I started my first sub-I in July which went by super fast. In hindsight, I wish I had waited until August to start my sub-I’s and maybe have done a warm-up month beforehand. I was a little rusty after not having had a surgery rotation for the past seven months but I was quick to fall back into the surgery routine. Sub-I’s are essentially month long interviews where you have a lot of the responsibility that an intern would have. You’ll never work harder and be more mentally challenged than you are during those months. I was able to complete my three sub-I’s and finish up in November, just in time for interview season.
It’s extremely stressful when ERAS opens up to the programs. You’re constantly on edge waiting for an email that you’ve been chosen to interview. After applying to nearly 100 ACGME and AOA programs, I was fortunate to receive more than enough interview invites. Interview season is very time consuming, stressful, and EXPENSIVE, so I decided to cancel interviews that would be hard to get to with my schedule and lack of funds but kept enough interviews to be confident that I would match.
Interview days are long and tiring. Most programs will have a pre-interview dinner which is an informal time to get to know the residents and ask them questions. I really enjoyed these dinners because they were low stress and a good introduction to interview day, not to mention the delicious food! Interview days usually start pretty early in the morning, as early as 6 AM for some. You might interview with anywhere from 3-10 faculty or residents and usually have the opportunity to interact with the program director. Most of my interview days ended around noon or early afternoon so you have the rest of the day to travel home. My most favorite thing about interview season was meeting all the other applicants and wondering if they would end up as one of my co-residents!
After interviewing from late October to January, I was finally ready to submit my rank list in February. Ranking programs is harder than you think because so many factors go into it. We do our best to decide where we think we want to end up but that’s not always the case and, ultimately, the match decides for you. Knowing that, the month between submitting your rank list and match week is enough to drive anyone crazy.