With Chris Chew’s permission, this is a re-post of his journey into residency:
Going share my story as I feel this applies to anyone that didn’t match. I didn’t match my first cycle, I applied a month late because of CK and my scores were not competitive for a late applicant as well as some unforeseen circumstances.
IM was always my dream residency spot. My first year, even I was skeptical of the chances but still landed 2 IM and 1 FM interview. Now my step scores I will be honest was a 196 on step 1 and a 228 on CK with no fails along with a first time pass on CS. There is that first week of WTF do I do, I am screwed, and spiraling depression.
I hounded jobs after graduation on indeed until I found the perfect opportunity in Morgantown, WV. (The attending running the program said they will likely be doing it again next year but not as many most likely as I was the 2nd year they have done it, keep an eye out on indeed) Took a job at a smaller community hospital right across the street from WVU that has most specialties (surprising for a community hospital) and is the A-fib center for WV. Basically a glorified medical student where you will learn how to document properly if you don’t already and do upwards of 30 notes a day, see some insane pathology (saw more unique stuff and stuff that will probably never see again in the first 6 months here than the 2 years of clinicals in Louisiana, CT, NY, and MI), have plenty opportunity for case write ups for journal submissions, create assessment and plans, and present at conferences and still get paid over $20 an hour. This hospital does have a family medicine program associated with it as well which accepts 4 a year and each year 1 of us has been accepted. 4 of us matched this year from this program, most of the people had been out of medical school for several years and one matched at the program at this hospital after being out for 5. This is an example of how to stay involved, this was a talking point on every interview.’
The next word of advice, GET STEP 3 DONE. That is a huge thing and was also something that reassured programs with a low score. I also did an MPH which came up on a few interviews on why I did it and why do I think its useful (personally I did it to keep loans in repayment) Did the 1 year online with Chamberlain. Stay involved and make connections. These can go a long way with people making phone calls on your behalf.
My last word of advice besides being smart and apply to friendly places, APPLY LOCALLY. I had 10 IVs this year, 7 IM and 3 FM. This included university programs such as Marshall University and it was for IM even with my scores. Most of my IVs were within 1-2 states away outside Georgia which was my top choice and matched to. Being local is a big deal. You need to have this reflect on your application. Originally coming from CT, the area is very competitive with the nature of residencies there. Knowing I didnt want to go back there and being realistic of those residencies, I put WV as my home address once I moved to Morgantown. Cannot stress enough how important it is to think about your home address to places where you apply.
If you have a desired specialty, go for it but still be mindful of reality.