Yes, it’s called something different now. But it’s still a scramble.
For those just tuning in, US medical residencies attempt to fill their open spots through an arcane voodoo ritual called “The Match” that links hopeful applicants with their new homes. Unfortunately, in a high stakes game of University programs versus Community, urban vs rural and future fellowship goals… not everyone matches or fills.
Everyone who gets bad news on the Monday of Match week starts to roll out their plan they quietly created and then studiously ignored, hoping they wouldn’t have to use it.
In the regular interview season, there are careful metrics, scoring rubrics and invitation protocols. Those all get… abbreviated in the mad dash to find a position that isn’t Fairy Tale, but at least short of a Horror Story. Programs sift through literal piles of referrals and politics over who gets a shot at being considered.
There’s a certain brutality to it – having to go on the professional equivalent of speed dating hours after being told “It’s not me… it’s YOU.” The folks that you put on your best face for – they wanted someone else more than you.
You question your value, your recruitment program, how you look to folks that don’t understand just how great the cafeteria burgers are, or the set of extra comfy chairs in the sunny corner of that lounge on 6 north. You question it extra hard being the junior faculty who took their first shot at making the interview and rank order list, wondering if your director is going to give you another chance next year.
So of course my solution in this scenario is to dust off my skates and put myself back on the track with Veterans of Detroit Roller Derby who had been skating every week while I had been interviewing and shuffling applicant folders.
Past Kat is pretty savvy. She knew that in the event of a good match, it would be a welcome celebration, affirming that yes, I am still Badass-adjacent.
She also knew that during previous dark times, Roller Derby had Saved My Soul.
So I drove down I-75, mentally reviewing the edit to the edit to last version of our rank list my partner had sent and listened to Michelle Obama tell her story “Becoming”. The story about how she wasn’t enough. That she was an impostor just waiting to be found out and dismissed as unworthy.
It was a moment of liberation. The knowledge that no amount of Ivy League Education, professional accomplishments or position of authority is every going to quiet the tiny but ugly voice in the back of your head.
So you better just strap on 8 wheels and get to hitting. You scramble with everyone else and find your missing people to spend the next three years with. You fake confidence and certainty that the choices you’re making are the best available.
And then, sometimes…. you make it. Detroit Roller Derby practices are going to be a welcome escape from the next interview and match season – which I’m of course, already prepping for.