Essentially, med school entails working your butt off for 4 years, taking test after test after test, and getting pimped by doctors all so that a computer can decide your fate. That is a little simplistic, but actually what it boils down to. You can get great grades, score high on tests, and make connections with places you want to go. But at the end of the day, the residency program you want to go to ranks a list of people they want. And you rank your list of places you want to go. And then a computer matches you (if all things go according to plan).
People have told me that somehow, it all works out. Residency programs end up with people that are a good fit for their program, and students generally end up going where they want to. But it is still scary to think about a computer deciding where you are going to live for the next 3-7 years of your life. As I finish up third-year and start thinking about fourth-year, this process is on my mind a lot. Will I match? If I do, will I match where I want to be? If I don’t match…what is going to happen? Do I scramble? Take a year off? So many unknowns, but also a very exciting time.