Recently, I sat through my school’s annual match and career talk. First and second years’ talks were titled, “Match 101 and 102” respectively. I dutifully paid attention, but I remember thinking to myself that picking a specialty, rank order listing, and matching were a long while away. Thus, for the preclinical years, I was happy to stay in the nebulous zone, still exploring all the specialties as possible career paths by shadowing physicians in different fields and seeking advice from upperclassmen and residents. Fast forward to this year’s talk, “Match 103,” and it was overwhelming to have all that information thrown at me. While I was comfortable with my undecided path before, I am now plagued by this sense of indecisiveness. There are choices about away electives, acting internships, when to take Step 2 CK and CS, etc. Timing and deadlines were emphasized and steps to take now from CV and personal statement drafting to mentor and letter procurement were strongly encouraged. Luckily, even though we had this one overview session, I’ll be assigned to an advisor or two (depending on which specialties I request) and together with my advisor(s), I’ll get some more individualized guidance on how I would like to shape my career goals and what I need to do to get there, starting with residency applications.
I know that I’m interested in primary care and working with underserved populations, but beyond that, I’m not entirely quite sure what my direction will be. Will it be on the frontline as a family doc or internist? Or, will I be a pediatrician and hone in on my interest in children and adolescents and their well-being and development? With my three rotations behind me, I have witnessed the impact of mental health on the overall health status of an individual. Do I want to pursue psychiatry and make a career out of attempting to understand the human psyche and how it manifests as dysfunction in the form of diseases of the mind? I’m glad that I still have the rest of my third year to figure this all out and most of all, support from my school to reach my hopes and dreams.