Sunday, June 25, 2017

Intern year starts in 6 days

In anticipation of the start of family medicine internship, I have been thinking through what I can do to start on a good footing. I made a list of skills that I felt I needed to be proficient in and tried to read up my first rotation, Obstetrics, from books that i owned. I also searched online for tips from survivors of intern year, PGY-2's and 3's. Out of the articles that I have panned through I liked this one the best: "Ten tips for successfully completing your internship".

If things work out smoothly I will try to draft an intern survival guide of my own. However, for now I must go through it myself. 6 more days...

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Three things that helped me match!

After going through the match 2 times I felt like I had a good handle on what to do for this match process. In addition to making sure that my application was worked on diligently I did a few things that I believe helped me fare better in this match compared to the other two times.

The first thing I focused on was to take the step 3. This was an important step to let the residency program know that, while I had failed the step 2 CS, I was fully capable of passing any other exam. I studied very hard for this exam and I am happy I did so. It was one of the hardest tests I’ve taken till now. I knew that failing that test would make it even harder for me to go on. If you are interested in how I studied it’s on here somewhere.

The second thing that I did was to go to a family medicine conference. Each specialty has a conference where you can rub elbows with residents, sometimes program coordinators and if you are lucky program directors. I visited numerous booths, and talked to as many residents/pc’s/pd’s as I could. I also met some good people that I kept in contact with afterward. These people from different schools became my study partners, my interview practice partners etc. Additionally, and more along the lines of what I’m sure you want to hear, I interviewed at 2 of the programs that I met at the conference.  

The third thing that I did was contact programs. My sole purpose here was to let them know of my interest in them.

Following these 3 steps I was able to get more interviews than I got last year, and as a result I was able to match. Of course, I want to remind you that these are just supplementary things. If your personal statement is crap, your LOR’s say nothing good about you, your application is fraught with grammatical errors these supplemental things will not help you.

Now, its time for bed so that I can wake up bright and early for the first day of orientation at my residency program. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Tips for writing a captivating personal statement

Most people are looking for a silver bullet to get into residency. Some rely on scores or on contacts which can help but to me the most important thing is to present a solid application, in which you focus on doing the various aspects very well.  You need to make sure that your LORs are good, your personal statement is captivating and resume is strong. Today, I will share three tips that will hopefully help you write a captivating personal statement.

First, do not make it too long. Put yourself in the shoes of the admission committee. Would you like to read a 3 page personal statement after you have gone through 100 personal statements? I know I wouldn’t want that. Make sure your personal statement is about 1 page long, if theres more to write then about 1.5 pages should be fine as well.

Second, your content should give them an insight into who you are and it should grab them. You want them to read your statement and think “ooo I want him/her.” Your passion for the specialty should shine through. Use personal stories about growing up, or things you have done –NOT a recitation of your resume- to show your connection to the specialty you are applying to.

Third, the little details count. Make sure you spell check your work. Make sure your grammar is correct. Have someone that you know who is good with English/writing proof read your work.

You can find samples of personal statements online or in books. When I was applying I used First Aid for the Match mainly to have sample personal statements to review- I did not use it for anything else.  

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Car Chronicles 2: send me the money

After my experience with the blue Acura, I had to start searching for cars all over again. I went back to my trusted website, craigslist, to find a car. 

As I browsed though Craigslist my friends voice rang in my head “I got duped on craigslist.” He paid 7000$ or so for a car that he saw on craigslist. To hear him tell the story the car looked really nice. Unfortunately for him, it turned out to be one of those send me the money first and I’ll bring you the car kind of scams. He fell for it completely and sent the money. He waited and waited and received no car in return. He reported the guy to the FBI who told him after some digging that the guy lived in Canada, which was out of their jurisdiction. His 7000 $ was puff, completely gone.

I sent out numerous text messages to the numbers on the car ads I liked. A few people replied to my texts saying that I should email a certain email address. To me this was weird. Why would you want to use email when you can just text?? Anyways, I was not going to miss out on a good deal. I would still send out and see what happens. 

I started corresponding with them via email.  In response to my  first email I got “The car is in perfect working condition. The only reason we are selling it is because it gives us bad memories. It was for our daughter’s husband that died. We want to get rid of it because it reminds her of him and makes her sad. Now, the car is in North Dakota but if you send the money and we will send you the car.”

Does this sound familiar? Smh. I replied with something along the lines of “stop with this nonsense. I know this is a scam. Foolishness!”

I got about 5 of these kinds of correspondence from different numbers that I contacted from craigslist. That does not mean all of craigslist’s advertisements are fake. There are legitimate advertisements on there. You just have to keep looking and I did just that. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

My Journey to residency!

Attempting to get into residency has been a journey/hard work. 3 years long to be exact. It has been long through no one’s fault except for mine. By failing the Step 2 CS exam, I set myself up for an upward battle. Still with complete confidence and the right strategy I ended up getting a residency position in a hospital and area that I really like. This is my journey.

For my first year, I got no interview during the the regular match period. However, I got one interview during the soap that I messed up by doing something silly, or by not doing something important.

Things looked better for my second application season. I got interviews from 3 really good residency programs. Two were in New York and one was in North Carolina. After my interviews, I got favorable responses from two of the programs so I assumed that this was going to be the year for me. Opening up my email I was shocked to see “Sorry you did not match…” I then got 2 interviews in the SOAP, but that did not pan out either. Uggh! To say I was frustrated and saddened by this outcome would be an understatement.

What I saw when I opened up my email in 2016.

Finally for my last application season, I managed to get 5 interviews. I left nothing to chance. I planned out my year from the moment that I did not match. I practiced for my interviews intensely. The programs where I interviewed showed stronger interest than last year. Some programs flat out told me they would rank me during the interview... straight to my face, during the interview. The first time this happened I don’t remember what my response was, I only remember how shocked I was. I felt like I would match last season too but that didn’t happen so I wary of these overtures. It turns out I worried for nothing since I ended up MATCHING!!!! Yay!

Now that this journey is behind me, I can look back and see what I did right and where I went wrong. I have learned that your application season starts from the end of the last match -ie, if you are a repeat applicant- at which time you start planning and working on making yourself the best candidate you can be. Do not leave anything to chance and work hard. Looking through the forums after matching I see people asking questions like “can I match if I do not get any US clinical experience?” This is foolish. Do not be that guy!!! Give it your best shot so you will not look back with regret!

Congratulations everyone that matched! Good luck to all that are applying next season!