SOAP-y Tears
March 17, 2015 8:22 AM   Subscribe

Residency filter: I did not Match into a residency program today. Any words of wisdom, advice, or success stories?

I tried for an OBGYN residency, and was genuinely surprised to get the email this morning. I had fewer interviews than I wanted, but had excellent feedback from several programs.
I've applied to the 4 OBGYN prelim programs with openings, and applied widely to family medicine. Family medicine is by far my second choice, but it's not a terrible one- I genuinely enjoyed my family med rotation. Now, I get to wait for the programs to call me, and consider my personal failings. At this moment, my personal failings seem too numerous to count. It feels like these programs have looked at me, personally, and rejected me. It's like being stood up for a second date, times every OBGYN program in the country.

While I'm twiddling my thumbs, I'm also quietly panicking that even the family medicine programs won't want me- all my letters of recommendation are OBGYN focused. Everything is terrible in all directions.

Does anyone have any "It's not the end of the world" stories?
posted by anonymous to Education (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I don't have any specific stories but I was applying in a very competitive surgical subspecialty this year. Luckily, I matched, but before noon yesterday, I was expecting to SOAP and was preparing mentally and logistically for that scenario.

I think the best thing you can do at this point is to be near a phone and prepare for the interviews that may come in. At this point, the key is to show that you're committed to the new field you've picked (despite the letters/personal statements for OB/Gyn), and come off as calm and confident over the phone.

SDN has some threads regarding the SOAP/scramble process from the past couple of years (2013/2014) with some useful info that you may want to look at.

Assuming you are an US graduate, the chances of finding a position in the SOAP are fairly good, as far as I can tell from the NRMP data.

Keep your head up and best of luck.
posted by scalespace at 8:38 AM on March 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

Two of my friends didn't match. They were both good students at (different) good schools, and two of the smartest people I know. One of them was applying in OBGYN, which wasn't even as competitive back then as it is now. This was back when you had to scramble, so they spent 2 days frantically calling unfilled programs and interviewing over the phone and finally landed in programs that they never would have considered the first time around. One of them ended up loving her program, which was pretty much the exact opposite of what she had originally wanted, and the other one transferred after his intern year to a different, better program where he was very happy. Now (10 years later) they are accomplished doctors with senior positions doing exactly what they want to be doing.

This is the worst time, because you have so little certainty. In a few days you will know one way or the other where you are going to be next year and you can start to make plans. Try to stay calm, stay in touch with your dean and your advisors, and see what comes in. Even if, worst case, you end up taking a year off and THEN doing family med, there are a lot of avenues to make that into a career in women's health. You will find a residency, you will learn how to be a good doctor, and there is no reason that you can't have a career that you enjoy.

Best of luck!
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 8:55 AM on March 17, 2015 [9 favorites]

My ex-husband didn't match and ended up going to NIH to do research for a 2-year fellowship. It made him a stronger candidate, and he matched at his first choice the following year.
posted by Mchelly at 9:44 AM on March 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

Be absolutely sure to send in all 35 applications for the first SOAP deadline and then (if you don't get anything), all 10 for the next deadline. You don't lose anything by applying to as many programs as possible.
posted by yellowcandy at 10:03 AM on March 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'm so sorry. Just a word of encouragement- I have had three friends not match in the last two years-all of them ended up with spots by Match Day, and all of them are totally fine, happy and doing what they want to do now. The next few days are the worst, but soon this is going to be totally ok. Good luck, and try to stay positive!
posted by mjcon at 3:33 PM on March 17, 2015

Sorry to hear. Definitely do not give up. You have done so well just by getting this far..and congratulations on that! My cousin: exact same scenario as mchelly above. And, met his future wife in that new program!!Best of luck!
posted by leslievictoria at 5:14 PM on March 17, 2015

I did the Match last year and remember how nerve-wracking the whole process was. Don't give up! It's not personal -- it's not at all like you've been *rejected* by the OB programs you applied to. Plenty of programs you interviewed at may have liked you quite a bit. But they all have only a limited number of spots -- maybe they ranked you 25th and the algorithm matched their last candidate 24 deep into their rank order list. Do not treat your failure to match as any sort of commentary on your worth as a soon-to-be physician or as a human being. At worst, you probably just didn't apply to enough programs.

Where to from here: SOAP your guts out. Nobody will care all that much that your letters are OB-specific, as long as they're supportive. You should also start mulling fallback plans for the coming year. Can you get a research gig with an OB doc at your current institution that will pay you enough to make rent? Come Friday, if you don't match, send emails to your adviser and all your mentors and well-wishers in positions of authority at your school and let them know that you may be looking for a job that will put you in a position of strength come match next year. Not that a research year is strictly necessary. One guy I know failed to match EM and spent the subsequent year on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, working in a hospital and becoming near-fluent in Spanish. He's now an attending at a major academic medical center.

So: what happened to you sucks, but the vicissitudes of the Match are not a reflection on you personally. Don't get discouraged. Chin up and SOAP. Worry about the next steps as you need to.
posted by killdevil at 5:41 PM on March 17, 2015

Oh, and I second Scalespace's comments above about stalking SDN threads on SOAPing. The sorts of people who post a lot on the SDN forums are generally the sorts of people none of us liked in med school, the ones who vibrate with nervous intensity and scored 270 on Step 1. But they do have a lot of good information to share if you can look past the crazy.
posted by killdevil at 5:49 PM on March 17, 2015

« Older Apple Genius's day off   |   InkMe Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.