Advice for Match Day and the 'After-Match': Transitioning to Residency

Roz on Residency

Rosalyn E. Plotzker, MD, MPH


February 20, 2019

The Best Advice You'll Ever Get

The end of medical school is a period when you have to tie up a lot of loose ends. They are mostly common sense and straightforward, so I'll offer you a simple checklist:

✓ Plan how to repay your student loans and set this up.

✓ Stay on top of administrative things with your medical school so that nothing is pending by graduation.

✓ Be responsive to your residency program's onboarding process. Confirm with the coordinator that they received whatever they requested from you.

✓ If you can, set up personal and medical needs before you start residency.

✓ If you are moving to a new location, give yourself enough time to pack, relocate, unpack, and take care of the minutiae that comes with moving. This includes changing your mailing addresses and forwarding your mail, letting your banks know, and other such concerns.

When residency starts, future-you will thank your past self for taking care of all of this. RS, your question reminded me of the color-coded Excel spreadsheets delineating the pros and cons of residency programs where I'd interviewed. I was constantly measuring one hypothetical future against another, right up until I matched. After Match Day, there were no interviews to prepare for or applications to complete. Suddenly, I cherished being a medical student with anticipatory nostalgia. While "transitions" tend to be future-oriented (ie, where one is going), the closure one achieves at the end of a phase is equally, if not more, important in order to move forward.

RS, as tempting as it will be to turn your attention to the upcoming phase of residency, to prepare, or even to contemplate subspecialties, I would urge you to enjoy this rare period in the life of a medical trainee when you will not be overwhelmed by academics. Celebrate these final weeks with your classmates. Express gratitude to your mentors; that's something I'm eternally glad that I did. Many of my mentors were helpful personal guides during my residency as well.

Graduation will be here before you know it. When residency begins, you'll have endless opportunities to learn what you need to learn and to meet colleagues who you'll get to know well; some may become lifelong professional partners or friends. But the best advice you'll ever get at this point: Enjoy the "now."

On that note, I wish you the best of luck on Match Day and in all of the training years that follow.

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