Today, across the country, is Match Day, where doctors match to their residency programs.
People often ask me, “Why did you move to Connecticut?”
The answer is usually a mix of free will and fate, which tends to be the situation of Match.
So here’s how the process of becoming a doctor works….
You complete your undergraduate degree (Bachelor’s Degree).
You complete medical school (which is sometimes known as undergraduate medical education) (Doctoral Degree).
You then apply to complete your residency (which is sometimes called graduate medical education) (Residency).
- Residency = when you do your specialty training (3-7+ years), you are a “resident”
- Internship = first year of residency, you are an “intern”
- Specialist = typically a subspecialist, or someone who has done a Fellowship in an area beyond Residency
The way you apply for residency is interesting… it’s like a speed date almost. You apply to a bunch of programs across the country, and then they will decide if they want to interview you. So they interview you, you interview them, and then ultimately you will rank them and they will rank you. It then goes through this complex algorithm and you are “matched” (if you match) into ONE program… that’s it. ONE program, and then by contractual agreement, you are OBLIGATED to go there…. so whether you applied to hundred of programs and spent tends of thousands of dollars in flying for interviews and hotels, your fate will give you ONE place… and that may mean you pack your bags, leave everything behind and then move.
In COVID times, this is quite different. With video interviews, on one hand you can apply to more places (= spend more $$), but travel less, but may lost the “feel” of the place you are looking at going to, and may have committed your life and perhaps your entire future (since many people inevitably stay on to work in areas where they do residency) without having even been there.
So why did I move to Connecticut? Well, the answer is simple: because I matched in Western Mass, and I wanted to live in CT because it felt much more familiar to me having grown up in the tri-state area. And we’ve put out roots down, and at this point, I’ve lived longer in CT than I have lived in any other place of my life, so this is my home, and where I look to build deeper and deeper roots in the communities in all facets of the work that I do.
To all the medical students, good luck this week!