After Match Day

By Anna Stomberg, MD

Every year the month of march brings a flurry of excitement. For some March means a time to anxiously await the arrival of the first green sprigs of grass marking the beginning of spring, others — to fill out their lucky march madness brackets and accurately predict the years NCAA champion, and to a small, but ever so influential population of brilliant medical students it means finding out where they will train and begin to develop their career as a physician: THE MATCH.

I still remember the day of the match like it happened yesterday. I barely slept the night before finding out my fate and attempted to play off the morning like it was just an ordinary day. I walked through different scenarios and tried to play out how I could react to least subject myself to social scrutiny. Pondering things like “What if I don’t end up where I want,” or “What if I cry?. The uncertainty of my emotional state was terrifying.

Flashing forward to the actual ceremony, I held the envelope in my hand as I thought back to my rank list of locations across the United States….I was likely in for a big change from my comforts of residing in Minnesota my entire life. A change I had made my rank list to reflect.

I anxiously tore through my envelope to reveal the words printed in black and white Times New Roman font: “University of Utah Affiliated Hospitals.” I was ecstatic and now began the quest of moving states a 24 hr u-haul drive across the country.

My intent of writing this blog post was not to walk you through my Match day two years ago, but to provide my top 7 suggestion on moving across the country and what do After the Match and starting the busiest, but most rewarding part of your medical training.

1.) Suggestion number one — Find a place to live and put time into researching! When you’re not at the hospital, you are at home. It should be a place to relax and kick back. Seek out good neighborhoods to look for housing and if you can afford to fly to the city to look at housing it is totally worth it. Evaluate proximity to work, parks, recreation. I got a flight to Salt Lake City for around 100 dollars flying on a Tuesday and back home on a Wednesday. The two cheapest days of the week to fly.

2.) Suggestion number two — Move to your new city AT LEAST two weeks early. I believe this is essential to get all of your belongings settled before residency starts and to do something FUN to explore your new surroundings! I moved to Salt lake City and then spent a rejuvenating week in Moab and then Zion before the grind of the residency routine began.

3.) Suggestion number three — Make a plan for how you will stay connected with others, skype, facetime, phone calls. Being away from home and friends is difficult and you’ll need them even when they are far away.

4.) Suggestion number 4 — Find a doctor and dentist for yourself. Even though we are in the medical field we are sometimes the worst patients. Take care of yourself and establish yourself with a physician that can be there for you when you need them.

5.) Suggestion number 5 — Make a routine outside of medicine and SCHEDULE it. Your life is at the hospital. Take time to make friends and acquaintances outside of the hospital and take a yoga class, go climbing, to the dog park, skiing, biking…the possibilities are endless.

6.) Suggestion number 6 — Get a financial advisor, and make a budget. But seriously… If you are like me you have spent a lot of time buried in books, but none of them involved vocabulary like “investments,” “retirement,” “disability insurance,” “Roth IRA’s” or “TAXES.” It’s not like we’ve made money in the past 4 years or anything… I was however real familiar with the terms “debt” and “interest” which emphasizes the need for a financial advisor. A tidbit of advice is that many firms offer pro-bono work for residents in hopes of gaining clients for the future — seize the opportunity.

7.) Suggestion number 7 — Look at your weeks of vacation during residency and GET OUT OF TOWN. Adventure out of your bubble to explore your new state outside of the medical circle. There are unique places everywhere. Utilize your new place in residency to explore a new locale.

And Lastly: HAVE FUN. Residency is a great time to develop relationships with people all over the world, from different backgrounds, and different training that we can all learn from. Never forget your roots, but don’t forget to seize the opportunity to learn something new!

Anna Stomberg, MD is a second year Family Medicine Resident in the Department of Family & Preventive Medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine.

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