Match Day Anxiety #illumedati 1

Hi Everyone! It’s Medicine Mondays again and this post is… late… again. My apologies. Twitter let me know that today is the day for the AOA Match, and congratulations to everyone who matched. I must again apologize that I didn’t know it was the AOA Match Day today. However, I have made note of it and will research it and try to talk about it more next year. For those in the NRMP Match, it’s February, and the day for the Rank Order List deadline inches ever closer which may cause you some Match Day Anxiety.

Stock Photo from: Pexels

I was remembering back to when I was an MS4 and that the most difficult part of the match for me was the waiting.

It’s like you are flying to all these different places and interviewing and it’s all just go-go-go. Then all of the sudden your interviews end and everything kind of stops. Your 4th year rotations are likely pretty easy around this time period (and they should be!) so you have a lot of free time (relative to 3rd year).

It feels weird.

It feels like you aren’t moving forward. For those on “The Track” who never “Fell Off“, this will be the first real breather you’ve had since undergrad. Even though I technically fell off the traditional Track, I didn’t really have a break between finishing college and starting at my Caribbean Medical School. However, I did have a short break between finishing my 5th semester on the island and starting my clinic rotations, since you can’t start rotations until after you pass Step 1. However, that time period was slightly different. There was a tremendous amount of anxiety waiting for my Step 1 score, but once it came there was a huge feeling of relief… and then just waiting for clinical rotation placement.

I guess this time period is most similar to waiting for your Step 1 score, however, the sweeping changes from where you Match are on a different scale, I think. You have all these things you will need to do after the Match, but can’t do until after you know where you Matched… which causes anxiety… at least it did for me. This anxiety caused the days leading up to Match day to stretch on as if time had slowed down…

So I’m here to remind you of something.

Before you were ever John Smith, MS4 or Jane Jones, MS4, you were just John and Jane. John and Jane both had their own lives outside of medicine with hobbies they enjoyed. Take these weeks while you decide your Rank Order List and focus on you.

What did you enjoy doing before medical school, or even before undergrad?

Climbing? Hiking? – Go on a trip.

Surfing? Bodyboarding? – Go surf a beach you’ve never been to before. Except Sandy Beach.

Eating Steak? Sushi? Buffets? – Go eat lots of good food, embrace your inner foodie.

Video games? Reading? – Buy a new game (or two or ten). Read a new book (or two or ten).

Watching movies? – Go do a Harry Potter or Star Wars Marathon. Or watch Friends from beginning to end.

Knitting? Crocheting? – Go find a new pattern online. Make me a Pokémon.

Photography? Videography? – Grab your phone or camera or whatever and go for it. I wish I could edit videos.

Just go do it.

It’s ok to not be Student Doctor John or Student Doctor Jane for awhile.

You will have the rest of your life to be Dr. John and Dr. Jane, and you may not have much time as an intern/resident for your other interests.

Take this time to remember what makes you… you. Then you can always look back on this time before “The Match” and remember what you enjoy, so in those moments during residency when you get a Golden Weekend or your week off, you can remember what is important to you.

Also, never forget the importance of family. Spend time with them when you can. While it may be difficult to understand, you will be almost like a ghost to them during your residency. Since my parents lived on the West Coast, and I did my residency on the East Coast, I didn’t seem them much. I tried my best to call my parents once in awhile, but with the time difference and the long hours of residency, it wasn’t easy. I think I only managed to get out to California to visit my family 2-3 times during my 6 years of training. Sometimes my mom would call me and leave me a voice mail just asking if I was still ok…

Anything else you wanted to say?

Yes, one last thing I forgot to mention in my Rank Order List post is that you may want to factor in the importance of a Roth 401k/403b.

This will be a personal decision, but it may sway the decision of some who are on the fence about whether to stay close to home or to go far way for residency. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention it here. If you are able to swing it, the “dream scenario” is:

Maximizing a Roth 401k/403b for 3+ years in residency, then here are the numbers:

Compound interest calculator — $1, $1500 month, 3 years, 6% = $57,305.99

Let that compound for 35 years and… you get $440,458.81 to use in retirement… once again, post-tax and therefore tax-free.

Nearly half a million dollars… in post-tax money… for retirement.

This is difficult or borderline impossible without outside help from family/friends. If you have the option to stay with friends/family and take the money you would have put towards rent ($1500/month) into your Roth 401k/403b instead, well, then that’s the dream.

The prospect of staying close to home for residency carries some significant benefits, in my opinion.

Having a strong support system close is very also helpful… and is probably undervalued during the excitement of the Match.

Please do some deep introspection to find out what is really important to you.


Pre-Match Anxiety was very real for me, and it may be the same for some.

It makes the days leading up to the Match feel like time has slowed down.

Take time for yourself to find what makes you… you.

Don’t forget about power of the Roth 401k/403b and compound interest.

Revisit my Rank Order List post.



Agree? Disagree? Questions, Comments and Suggestions are welcome.

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