Follow along as I start the next chapter in my life! Also featuring anything interesting I stumble upon that I want to share.
So where did you match?! also how many scrambled, and how many eventually didn't get residencies in your class? were the scramblers surprises, as in they were students from all across the board academically/ranking wise, or where they generally the ones who struggled during the four years. Thanks.
I don’t want to say where I matched, unless you come off anon. I believe 11 people from my school scrambled, and only 3 don’t have spots right now. I’d say half were probably in the top half. I’m just guessing. A couple were no-brainers. But there are so many reasons to scramble.
Can you or your boyfriend describe the scramble experience? No one ever really talks about it until your fourth year and you are going through it yourself or seeing classmates go through it. Thanks in advance.
It was so incredibly frightening. And stressful. Even though I got a spot, basically anything that happens to him affects my life almost as equally since we are planning for marriage in a couple of years. The night before, we both made sure we had a hard copy and a digital copy of our application/class rank/clinical evaluations/transcripts. So when he found out, he immediately went to our externship coordinator’s office, which is where most of the other scramblers went. Then he just tried to email programs his app as fast as possible, starting with a program he externed at and then Philly programs and then everywhere else. I also helped him at the same time by emailing at the same time on his behalf as well as faxing in the library to programs that were fax only (which was like 5/25 programs). Everything with the scramble is word of mouth. If fellow students have connections with a program (ex: if they externed there, have friends who are residents there) then those students can call and vouch for you. Same thing with clinicians in our clinic. I would say 8/11 of the scramblers got a spot by that Saturday (Match was Thursday). I’m not sure what is going on with the other 3 students, but I’m confident they will get something by July.
So I think he got his spot because a) a couple of clinicians called up for him and b) he did a medicine rotation at that hospital and the director of the podiatry program talked to the attending he worked with on that rotation. He didn’t even have to interview with that program.
What dodo if no match? Reapply, or consider med school abroad?
Your best option is to do a mentorship http://www.aacpm.org/contactpod/program.asp which will give you some training as a medical assistant in a podiatrist’s office. You don’t have malpractice insurance, so you really can’t do anything more than that. Idk how much you get paid, but probably not a lot since you’re not bringing revenue to the practice. Then you have to visit programs throughout the year and reapply/reinterview, broadly. I’ve heard of people reapplying to 50 programs. Most of the reapplicants did well this year, so you have a decent chance at getting a spot the 2nd time around if you do the mentorship.
So the good news is I matched at one of my top choices. The bad news is my boyfriend didn’t match and I’m stuck in Michigan by myself. But he luckily got a spot in Philly that night. It was an absolute disaster and I just couldn’t stop crying. I think I’ve finally come to terms with it, although I have no idea what went wrong. I had to drive him to Harrisburg PA on a whim that day only for him to get a call from a different program while we were in the car saying he could go to their program. Then I had to see everyone in my class the next day and I wasn’t sure what I was feeling, so it was just awkward. I think I’ve stopped crying for now. I’m a little stressed with finding an apartment (I have to drive from here to Michigan to look for apartments which won’t be fun) as well as applying for my license. It’s a LOT of paperwork. And more money I don’t have.
So I think once I feel financially stable (or more stable) and am settled in my apartment, I will feel okay. This is just really stressful. We will try to see each other once a month, I guess. I know I can be independent if I really want to, so it will be fine. And I will get really good training at my program. Since it’s only for 3 years, that’s all that matters I guess.
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.