Sunday, March 25, 2012

In case you were wondering...

…I didn’t match.

There are probably many reasons why. I was geographically limited in two ways: my custody agreement limited me to the Southeast, and I only applied in cities where I knew people. I am an osteopathic student who was competing in the MD match. Obstetrics has been a very competitive match recently. I had excellent board scores, a research fellowship, and great extracurricular and leadership activities, but my grades were very middle of the road.

So, now what? I will be doing what is known as a traditional rotating internship at a local hospital, then reapplying for obstetrics residency. It will be much harder to interview as an intern with increased responsibilities. It will be harder to transition to my new residency, if I get one, with only days or weeks off at the end of the year, as opposed to the months I will have to ponder my temporary failure this year before starting as an intern.

Sigh.

I am tired of well meaning people asking me where I will be next year. I am tired of people telling me this was meant to happen. I am jealous, painfully jealous with a pit of hurt in my insides, of my classmates who are joyfully planning their futures. Of my former classmates (I graduated a year behind my original class because of my fellowship) who already have almost a year of residency under their belts. Of people in my profession who are my age and are well into their careers.

I didn’t post about it for a while because it was too raw, too painful. And, honestly, I don’t really want to talk about it. There isn’t much to say. It’s hard enough to deal with people I work with, people in my family, and people in my life who genuinely care asking me about it in a time released fashion. I know they’re asking because they want to share in what they think will be my good news. But, it forces me to rehash my pain over and over again, like someone with a new bandage being asked what happened by every new person they see. And, then I have to nod grimly and politely when they tell me that somehow, it was meant to be.

Please allow me to be self indulgently angry and defeated. This is not how my life was supposed to be at this point. I wasn’t supposed to be staring down the barrel of forty years old, not an obstetrician, just a single mom who is wondering if I can even keep my tiny 1000 sq ft house next year on an intern’s salary. Oh, and I just got diagnosed with a chronic disease that I am managing very well, but has a small chance of crippling me. I know I am extremely lucky to be (mostly) healthy and able bodied, with good support, and smart enough to have made it into medical school in the first place. I know that this is not the end of the world – I very well may match into obstetrics next year. I can also fall back on family medicine, and then do some obstetrics, eventually, in a rural area, possibly after doing an obstetrics fellowship. Or, I can finish internal medicine and then do a women’s health of family planning fellowship.

Sigh. I am not digging for reassurance. I just needed to finally get this out.

Reposted from Mom's Tinfoil Hat

25 comments:

  1. Thank you for posting this. I appreciate seeing the ugly, the imperfect situation or experience from somebody else. Nowadays, especially with Facebook and other sites, it seems like everyone has the perfect life, with the perfect careers, kids, and husbands at the perfect time. Rarely do we see someone struggle and suffer. And, it's important to see both sides - the pretty and the ugly.

    I'm glad that you are sharing for a few reasons. First of all, because it's obviously good to get it out of your system and feel crappy. It's healthy. After you're done with that you can get up, dust off and keep going with even more strength. Second, because it reminds me that there is pain and tears involved with getting something that will be absolutely worth it. Again, we often see the good outcomes of people, the geniuses' inventions, or the polished print. We never see the failed attempts of the pain behind the success.

    I wish you all the best. Again, thanks for sharing.

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  2. I'm so sorry :( You are absolutely right - all the surgical specialties, including Ob/Gyn, become much more competitive this year.

    I wish you the best, and thank you for sharing.

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  3. Well that just sucks.

    I'm sorry it's been so awkward with your friends and family, and I'm sorry people keep telling you it's "meant to be." I think I might rip someone's head off if they did that to me under similar circumstances. Things will work out, but in the interim, this just sucks.

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  4. Ditto, what Old MD Girt said. BTW, I didn't match either. It somehow worked out, but I do know how you feel. Best to you.

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  5. MomTFH! Sometimes, the only way through it is through it! I celebrate your right to be angry, mad, sad, jealous, pissed and hurt. You are normal. Sometimes, the best thing to do is wallow in it and let it be, Sometimes that is what you need, sometimes that is the only choice, and either way, you will get spit out the other end, that happens too, and you will pop up to the surface and carry on. But, now, this is good! I honor where you are now.

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  6. So shitty. And absolutely you deserve to feel angry/sad/jealous and to punch people in the face for saying "it was meant to happen". (Although I don't recommend the latter, given the legal implications and all.) Wishing you all the best through this.

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  7. I can sympathize. I matched, but because of sacrifices I made to live with my husband, the program I matched in was so far from what I actually wanted, I felt incredibly jealous of others who actually got what they really wanted, and not just the programs they were forced to rank due to geography.

    I keep telling myself that even though I have made (and continue to make) career sacrifices, I do it because my family is most important to me. We have our whole lives to mold our careers into what we want, so if we get it wrong the first time, we can try again.

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  8. It wasn't this year, but I didn't match for a residency(pharmacy). The scramble sucked beyond belief.

    I still sometimes wish it was different career-wise.

    I'm sorry that it didn't work out the way you wanted.

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  9. Thank you for writing this post...I didn't match either...and I hear ya loud and clear. I'm tired of trying to put on an optimistic air for everyone else when all I really want to do is sulk and cry and be jealous of everyone else. I think we're entitled to it for a little while before we can pull ourselves together and get on with life.

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  10. I wanted to comment on your mentioning Family Medicine-- It is more than just a slightly viable option- you have to look at the right practices and the right residency in Family Medicine. I'm currently at a program where you don't have to do a fellowship to get out and do even C-sections. 2 of our recent grads did 100+ c-sections over their time here, and it's EASY to get between 100-200 vaginal deliveries here. Granted, you have to find the right job after that. I know of a few places in my home state (which is NOT very FM/OB friendly) where FM's do c- sections. All of that said though, you'll still likely have to do some FM, and if the only reason you're thinking about FM is to have access to OB, I'd say you may not like doing it at all... Best wishes.

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  11. I am so overwhelmed and grateful for the wonderful and supportive comments. Thanks, everyone!

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  12. MomTFH, I am so sorry this happened to you. You were meant for women's health, and you deserve to follow your dream. I hope the residency programs see that next time around. I, for one, am impressed by you!

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  13. Sounds like, given your geographic restrictions in a bumper year for OB applications, you were fighting an uphill battle from the start.

    Keep your head up. I know you aren't jonesing for advice from strangers right now, but I would second the recommendation to really look at Family Medicine. A girlfriend of mine did FM over OB for family reasons - i.e. wanted to start her own family as soon as possible and given hubby was cardiology-bound thought she needed to more family-friendly residency and profession. She's happy with the decision, but of course we are all different.

    good luck with the decisions to come.

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  14. Be sad, be jealous, be angry, you have a damn good reason for it. Then get back up and kick ass. You will find the thing that works or you, just not necessarily in the straightest of all career paths.

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  15. Sorry about your tricky situation.

    Check out the CREOG CLEARINGHOUSE. Smart people are ditching ob for greener pastures ALL THE TIME ;)

    FM is not a back up. IMHO, it's the MOST FANTASTIC field out there. Don't let the secret get out.

    If you want to do ob- DO ob.

    Why anyone would want to work in such a litigious and narrow field where you're FORCED to cut 1/3 of people to deliver their babies is beyond me. It's criminal and only getting worse. The field has hit rock bottom in every regard.

    Good luck with the next year!

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  16. I didn't get into medical school the first time around. I didn't match in EM the first time around. I got into a program that ended up being the perfect fit for me - one I hadn't applied to the first time around and that program got me my fellowship. I'm "behind" about 2 years where I wanted to be, but I still have my husband, my kid, my job that I love, and training in a subspecialty I hadn't considered before. So while I would change the feeling of not matching, I wouldn't change not matching.

    So be bitter if you want. It's okay. Just don't let it run the next year of your life. In 6-10 years, it won't matter. (And no one will know. The only people who know at my current job are individuals who I've told and people who've seen my CV and no one makes any sort of deal. There are questions from med students but they are just curious/anxious/etc.)

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  17. Do family med and women's health. It is great for me, i love 8 to 5 hours. 8 to 5 hours might be the most important piece of your life since you are a single parent. Treasure new horizons. Remember saying: if Gods are mad at you they will give you exactly what you want. Beacause in the end what you want ends up making you miserable. I had situation where I was offered a job in semi-academic top private medical center in this country. With all my dream components - high scale med care, top notch resources, brilliant peers, oppotrunity to write, publish, speak, most inlfuential and wealthy and educated patient population you can imagine. International travel, professional society leadership chance, upscale events.

    I was miserable. Work environment was abusive, ruthless and unfair. 4 out of 4 originally hired internists left the place within 3 years of opening that clinic operation. I am thriving in less prestigious environment now.

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  18. Thank you for posting. i think the fisrt commenter is right on. Don't feel bad about all the emotions you are feeling - they are all legitimate. you will rise above this. hang in there and best wishes for what i know is going to be a great future. sometimes there are more bumps in the road than we'd like.

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  19. I didn't match either. That was 12 years ago but I still remember laying on my bed in a daze feeling stunned and lost. Things did work out not in anyway that I could ever have imagined but in a wonderful way nonetheless.

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  20. Even though I don't know you -- here's a big hug! (virtually speaking). Some days/weeks/years you're just getting by, just keeping your head above water. And some days you're floating and enjoying the sun. You're a tough one, your kid is lucky to have you, and this too shall pass. Someday you will look back on this and be glad to be through it. Maybe a hug from a stranger helps.

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  21. Again, thanks for all the additional replies. You all are wonderful.

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  22. Sending support.

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  23. I matched to a backup program I didn't want, also 12 years ago. I was devastated too. Makes it worse when it feels like everyone else is cheering, right? I did forge a different career path via the backup program, but I felt betrayed.

    Now, I have a fantastic life. But that was the nadir of my medical career. Like everyone said, grieve & seethe and then you can move on.

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  24. How about this? Most ob interns are miserable. They quit all of the time. Be patient, you may just get what you want.

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  25. Doing a Transitional year before obstertrics & gynecology is not a bad idea! It may just be a blessing in diguise. I completed a Transitional year before going into Obstetrics & Gynecology by choice and it was the best thing I could have ever done. I admit that it's a hard thing to accept when it's not by choice, but the better way to look at is that it doesn't necessarily change your path and ultimate endpointe. It gives you better experience, broadens your knowledge base as a clinician and prepares you for the rigors of a field of medicine that is not very forgiving when it comes to the time you spend. It seems awful in the beginning, but I can assure you that you will feel much more prepared than your future 1st year colleagues.

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