If you are getting ready for the Match, you should have already picked your specialty and are looking at different options for residency programs. As any medical graduate, this is not a time for rest following graduation. However, foreign medical graduates have a few more things on their list if they want to be eligible for the Match (visa, ECFMG certification, etc.) Your time during The Match should be spent actively engaging yourself in the medical community and gaining any experience available through internships or mentorships. It can get pretty hectic, and one of the keys to success during this time is the proper management of life. Here are a few habits that will prep you for your life during the Match.
There are all sorts of deadlines and appointments you will have during the Match. You should have already developed your own system for successful scheduling. If not, now is the time. An electronic schedule via Google or other technology is advised as a primary calendar, but don’t be afraid to get creative. Always keep a master calendar, but if post-its help you to get certain things done, recognize that. Use the tools at your disposal, but develop good habits to make you less reliant on your creative tools and more reliant on dependable primary schedules.
Look at Requirements:
Start studying residency programs immediately. Look at their requirements. Look at their statistics in regards to accepting foreign medical graduates. Talk to other residents, and make sure you like the environment surrounding the programs you consider. You cannot have enough information about your residency. The more informed you are, the better you will perform during interviews.
You still have exams in the horizon, so this is no time to lose your knack for information retrieval. The medical profession is a profession for lifelong learners, so never stop. With that said, studying beyond your capacity will not yield any better results.
It is important to take care of yourself in order to maintain a smart mind and an active body. Both are going to be required if you are to make it through this time. Don’t celebrate your graduation from med school too much, and don’t waste your money on fast food. Drink your water, and prep your own food or choose healthy options. This will make you ready for every day on this adventure and keep your mind sharp.
It will not help you in any way to stay up late studying. Your mind will be tired and won’t retain anything more than it would had you spent very little time studying. Save room for sleep in your schedule, and you’ll be more productive.
Build your Team:
The path to residency can get lonely because there is so much to do. Don’t set aside friends and family, as it increases your risk for burnout. If you are in a new area, meet new people. You will need them to bring some of the humanity back to this process.
Practice your interviews from the beginning. By the time you get to actual interviews, you should have your answers polished and be able to answer unexpected questions with ease. Half of the battle with interviews is making sure your personality shows. Interviewers don’t want an automated response from a memorized answer. Practice is the only way you can deliver real responses to tough questions.
Meditation can mean so many things, but in this case it means spending some time on yourself for reflection. A residency is a career path, and you want to make the right choice professionally but also personally. Add time for reflection, so you make the right choice for your personality and strengths.
While you do need reflection, you also need fun. Go to a comedy show, or go on a date. Laugh a little. Remember that you are a normal person and a physician. Forgetting that you are a normal person with normal needs will make your journey tough, but a little laughter can fix it.
Exercise can be your way of meditating or your way of remaining healthy. It is a stress reliever and a mind clearer. There are rarely any bad side effects and typically only good side effects. It can be difficult to develop a routine with non-routine schedules, so make sure you have some way of fitting it in.
Does it seem like all of these things are impossible to accomplish? They probably are. You will not be able to check all of these things off of your list every week, and prioritization is essential. However, remembering that each of these things is important will help you to fit some of them in on your schedule, and your sense of self will survive this process.