I have officially applied for residency three times now. And each time has been so incredibly different. Last November, everything was new and exciting. I was travelling around the country! Exploring different specialties! I spent hours upon hours perfecting my personal letters and compiling my applications. And when I finally hit submit it was such a relief that this was finally behind me and that I would never have to do this again. But I did go through it again. Twice now.
I’ve been watching the students in the 2017 class change their Facebook profile pictures to their CaRMS headshots all fall. Seeing their excitement and their relief to finally be done all their applications. To never have to write all these personal letters again. To being one step closer to residency. And I just want to tell all of them to apply to more programs. To backup with another backup. To do everything they can to set themselves up for success. Or at least to avoid failure.
Because that is where I feel like I am now: trying to avoid failure. This isn’t like me: I am not pessimistic, I always see the best, I’m always hopeful for the best. But now I am feeling that hope shift more towards hope for a match, any match. I don’t expect to match to my top choice program, or specialty, or even get any interviews for my top choice specialty. I just hope I get some interviews. And I hope that they go well enough that I get to introduce myself as Doctor in July.
For the most part, I have been having a really great fall. I’ve been crazy busy, but it was a good busy: my master’s classes during the week, working in clinic or the hospital on my days off, getting my applications together, and trying to keep some semblance of balance in my life. I feel like I’ve been succeeding as a student and getting a lot out of my program. And I’ve gotten to work with some amazing preceptors who have helped me grow as a physician. It was a lot more work than I thought this “year off” could possibly be, but I have loved it. I have had so much care and support from my friends, family, and the medical community, and I am so grateful for it.
But I am ready for the next step. And I really hope that this third time is the charm. I hope I don’t have to go through CaRMS again. I hope I get to move forward. I hope I stop feeling stuck.