Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Waiting Game

In my life right now, there is a spectacular amount of interesting stuff that is about to happen.  And what that really means is that none of it is happening right now.  Right now, I am just waiting.  Waiting to find out where I matched for residency (and all that entails), waiting to find out how much maternity leave my residency program will give me, waiting to graduate, waiting for my family drama to get better, waiting to meet this little person I’m growing in my abdomen.

I’m not a good waiter.  I’m on the cusp of all this life-changing, interesting stuff, but right now I am mostly just bored and frustrated.

Picking up where I left off yesterday: after interviews are over, the Match starts.  You (the applicant) rank the programs in order of preference and enter them into the National Residency Match Program (NRMP) website.  They give you several weeks to agonize over this list and make changes before locking it down in February.  I changed mine three or four times.  It was just tortuous. 

The programs, meanwhile, are making a ranked list of applicants, in a process that I can only imagine is more tortuous, as it involves group decision-making.  They enter these into the NRMP website as well.  And then the computer runs an algorithm and spits out a letter that tells you where to move.  Theoretically, the algorithm is applicant-centered and attempts to give all the applicants the highest ranked program possible. 

If you want to see how it works, a fairly good explanation is here

I like how they stress over and over that you should rank programs according to your true preference.  As if “true preference” is totally obvious to everyone.  But really, how do you weigh “close to my family,” when that family is only 17% speaking to you?  How do you weigh, “I feel comfortable around these residents,” when you can’t ask them how they would feel about you having a baby as an intern?

Whatever, there is nothing else I can do about it now.  I just have to breathe deep (increasingly difficult) and wait for Friday.

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