Grad-school, relationships, and geography... can all three work?
August 2, 2009 9:55 AM Subscribe
Grad-school, med school, residency match, geography...help?
posted by DeucesHigh to education (12 answers total)
[For the TL;DR shortcut to the most important question, skip to Paragraph 4]
So in the fall of '10, myself and ms. deuceshigh will by simultaneously applying for graduate school -- medical for me, and Ph.D. psychology for her. No problem so far, as we'll be coordinating our (numerous) applications, and be able to at least match cities for the subsequent 4 years. And if that doesn't work out, at least we'll know right away, before either of us starts.
The problem will be 4 years later, the binding Match for medical residency. For those who aren't familiar, basically the med student applies to all the residency programs they could see attending, and rank them. The schools do the same for all of their applicants, and then the lists are compared to give residency assignments, which are binding. There are provisions for *medical school* couples to be matched together, but obviously that isn't the case here. The only way to get out of your match is serious hardship (a dying parent, or the like), so for all intents and purposes, you go where you're matched. So, 4 years down the road, I will be heading to a residency that -- while not totally random -- involves a great deal less choice than we've had before. She will still be in her Ph.D. program, with 3 years remaining, and presumably won't be able to move.
So I guess this is a multi-parted question. Is there anything about the Match that I'm not taking into account? Is it feasible to seed the top of my list with all the schools in the same city as her Ph.D. program, with any chance of ending up at any of them? [yes, I guess that can't really be answered without knowing my exact future situation, but maybe in general terms]. Would I be hurting my career to go to a lesser-ranked residency, in order to stay in a particular geographical area?
On the other hand, has anyone taken a 3-year break during a Ph.D. program, or is that a terrible idea? In her opinion, that would be the preferable choice over delaying the residency, so she'd like to hear peoples' experiences with taking time off. Did you have trouble returning? Is it easily doable at some schools, and a literal impossibility at others? Does it entirely depend on the department and advisor? Do many people have kids during that time, and if so, is it realistic to expect to return and finish the program?
We've had the long-distance-relationship talks, but for the purposes of this question, assume the option is not on the table.