MS-4 · residency

Million dollar question

Now that all my interviews are done (and one second look next week), I’m finally sitting down to make my rank order list.

For those of you not playing along at home, the Match algorithm involves programs ranking their preferred candidates, the candidates ranking their preferred programs, and then magic-and-hijinks ensue. I have this idea that the Match computer is some behemoth circa 1970 organism, like Hal from 2001: Space Odyssey, complete with blinking lights and a little “out” slot that spits out the answer to the meaning of life. That’s how it feels, anyway.

I’m pretty comfortable with the middle of my rank list, in part because I think (hope?) I won’t drop that far. But trying to rank my top 5 is killing me. On one hand, this is good, because it means that I would be happy at any of my top five programs. On the other hand, it’s problematic because, well, I can’t tell anyone they are my #1 (because I don’t know yet) and at some point between now and February 22nd, I have to input a real list.

Picking med schools was a totally different feel. When I was applying to med school, I definitely wasn’t thinking about residency selection — I just picked the school where I liked the people I met, and it all worked out, more or less. But now, I’m factoring fellowship placement into the mix, and the added confusion of “You usually practice in the same region where you do residency” and suddenly it seems like my options, rather than expanding, are shrinking.

I’m sure it will all work out in the end, because everyone says so, but still. I dislike ceding control to a computer.

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