Do you feel that your choice of electives had any impact on your CaRMS match? If yes, please give a brief description?
Yes, was on the fence between two specialties. I had much better elective experiences in the specialty I ended up ranking first and matching to – I would say my elective experiences really helped me to make the decision.
The fact is, you will probably be happy at many places and programs that end up on your rank order list. When waiting for your match result, remember that what will be, will be. Chances are, you will end up somewhere where you can enjoy residency and life outside the hospital, and this does not have to be your number one choice (even though that’s what we all hope for, and what I hope for you!).
What was the most valuable lesson or experience you had while going through the match process? Can you describe this?
For some people, choosing a specialty or ranking programs is a breeze, and there is not a shred of doubt present when submitting lists or applications to CaRMS. But, the fact is, many of us were (and still aren’t!) quite sure what they want to do or where they want to end up. While CaRMS is a very important step in finding your path and in your medical journey, it’s not the final one. There will be opportunities to find your niche or make changes in the future. That being said, when trying to figure out what, exactly, it is you want to do, and where you want to go, listen to your gut. If the idea of something does not sit well with you, try to think about why. Maybe your heart is no longer in surgery, or family medicine, or psychiatry, but you really loved your internal medicine rotation. Apply! Don’t feel pressured to rank things or only apply to certain programs because that was what you where “supposed” to do. Talk to your classmates, friends, family, and trusted confidantes about what’s going through your mind. I found CaRMS to be a huge time of self-reflection and exploration; and, while there isn’t a huge amount of time in Med 4 to “discover yourself”, I found a lot of peace by starting that journey and choosing specialties and rank orders based on what I knew about myself and where I wanted to go at that moment in my life, and not by ranking things on what I thought I was “supposed” to be doing or what I thought others expected of me. I think I came out of the process much happier and optimistic in the end having done this.
What did you do in your four years of medical school that you found to be the most helpful during the CaRMS process?
Honestly – probably making excellent friends in medicine who understood the pressure of the process. Being able to support one another and have someone to bounce ideas off of, proofread important letters, and remind each other of deadlines is invaluable!
Be yourself – the ultimate goal is to end up in a program where your true personality, skills, and abilities are appreciated and valued.