So it’s the end of Match week, and today all the 4th year medical students who matched will find out where they matched. As such, it’s time to go over The Post Match Checklist.
Stock Photo from: Pexels
So, after receiving your Match results today, you will feel a whirlwind of emotions:
Excitement, exhilaration, relief, etc.
It will feel like someone lifted the weight of the world off your shoulders… for a little while.
Then all of the sudden it will dawn on you, the exorbitant amount of debt on your shoulders and the massive checklist of things you need to get done before you leave for internship. However, there is plenty of time to take care of this stuff.
For now, take this day and this weekend and just enjoy yourself. Go out with your friends and celebrate, but please make sure to drink responsibly. Every so often you will hear about the medical student who got into a car accident or DUI after celebrating their match. This has dire consequences for your future. Designate a driver.
With all that said, instead of reading this post now, do yourself a favor and just add yourself to my email list. You’ll get short email alerts every time a new blog post is published, which is Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Then, a week or a few weeks from now, come back to this post to make sure you’re on track.
If you’re still here, let’s move on:
If you’re staying at your home institution, you probably don’t need to move really.
However, for many of you, you will be moving a considerable distance, whether it’s just a few towns over or across the nation. I would advise you to travel light if at all possible. For my internship, I moved from California to Staten Island. I literally just brought what I had with me in my suitcase. No furniture, no bed, no tv. I bought all that stuff when I got there. It’s not too hard to get a twin (or full, if you prefer) bed delivered. Then a few trips to Walmart or Target or Ikea and you’ll have most of the buildable furniture you’ll need.
My studio is Staten Island only had my bed, a night stand, a tv stand, and a dining table. That said, this was my preliminary medicine year, and my radiology residency was going to be Albany, NY. I wanted to stay lean and mean for internship.
I would advise anyone doing a preliminary year to do something similar.
It probably would have cost more to move the items I had than to just buy new ones. As such, I donated most of my stuff at the end of preliminary year and drove up to Albany with all of belongings in my Rav4.
Just remember, you’re a poor resident with likely a ton of debt. You really shouldn’t need a 110″ LCD 4K TV or super high end furniture. Remember that anything you buy now you will likely need to move later. You can pivot all you want, getting that super expensive couch into and out of your apartment in one piece is no fun.
I do realize that for some of you, you require comfortable surroundings. However, please understand that comfort comes at a cost. Please evaluate your own Value Cost Ratio before you buy a 110″ LCD 4K TV that you probably won’t be able to watch much during internship. Or before you spend $5000 on a couch which you probably won’t sit on very much other than post-call days where you binge watch Netflix.
For many of you, you will need to acquire new housing.
First things first, I would advise you to not buy a house.
I talk about this in my post: The House Buying Itch – Medical Student Edition. That said, for a select few, you will want to buy a house and there is nothing I can do to stop you. Please read these posts so you know what you are getting yourself into: Closing Costs, Buying a House, and Selling a House.
Ok, let’s look at renting now.
As I’ve stated in my prior post about a Roth 401k/403b in Residency, if you can handle having a roommate, that would be ideal to keep costs down and allow you to contribute more to your Roth 401k/403b. However, I do realize that for many of you, the idea of having a roommate isn’t ideal.
“I’m not in college anymore, I’m over having a roommate.”
I understand… however, once again, it comes at a cost. My advice to residents when trying to figure out where to live are based around a few different characteristics.
Distance to the Hospital
For some, people want to “get away from the hospital”, meaning be at least 15-20 minutes away. However, I would caution you to try to keep your commute reasonable. Remember that the minutes stuck in traffic add up over the course of the years in residency. Additionally, when you are post-call, that 30 minute commute home may feel like it drags on forever.
Then there is the consideration for inclement weather, especially those of you in the Northeast. A few extra minute commute can be an extra hour in bad weather. There are no snow days for medicine, and “not being able to drive in” isn’t a valid excuse. For some, that means staying the night before in the hospital.
While it may seem pretty cool to live above a bar like in How I Met Your Mother, it is less than ideal for a resident. You will have some periods of sleep deprivation during your time as a resident and you will want to maximize your sleep time. I remember when I was on night float that I would leave for work at 730pm, work 8pm-8am, sign out till 10am or 11am and then come home. I would then ooze out of my car, into the shower, and then into my bed until my alarm woke me up again at around 7pm. Literally just work and sleep. Survival Mode.
It may sound nice to have a 2 bedroom apartment or a 1 bedroom with a huge den all to yourself. However, in practice, it’s probably overkill. During residency, you probably won’t have enough friends come to visit you to warrant needing another bedroom. Additionally, you probably don’t need your own den. Also, remember, you still need to clean your apartment. Don’t buy extra space you won’t make use of. The last thing you will want to do post-call is clean your 2nd bedroom or your 2nd bathroom that is hardly ever used. Honestly, all you really need is a 1 bedroom or a studio during residency. I had a studio as an intern and 1 bedroom during residency.
I had no need for the 1 bedroom.
If I had a studio, like when I was an intern, I would have been just fine. It was just a larger space to furnish and clean. However, my 1 bedroom apartment had its own little garage, which was important to me since I was in the Northeast. Additionally, it wasn’t that much more money per month over a studio, so in the end, it was probably an ok decision.
Ok, now here is the rapid fire list of things you need to do before you start internship, or keep in mind for internship.
- Start “The File”. At this point in your career, this is just your Step 1, 2 and CS scores, your medical school diploma, and transcript. If you are a little zealous, you can also throw a copy of your undergraduate degree and transcript in there too for good measure.
- Understand the New Meta of Medicine.
- Evaluate your Student Loans. Since you’ve matched, you should consider refinancing your loans to a lower rate.
- Try to put away at least $100 or $200 a paycheck toward a Roth 401k/403b, whichever option is available to you.
- Set aside time to buy life insurance and disability insurance as an intern, especially if you have a family.
- Once you figure out your vacations during internship, set a date to take and pass Step 3.
- Take it as soon as possible and just get it out of the way. You don’t want it hanging over your head just before finishing residency.
- Make concrete plans to go home if you’re going to be far away.
- Like I said before, you will be like a ghost during residency. Your family will miss their doctor in the family.
- Read this post about How to Be a Good Intern.
- Take care of your physical and mental health:
- For a general overview with my retrospectoscope, read this post about Talking to Med Student Me.
No shortcuts this time, you’ll need to actually look at the list and read some of the posts.
However, if you’re down here and didn’t read anything, just put yourself on my mailing list, you’ll be glad you did.
Agree? Disagree? Questions, Comments and Suggestions are welcome.
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