Today I have finally received a confirmation email letting me know that I should be expecting an acceptance letter soon. The email was titled “good news”. At this exact moment I am wanting to celebrate as much as I can. Unfortunately I am snowed in. My door is literally frozen, unless I feel like breaking it, I don’t think it will be possible to open it. That being said, I don’t know that much is going to be posted on here. I believe that my experience before residency is the same as everyone else’s. Same stages at least.
Stage one: the choice. Trying to figure out what you want to do for residency, if you want to do a residency at all, or is general what’s best for you. Then deciding what specialty. Your personality will play a big role in this. What do you see yourself doing? Some people love endo, some prefer perio, others like to stay busy most of their day. Those I would imagine like surgery. Some prefer the lifestyle, ortho and radio. Myself, it was simple, I like technology, and I like dentistry, radiology combines both for me.
Stage two: The research. You begin by simply looking it up on the internet. With the exception of OMFR you can pretty much find answers on any questions you have for the other specialties. Regardless you are much better off going to see a specialist yourself, asking questions, even going to a program or two. I went every other weekend for months to an orthodontist before deciding that ortho was not for me.
Stage three: applying. We all know how much fun applying can be. Basically a lot of paperwork, stress over letters of recommendation and whether they’ve gotten there or not. Also a lot of bureaucracy involved with it. Then there are the application fees and the thoughts going back to your head of, is this worth paying for? But you do it. All for the hope of doing what you want to do. Then there are the interviews, and sometimes the ass kissing and such. Just things like that that drive you a bit nuts but you still think to yourself that “it’ll be worth it”.
Stage four: waiting. This to me is the worst. You haven’t heard anything, you don’t know if you’re in, if you’re not in. Which is it? The longer you wait the worse it gets. This probably doesn’t apply too much for the PASS/MATCH system applicants, since they have a set date as to when they’ll know. Still though, I’m willing to bet that the wait is just as stressful.
Stage five: the answer. Today was the day for me, and it was a great answer. I got very lucky as well since I applied to only a single program. This stage isn’t too bad, since you at least know where you stand, whether you have to try again next year (and you should) or whether you are in a program that you like and you need to start preparing. In my case, I will start preparing by selling my beautiful car and getting something much cheaper. I will start researching into which area I want to live in San Antonio. I’ve visited but don’t know much about it. I’m very excited and this is going to be the beginning of a huge change.