We did it! Finally at the end of the yellow brick road! Just kidding, we almost made it to the end of the medical school road. One thing is for sure, Matching into residency gives you the biggest sense of accomplishment you can ever imagine. When you get that email and KNOW where you are headed, you can once and for all lay back, relax, and just make your way though the few weeks or months left. Stress levels go down for the first time in months. Yet, there is that uneasy feeling that there is ALWAYS something more to do. Well that after match day period is amazing, yet there is a LOT to be done.
In this post we will be covering some of the things you can do right after matching. From planning your move to a new location, to enjoying and celebrating all of your achievements. We will be discussing it all! So let’s begin with the MOST important one.
I know as busy medical students we are used to always being on the move, being behind on things, and needing to focus on something. This is NOT of those moment. Take some time to celebrate! You Matched, you have a JOB doing something you (hopefully) love. Even if you did not end up at your top choice, you will begin your formal training for your future specialty. Unfortunately, our system is not fair, and many end up not matching. So if you DID match, celebrate! If you are feeling discouraged or disappointed because you did not get your preferred choice, take some time to process it and then celebrate the fact that YOU DID IT! It doesn’t have to be something big. And it most certainly doesn’t have to involve your whole class. Celebrate with those who have supported you though this journey and who are rejoicing with you in your accomplishments.
You are going to be a badass doctor darling! This part is the most important because by this point, oftentimes we need a recharge and we need something to look forward to. What better thing than celebrating achieving your dream! If you did not match, you should still celebrate. You made it this far, and you are still going to be a doctor! There will be a myriad of emotions you will face, but that is no reason to feel bad about yourself or think you are not fit to be a doctor. The system is NOT fair, and it certainly sucks! The system failed YOU, not the other way around. A fellow medical blogger, The Vibrant Med did not match, and she wrote an amazing and inspiring piece about the experience. I urge you to GO and read her post, you are NOT alone. At this point I know nothing I say can change the way your feel or your situation. But someone who JUST went through this certainly can help you cope. So go read her story and NEVER GIVE UP.
2. Begin thinking about your move
After Match and the euphoria begin to fade, you need to begin thinking about a probable timeline, and the type of place/are you would like to be in.This applies if you matched someplace away from where you currently reside. In my case, we planned the timeline before match day, but since we did not end up where we expected then we had to rethink part of the logistics. Luckily, I had notes from my interview day and knew the areas that residents had recommended for us to live. As such, we began looking for the type of properties available in those areas and began talking about both of our preferences.
I case you are moving alone, single, or undecided, then you can begin thinking whether you want to live alone or with roommates. You can also figure out if you would prefer to live in a house or an apartment. Also think about if you would like to rent or buy. This is all going to depend on the area you will be in, and if you see yourself staying there. I am not saying make the decision the next day. But at least to begin thinking in a general sense of what you would like to do for a living situation.
3. Contact other residents, students, family in the area
This is very important if you are going to an area where you don’t have family, friends, or know anyone. Hopefully you have some of the emails of people from the program. After Match day, you can contact your program coordinator and ask for information about the area, other residents information and any questions you might have. If you do have contacts in the area, reach out to them to ask for advice. Ask them about renting vs buying and recommendations about location. Using social media, you can find other medical students and residents from the area. They are very helpful in finding popular areas where our people tend to conglomerate. Finally, you can also contact family members in the area or near by to let them know you’ll be near and to give you an idea of what the region is like.
4. Create an account on real estate websites
This might be very silly to some, but finding a place to live is the best and worst experience of your life. Let’s start with saying that there are a LOT of sites/apps to find real estate alternatives. And this is for both renting and buying. By creating an account on several places you start to get a feel for the type of property listed in each one. As such, you start getting an idea of how much it will cost to get the type of property that you want. After this, you can begin working on what your budget might be. You should already have an estimated salary from your interview season. So this allows you to begin realizing if you can afford what you want. Another thing you CAN do with this is research important aspects of certain neighborhood that call out to you. Things like safety, school districts, and other criteria you can find in some of these.
5. Plan or go on Vacation
This might be the second most important thing on this list. Whether you plan a full vacation or a simple getaway, planning to take a well deserved break is a MUST. You have worked hard for 4 years or more and sacrificed a LOT. This is your chance to enjoy life and celebrate before the start of residency. Of course you need to plan everything accordingly with your budget, but if you are meticulous you can surely find an affordable vacation option. One of my favorite resources for planning flights is Hopper. This app allows you to track flight and tells you whether this is a good price or if you should wait for a better one. It also has a feature that gives you flexible dates with the cheapest alternatives. I also love to use AirBnB. You can save a ton of money with that instead of staying at a hotel.
After this you can definitely sit back, relax, and countdown the days until your vacation AND graduation. In our case, we found a pretty sweet deal and we are going to Mexico City for our vacation! We were able to save hundreds of dollars and I am super pumped. In little over a month we’ll be on our way to Mexico. As soon as we come back it’s graduation time and then we have our big move. There are definitely a lot of exciting things coming our way and your way too soon. So it is all about making the best of it all. This is my list of the things you SHOULD do right after match day. It is definitely different and more detailed than others I saw. With this I wanted to give you some ideas in order to give you direction. For me that post-match period was very odd and I felt lost. I can only hope to help others not feel that way when the time comes.
Thanks for reading!
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