This past weekend USCSOMG hosted Spring Preview, which is an opportunity to show our incoming students and their families what our school is all about. I was a member of the Student Life Panel. Four fellow students and I answered incoming student and family questions about daily life as a medical student at USCSOMG. Here’s a not-so-little summary of the most frequently asked questions, most frequently given answers, and of course a smattering of my personal opinions and commentary.
St. Patrick’s Day has become quite the celebration, a time when everyone seems to find some Irish heritage. But for fourth-year medical students across the country, it is a very special holiday. Friday, March 17th is Match Day!
For our readers who are not physicians, you may or may not have heard about Match Day. Perhaps you know a fourth-year medical student who is going on many interviews and has yet to get a job, despite your best wishes…Well, allow me to explain the Match.
The Match is mathematical algorithm created in the 60s by Drs. Gale and Shapley, used for proving “stable marriage” principles. Essentially it was a “love match” algorithm. Similar to the original work, the Match for residency makes a “love connection” for medical students wanting to complete their training at their favorite program.
In the fall of fourth year, students apply to residency programs in their designated specialty (and sometimes more than just one). For example, I am applying for an Emergency Medicine residency, because I want to become an Emergency Medicine physician. After reviewing hundreds, sometimes thousands of applications, programs then send out interviews to students. The real fun begins then, as students travel the country in hopes to find their “match.”
In February, students rank their favorite programs that they interviewed at, from number one to as many as they so choose to rank. Programs also submit a rank list of all interviewed students. Students are urged to rank their favorites in order and not guess how programs rank students. The Match is called an applicant-proposing algorithm because it gives preference to the applicant, not the program. As the algorithm goes down students’ lists, it “tentatively matches” a student to open program spots based on their list order and the programs’ list order of other students. Tentative matches change, but once all students (ideally) are matched, the process is complete. It sounds complicated, but I’ve been told it’s similar to Greek life.
On St. Paddy’s Day, medical students across the country will finally find out what their future holds, most commonly hidden inside an envelope. It’s a great celebration; students proudly get up on a stage and announce to their family and friends where they are headed. It’s a love connection!
I was born in Erie, Pennsylvania, but have lived in Greenville for the past 13 years. I graduated with a degree in Biochemistry in May 2013 at Virginia Tech, where I swam for the varsity team. My pursuit of a career in medicine began with my interest in biochemistry and physiology. I really enjoy reaching out to my community and interacting with people. I am excited to finish up my medical career at the USC School of Medicine Greenville.
I am nearing the end of my second year of medical school, and I think it is almost universally true that at this point in our education, students begin to feel existentially weary of school. Many of us have been students ever since we were six. We have been sitting at desks, writing notes and reading books with no set hours for no pay for at least 18 years. It’s understandable that one might tire of it all, wish for something less relentless, more tangibly rewarding, more obviously relevant to “real life.” The way many of us get through this ennui is to reassure ourselves that something better is yet to come: when we become third-year medical students, we will spend our time interacting with real patients. We will see the effects of our actions reflected in the health and demeanor of these real people. Our days will have defined beginnings and ends. Evening meals and early bedtimes will no longer feel like missed opportunities for more Step 1 studying.
I anticipated that I would encounter dying patients during my third year of medical school. Every patient has been unique and different, and each one has elicited from me a variety of feelings: the unknown, helplessness, disappointment, numbness, sorrow and even peace. My experiences have been ones that have taken place within multiple specialties and disciplines from the intensive care unit to the trauma bay of the emergency department. My patients have allowed me to be one of the final characters in their chapters of life, and I will be forever grateful for them to have participated in their closing moments.
Today’s post is brought to you by Abigail White, wife of M3 Jeremiah White. She offers an interesting perspective about being married to a medical student. Thanks for your contribution, Abby!
“So what do you do?”
It was July and my fiancé was just starting his first year of medical school. His school was hosting an event downtown for the new students, introducing them to Greenville and to each other. This was our first real med school event and I was excited to be the plus one.
It took me three tries to reach the top of my first mountain.
Coming to Greenville from Charleston I was excited about the prospect of mountain hiking with my new classmates. I love the outdoors, and my friends and family will tell you I have a unique proclivity for walking through creeks and streams, so I was very excited to find a group of students who liked to adventure as well. I consider myself a fairly active person, so I thought I would have no trouble hiking. However, on our first few excursions I found I was quite mistaken.