Submissions for Rank Order Lists span from January 15th to February 24th.
I still haven’t decided on a final Rank Order List, but I have my top three programs figured out long ago. I have decided the following: I will be ranking the heart-mindblown program #1 and the world-renowned institution #2.
Sounds like a stupid move, right? But it doesn’t feel like it. Both programs are in the city that I adore, but I definitely clicked more with the heart-mindblown program. Whenever I think of placing the top program #1 it just doesn’t feel right. My gut tells me: Don’t do it!
I’ve done summer internships with the world-renowned institution before. The summer internship during which I decided I wanted to be a doctor in 2009 was affiliated to this institution. However, the internship I did in 2012 during the throes of my depression was affiliated to this institution also. And that was a disaster in terms of my mental health. It was the first time I seriously considered suicide.
Thankfully, I am no longer the lady I was in 2009 or in 2012. I am 2016 Dana. And 2016 Dana’s gut thinks the following:
I am a very capable person. I know I deserve to train at the world-renowned institution. If they didn’t think so too, they wouldn’t have invited me to interview without even waitlisting me. I’ve been at the world-renowned institution before. I know the culture. I know the people. I know I would thrive there.
However, I am well aware that with a world-renowned institution come many negatives, among them fierce competition and a workload few can take on without losing their leftover marbles. I am not a person of competition. Actually, I loathe competition in most cases. I don’t like the person competition turns me into. Been there, done that.
Meanwhile, the workload scares me, and I’ll be frank with myself and say it out loud: I am afraid of becoming a victim of the system. Things could go wonderfully well, but they could also go wonderfully wrong. I am not afraid of admitting this if it means I will thrive at a less intense place and still keep my relative health and stability.
2009 Dana used to think she needed the world-renowned institution’s diploma to be somebody. 2012 Dana saw the ugly side of the world-renowned institution and her low self-esteem made her think she wasn’t worthy of training there. But 2016 Dana knows better. 2016 Dana prefers to be safe than sorry (if sorry means I’ll end up in the obituaries).
I am really excited about the heart-mindblown program, even more so than the top program. And they seem to be excited about me. They are the only program so far from which I recently received a call from the Program Director asking if I had any questions and telling me they will probably rank me highly. Then yesterday the Chairman of the department sent me an email asking the same thing. Programs only do that when they’re really interested in you. And to think, this program waitlisted me in the beginning!
I have already informed them that I will be ranking them as high as #1. And I will stick to that decision. It feels right.
But I won’t get prematurely excited. If there’s anything I’ve learned in my four years of hearing stories about this process, it’s that nothing is as horribly unpredictable as the Match. I might end up at my #1, but I might well end up at my #2, at my #5, or even at my #9.
And what does that mean? Yes, I will rank the programs I interviewed, but I have to come around to the idea of matching at any one of them.
I’ll just keep on doing my own thing, wherever that will be.