Follow along as I start the next chapter in my life! Also featuring anything interesting I stumble upon that I want to share.
15 days before Match Day. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
So after interviews, I got a call from my #3 choice’s director saying he was going to rank me and I did well in my interview. So that means I’ve only heard from 2 programs, with minimal feedback. A lot of people in my class CLAIM they already know where they’re going (which is never set in stone…), so I’m kind of worried. But I don’t know if I actually should be worried. My bf has not heard anything from any programs, but a program he really likes is actually not very competitive and he visited a couple days after CRIP and they seemed happy he came back lol. So hopefully we’ll both be fine.
After CRIP, I went back to my January externship. I was so checked out, man. And the chief resident was being kind of a douche and making me and the other extern help him with his research for like hours a day (???) talk about scut work. And he called us student slaves, which I didn’t appreciate. I’m sorry, but we’re HUMAN BEINGS above all. Thank you very much.
Then I was in clinic in February. It was good to be with classmates again and to not have any real responsibilities lol. I started working out and eating better again. I’ve been getting used to an at-home 100% bodyweight routine, 30-50 mins a day so I can attempt to manage working out during residency. We’ll see. Also my bf was on an externship in Feb and he was “tattled” on for telling an attending at another program at a lecture dinner that his program had nothing going on the next day (which was true), so the assistant director assumed he was bad mouthing the program. So then he was told if he left 2 days early to drive to Philly he would fail the rotation. Motherfuckers. How unreal and insecure.
Now I’m living at home for March doing my VERY LAST MONTH OF SCHOOL, at an office. I’m just shadowing, but I might be able to do injections and nail avulsions with a more laid back attending. Then April and May I’m straight chilling. Hopefully March 20th will go my way.
After going through basically everything so far, do you have any advice for students that have bad grades? I'm probably going to complete first year with a 2.3 GPA (I don't foresee any F's though). I know I get knocked out for a lot of 3.0 or higher programs, but do I have a chance? I want to be a podiatrist, but if I don't have a chance at success with such a low GPA, it's better to know sooner than later. Thanks.
I’m not really sure how that will affect you, to be honest :/ With the shortage (that may not be corrected completely by the time you apply to residency), it’s definitely worrisome. I’m also worried that you may not pass boards the first time with such a low GPA. It’s better to learn the material first time around and then review for boards. And you are correct that you are already limiting your selection of programs with a <3.0 GPA. I would talk to someone at your school to try to figure out what you can do differently study-wise. You’re going to be hit with quite a few heavy classes (path, micro, pharm) your 2nd year.
Congrats on getting through interviews. How important would you say research is to the whole process? Is it something they look for during those interviews? Did you do any yourself? How necessary exactly is it (can you be competitive without it)
I didn’t do any research in podiatry school. If I had to wager a guess, it MAY be important at heavy research programs (ex: Dekalb). It’s not like anyone in my interviews asked me “Why didn’t you do research?” No one asked me about anything on my CV, actually. Interviews are mostly academic.
Did you live on campus when you were at Temple? What were the dorms like? How are the facilities overall at Temple?
I did my first year. The dorms are kind of shitty and expensive for what they are, but you don’t have to worry about furniture and utilities. You also don’t have to worry about a commute, and you live near a lot of your classmates. The facilities at OUR campus are nothing to talk about, really. There’s the dorm building (that also has a few offices, like financial aid) and the regular building. The gym is small and only open if a student is working there. The anatomy lab is outdated. They did just update our library, though. It has a lot more computers and empty work stations with outlets at every desk, I think.
So I’m DONE with interviews, and just have 3 more weeks of my current externship, a month of clinic, and an office rotation before I’m completely done with school. It feels spectacular, obviously. Let’s go back a few months though:
OCTOBER: This was when I went back to Philly for clinic. Truthfully, I probably learned the most this month compared to any of my externships. But that’s because I worked alongside the Temple residents, and they are very academic. Plus, our clinic group really pushed one another to study. I went through PRISM like 4 times and had a mock interview at the end of the month. We also each had to do a presentation for the 3rd years. The residents did a lot of presentations for us, which really helped with studying. It was a pretty good month, overall.
NOVEMBER: This was my #1 choice externship. I expected to be super busy but as a student it wasn’t all that bad. I was assigned 3 weeks of being pretty much in the OR and that’s it lol, with some clinic, and 1 week of office clinics. I learned a lot here, and I love the program. Super super busy.
DECEMBER: This month was okay. Way too much inpatient for my liking, but I wouldn’t be miserable if I ended up here. Also a lot of diabetic foot emergencies, like a lot more than most programs. I was the only student, so I had to round every single day which was tiring with sometimes like 15 patients. I learned a good amount, though. Just had difficulty studying for boards at this point. This was my busiest externship, sometimes getting home 830 or 9 after going in at 645.
I’ll jump in here and say what I used for boards. I guess I’ll start with what I was using before externships began. I started going through Crozer back in February, lightly. I got through most chapters twice. Then I did PRISM like 4 times in October. I started Pocket Podiatrics in November and by the time boards rolled around, I got through it twice plus at least half a 3rd time. I took boards January 3rd and felt prepared enough, but of course I don’t know if I passed or not until the 24th. If I do fail, I have no idea what I’ll do differently.
JANUARY: My 5th and last externship. I haven’t done much yet besides rounding, but I know it’s a good program. Clinic is a little hands off for students, and I haven’t been in the OR yet since another extern is doing that right now. They have good academics. The director isn’t very talkative with students, but he seems very invested in the program and he gets along with the residents.
INTERVIEWS: Okay. Here we go. This is the grand finale! I had a social Wednesday night and almost another one that was canceled, 6 interviews Thursday, 3 Friday, and 2 Saturday plus a callback. Yeah, that’s a lot. HOWEVER, maybe I have just good endurance or something, but I did not feel wiped out at all after this whole event. The first night was a little tiring, yeah, but I was fine the next two days. I wouldn’t recommend doing nearly this many in one section PLUS having to stay 3 more days on top of it for more interviews, though. I think I was only able to keep my energy up for 3 days.
THURSDAY: My first interview was mostly social which through me for a loop! I wasn’t prepared at all for social questions at this point. So I don’t know how well that went. The next one I got a crazy ulcerated melanoma case WHATTTTTT. So not fair. It looked like just a regular ulcer lol. They also had a couple of social questions, just to get to know me better. The 3rd one was pretty straight forward with a couple of social stuff, except I was getting stuck on how one of the attendings worded something with bone tumors. Then I had one that was harder than I expected with rapid fire pictures that were not clear x rays at all. And “social” questions that were a bit questionable (ex: any specific externships you absolutely loved/hated?) My next one was my top choice program, and it was a straight forward lis franc turned compartment syndrome. I felt like I nailed the majority of the interview. Then I didn’t get a callback and was devastated. I guess there’s a chance the callbacks THIS YEAR (versus in the past) were to get to know some non-externing people better, but I doubt it. Oh well. It’s a pretty competitive program nationally and I’m not the MOST awesome student. But pretty awesome :P My last one was at 8:10 at night so I was pretty spent by then. Pretty straight forward academic questions, with a couple of social questions that through me way off guard. I also didn’t get a call back from this program, but again, there’s a (more decent) chance this was to get to know other students better. I had a pretty good month with this program.
FRIDAY: I had 3 this day. The first one was one room with the residents doing 2 case studies, fairly straight forward. The next room was with the director and an attending asking pretty normal social questions. The next one was…ready…75 minutes long, haha. This was the doozy interview. 15 minutes for 5 stations. I somehow survived without not being exhausted. The first one was pretty easy, the 2nd one was with the director. The case wasn’t that bad, but he asked a few questions that were very difficult. The 3rd room was pretty difficult as well (ex: describe the biomechanics of a bunion deformity from mild to severe). The next room was a really enthusiastic guy with a couple of ankle cases, then the last room was I believe a case with some questions (not really rapid fire, just questions). Okay, so phew. Then I had an interview with 2 pretty straight forward cases where I didn’t even have to ask for x rays or PMH or anything.
SATURDAY: My morning interview had a pretty difficult pilon fx case that I stumbled with. Then a rheumatoid revision case, which was okay. The last one was 3 rooms 10 minutes each, with a mix of cases and rapid fire. The rapid fire was actually the easiest. I think I got all but maybe 1 right during all 3 rooms. The first case was a triplane ahhhhhh. But I got through it, he said I was doing well. The next 2 cases were more straightforward. Then I had a more social callback, where they wanted to make sure I would be a good fit for the program.
All in all, it wasn’t that bad. My #2 choice’s director expressed interest in me after my interview, which makes me very excited. But we’ll see what happens. It’s a tough decision since Michigan has so many good programs. I’m glad it doesn’t seem like I’ll scramble but who the hell knows. Now I’m going back to Michigan!
did you visit programs before applying to externships? if so, what questions did you ask or what did you do during these visits? also how do you make your self stand out when applying to externships. thanks!
I did not visit any programs that I later externed at. I did not visit any programs before 4th year. I did visit every program I applied to for at least 1 day. On every visit, some of the questions I asked were:
- Call schedule
- Academic schedule
- "What’s a typical day"
- How many attendings work with you
- Average in-house patients at a time
- Research opportunities
- Diversity of surgeries
- What is the interview like
As far as applying, I narrowed myself down to a geographical area for personal reasons and made sure to visit every program I wasn’t externing at before it came time to submit my application. Between my decent grades and the initiative I took to at least visit for a day or 2, I got interviews at all except 1. With that said, that doesn’t mean I have even a decent shot at a few of those programs since I didn’t do an externship there. I feel more confident I will match at one of my externship programs.
I’m not sure how much I really “stood out” while ON externships. My quiet demeanor and fear of offending others (so I rather keep my mouth shut and not contribute to a conversation) may be my down fall in the match. Who knows. However, I tried every day to work hard, be early, never complain, and study so I looked good if I got pimped.
How serious is the residency shortage? Do you think the effects are amplified because podiatry is a smaller field or is it something every podiatry student should be concerned about? Are there any signs of it getting better or worse?
I don’t think every podiatry student should be worried. My class has not gone through the match yet, but I’m going to assume that the people with very high GPAs who didn’t match last year have something else going on (i.e. language barrier, abrasive personality/know-it-all, problem with being late). When I got advice about externships, I viewed it as a checklist I should be completing every single day. You need to do as many things right to maximize your chances to get a residency.
So basically you really just apply to pod school? There's no extra bullshit like for med school? Like research or extra curricula, or hours, or anything?
I wouldn’t say don’t do extracurriculars. You need to at the very least shadow a podiatrist and obtain an LOR from him/her. Your EC’s don’t matter nearly as much as for med school, though.
Does every podiatry student do the same surgical residency or are there differences between the kinds of surgical residencies?
There are no OFFICIAL differences, with the exception of a few being 4 years (versus 3 years). However, the quality of programs is on a broad spectrum. I am applying to all the programs in Detroit/metro Detroit area, so I’ve been lucky with seeing all types of pathologies. However, different geographic areas will see different things. The relationship with Ortho at the hospital severely affects a program, as well.