Here it comes, fourth-years! One of the two most exciting days in a med student’s life. After three and a half years of study and practical clinical rotations, this is the day that decides where you will be and what you will do for the next three to seven years. Yes: deep breath.
As any fourth-year knows, the final year of med school is laden with indecision for some and anxiety for all. First, the fourth year presents a fork in the educational road where a student may take a pathway that is unlike those of friends and peers. Up to that time, students have been pretty much in lockstep with classmates and friends at other medical schools. What you’ve done, and when you’ve done it, have been prescribed by your curriculum, and, with a few variations in the order of rotations, you’ve done what everyone else was doing.
The Road Most Suitable
Choosing that pathway turns out to be difficult for a number of students; either they like everything and can’t choose, or they find issues with each specialty and are constantly weighing pros and cons. Sound familiar? Other students seem to have made their career decisions at birth, or at least prior to starting med school, and have made a beeline right to Match Day.
Either way, once a career decision is made, given the competitiveness of matching these days, there is the question of how many programs to apply to and how many areas of the country would be suitable places in which to spend the next few years.
Making a Match List; Ranking Programs
Between applying for residencies and Match Day, students have visited anywhere from several to dozens of programs, where they will have had an opportunity to demonstrate the strengths of an Einstein education. Lists have been made and checked more than twice, placing each program visited in priority order of where each student wants to pursue his or her first years as a physician.
Increasingly, over the past several decades, graduating students have been paired with spouses or significant others, and their needs must be seriously taken into account. This consideration has both fiscal and emotional implications; the other person’s income may be key. There are also few things more trying than working hard in a residency and having one’s partner dissatisfied or unfulfilled in a place not of his or her choosing.
We are fortunate at Einstein in that the vast majority of our students are matched with the discipline they chose and in a geographic area that makes them comfortable.
So, as the moment draws near for that yearly gong ritual at noon sharp on Friday, March 21, we all look forward to being released from the clutches of anxiety and ushering in the joy of a good match.