time zone well, waking up super-early to attempt to curl my hair and apply makeup in an orderly fashion, sitting through meetings, interviewing with up to 5 people for 20-30 minute sessions, lunching with other applicants, taking a brief tour, driving back to airport to wait for flight home, arriving home very late, and getting up the next morning to go to work.
This has roughly been what the past few months have been like for me:
July- Used 2 weeks of “vacation time” to study 8 hours a day for Step 2 of medical licensing exam.
August- Filled out online application to residency programs, took application photo, and reformatted resume.
September- Sent off application costing several hundreds of dollars. Spent several weekends scouring malls for appropriate, yet flattering interview suit, jewelry, heels, and matching portfolio folder. Worked ass off at hospital as applied to their program.
October- Purchased new winter coat as teal/purple Columbia ski jacket was not the most professional look. Started receiving rejection letters. Interview 1.
November- Continued to receive rejection letters. Interview 2. Interview 3. Worked ass off at hospital as applied to their program. Found out that passed Step 2 of Boards.
December- Continued to receive rejection letters. Worked ass off at hospital as applied to their program. Interview 4. Interview 5. Interview 6.
January- Interview 7. Interview 8.
I do not mean to sound ungrateful. I did not have a particularly easy time getting into medical school, and I thank God for the opportunity that He has given me, but right now I am just tired and ready to be done. I’m more than willing to work hard and continue to study so that I can take care of people in the best manner possible and know how to help them. I am just so tired of the moving around literally from state to state for different rotations and better learning environments. I have worked so hard to get up to this point, but now that I’m approaching the finish line, I am just asking for renewed strength.