Agraphia Medical Tragicomedy

22Jan/09Off

The Diaspora

The matching of US medical seniors into residencies is a terrifying, nail-biting, potentially stress-ulcer-inducing process. It involves traveling the country, renting Toyota Yaris after Toyota Yaris†, checking in to endless hotels, plastering smiles upon faces for hours at a time, and trying to be insufferably impressive - even though you occasionally suspect, somewhere deep inside, that you aren't. This process occurs for roughly 3 months.

The reason The Match is so overwhelmingly nervewracking is that it represents one of those few branch points in our lives where what we do will define us. It's like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure where To go through the door, turn to page 52 and To stay in this room for now, turn to page 87 are very real indeed.

I do my last interview tomorrow, and once completed, I need to decide how to rank the 10 programs I visited. Who do I rank higher; the hyper-competitive hospital in the trauma capital of the northeast, or the super-friendly residency in the midwest? The laid back academic powerhouse of SoCal, or the community hospital in the Deep South? The political hub in the Capitol, or the critical care experts in the city 'o cheesesteaks?

In each of these futures I see a slightly different Dr. Zac emerging, quietly nudged and shaped by the subtle strengths and weaknesses of each program. Some graduating medical students know exactly what they want; a particular city, a school with a Name, a specific faculty mentor. I don't have that sort of singular drive.

Instead, each of these schools represents potential in me as yet untapped. It is at once exhilarating and deeply unsettling. I know there cannot be a wrong choice here; the field of Emergency Medicine is blessed with incredible faculty and residents across the nation. At the same time I'm acutely aware of the significance of how I rank these schools.

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† I mean, these must be incredibly cheap, shoddy cars, because every time I've rented, I've gotten one of these. But hey, they've done the job!

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  1. heads or tails?

    eenie…meenie…meinie…mo

    one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish

    Just some suggestions about how to decide :)


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