Heart-mindblown vs. Brain-mindblown

So I interviewed at two programs about a week ago. I had to double check that. My notion of time has been even more warped than normal since interview season began.

I’m back home now, taking a med school class. I have one interview left, maybe another one. But those would be my last. Finally.

Those last two interviews I did were pleasant surprises. The first one was in a city I’d never been and my hopes weren’t very high. However, what I saw of the place in my one day stay seemed nice to live in. The program is pretty solid and I liked it.

Meanwhile, the program I interviewed at the next day…


Yes people, I was mind blown. I honestly wasn’t expecting much of the program except for the fact that it’s in the city that I adore. However, my day there was nothing short of amazing. I got a warm welcome from everyone including the Department Chair, my interview game was on point, and the residents seemed genuinely happy and were ridiculously nice. There are many changes happening in the program right now, but I’m actually excited about them. I mean, by the end of the day, I was thinking that I actually wanted to be a part of those changes and I actually felt very inspired by a few of my interviewers. How weird is that?

Plus, it was the only program so far where literally NO ONE has asked about my leave of absence. Not even the program director. No. One. Not even after I asked a few of the interviewers: “Anything in my application that stood out?”. When I asked that all I got was “I was actually impressed by your application…”

You guys, I am not kidding when I say this might be it. People who’ve gone through interviews and The Match always say: “There will be that one program that will just *click* with you.” I honestly think this program just *clicked* with me. I hadn’t had that happen at any of my other interviews so far. It feels awesome.

There are only very minor negatives I can think off the top of my head for this program. However, they are still negatives, and they still make me reconsider whether I should even put this program up at #1 in my rank order list. Those negatives would be bypassed at the top program I interviewed (see this post), which is also in the city that I adore. However, the top program has its own set of unique minor negatives. Plus, I did feel mind blown by it, but I think it was more of a brain-mindblown than a heart-mindblown like this other program was (did that make sense?).

But! Let’s be honest here, what’s keeping me from ranking this other program #1 is the mere fact that…I would feel stupid ranking it above the top program. I was given the opportunity to interview at the top program against all odds (without even being waitlisted!), and here I am throwing away the opportunity to actually train there. I feel like I’d be ranking silver above gold. Everybody knows gold has more value to it. It’s a no-brainer.

However, everybody also knows gold is more expensive, so it comes with a heftier cost. And, really, you can look good in either silver or gold. It just depends on what you make of your outfit and yourself. And, I mean, let’s be fair here. The top program is gold, but this other program is more of a lesser-gold than a silver (it’s a program with a decent reputation too). Did I get my point across? That was a weird analogy…

I have a lot to think about. It sounds easy just ranking the top program #1 and the other program #2, but what if I actually match at the top program (against all odds)? If it ends up being great, then awesome. But what if I match at the top program and I actually end up miserable? Anything can happen. There’s a higher chance of me being overworked and miserable at the top program. Meanwhile, there’s a higher chance of me being dissatisfied with the opportunities at this other program.

But guys, the *click*. That friggin’ *click* I felt in my heart is what has me rationally undecided so far.

And, to top it all off, you know those thank you emails you write after interviews? At the top program I only got 2 replies out of 5 emails I sent, and none of them was from the program director. At this other program I got 3 replies out of 4 sent emails, and the program director had this to say:

Dear Dana,

Thank you for interviewing at ***. I am pleased that you were able to meet with the faculty and residents to learn of the close-knit nature of the program and to see how wonderful our residents are! I hope you have a wonderful interview season.

(Wait for it….here it comes…)

I know you would be a wonderful addition to any residency program and we would be lucky to have you. Please feel free to contact us as questions may arise when you complete your interviews and begin to organize your rank list.

Best wishes.



That’s right, I’d be a “wonderful addition”…and fabulous

Granted, it might just be a load of BS. But there you go. Apparently they’d be lucky to have me (blushing). What’s funny is, this program actually waitlisted me at first and I didn’t get an interview offer until I emailed practically begging for one.

Meanwhile another interviewer replied:

Dana, you are very kind. I really enjoyed our discussion and I have a great deal of respect for all that you have accomplished. I hope our paths cross in the near future and the future of psychiatry is promising with people like you in the fold.


Yes, I died.

I mean, really. I have a lot to think about.

  1. “Granted, it might just be a load of BS. But there you go. Apparently they’d be lucky to have me ”

    It’s not BS. ANY program would be lucky to have you, even the top program. Seriously. That’s why I caps-locked the word “any,” because I want to make that point completely clear. The best program out there would be lucky to have you.

    So congratulations on your mind-blowing experience. I hope it works out for you and you get exactly what your heart desires. You deserve it! 🙂

    By the way, to add to the gold/silver analogy, remember that it’s a silver bullet that kills a werewolf, not a gold bullet. It’s actually gold that’s a curse to King Midas, if you’re related to him, but only “if.”

    See? Now that’s a weird analogy. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww thank you Gabriel! Don’t make me blush!

      And loved the analogies. Makes me think about what I should do (in a good way) 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. All I have to say is don’t take gold just because it would seem good on paper. If silver feels like the right place for you, in the end that’s what matters. You want a place that truly will cultivate the best YOU!! Because yes things looking great on paper is impressive but if both do you also need an experience that won’t stress you out but gives you that opportunity to be the best you and grow. Did that make sense?

    I work with a lot of residents at a highly known top match and often I see people there who just don’t have that click they are their because of the name. And they suck. It’s clear their potential would have grown better somewhere else. And it did them damage getting jobs post graduation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Cassie,

      Yes, it made a LOT of sense 😉 I think I already know what my heart desires. It’s just a matter of my brain getting used to the idea. I definitely want to be at a place that will cultivate the best me. And I got that feeling off the bat at this other program. The top program has that potential too, of course, but I didn’t get such a 100% feeling like I did at the other one.

      And either way, I loved that you mentioned the needing an experience that wouldn’t stress me as much but gives me the opportunity to grow and be the best me. Makes perfect sense. And what shame is there to that??? None at all 🙂

      Thanks for the advice love, I really appreciate it so much. Hope you’re doing well ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Working with no joke thousands of residents, fellows, and attendings, that is what I learned!!

        I’m hanging in there… Keep doing you lady!! ;]

        Liked by 1 person

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