Congratulations, you Matched! So bask in some glory, take the weekend (at least) to unwind, and enjoy yourself while the waters are calm. Hopefully, you accrued a reasonable amount of elective time to permit some R&R.
But, like the effort it takes to achieve anything worthwhile, the real hard work is yet ahead. Here are some brief words of advice and a couple of things to keep in mind:
- You didn’t do this alone, so show your gratitude to those who aided you along this journey. Send a note to your mentors and letter writers, as well as anyone who recruited you heavily. Maintaining relationships with colleagues outside of your new home program is of the utmost importance. Remember, you have been officially welcomed into the ranks of a profession, and that world is small.
- Reach out to your institution and inquire about housing availability. Most universities, particularly urban ones, have housing offices that can assist you in finding a new abode. And in many cases, there is availability at university-operated facilities that can save you serious money on rent. Typically, these units are either first-come-first-serve or available via lottery. In any case, don’t hesitate if you are moving to a new city. You will be required to submit endless paperwork to verify your employment, spousal and/or offspring status, and you may miss important deadlines if you wait too long.
- Converse with junior residents. Ask questions about what to expect, when orientation or your start date will be (it is not always July 1st), when rotation schedules come out, where people live etc. As much as you may be tempted to plan a grand summer vacation immediately, wait until you are aware of all of your upcoming obligations. Remember, having just Matched means you were hired for a job, and you don’t want to start off by requesting for any scheduling accommodations.
- Organize your to-do list and make your on-boarding tasks a priority. Make a note of all important dates, links, websites, numbers, and contact information that come your way. Fill your calendar with appropriate deadlines. You will have everything from scrub access codes to NPI numbers thrown at you. It is not terribly difficult to stay on top if you stay organized from the beginning.
- Figure out when it makes sense to take Step 3. It is by no means a requirement to take Step 3 during intern year, but the longer one waits, the more of a nuisance the exam becomes. If you can, try and take it over the summer before residency starts (you become eligible to apply to take the test right after you graduate). I know a few colleagues who did this and they were immensely satisfied to have it out of the way. Personally, I did not have this foresight and ended up spending most of my vacation this year studying for Step 3.
- Plan your move. I would recommend giving yourself enough time to relax for at least two weeks prior to your start date. You will have a ton of on-boarding tasks to complete and invariably many to-do's will be added last minute. Moving is stressful on its own, and you will want to feel completely settled leading into Day 1 of residency.
- Get ready to work.
David Kurland, MD, PhD is currently a PGY-1 resident in the Department of Neurosurgery at the NYU School of Medicine in Manhattan. He was born and raised in Baltimore, MD. You can connect with him on Twitter and Instagram.
Dr. Kurland is a 2018–19 Doximity Author.