I’m Back. Good Luck to All Candidates


Hey everyone,

Turns out when I say everyone, I mean EVERYONE. I’ve been on a (long) hiatus secondary to (residency has ruined my vocabulary) being seven months into my training as a general surgery resident. I checked on my blog periodically…I was not surprised to see that frantic 4th year medical students were searching a lot about the match. I was, however, surprised to see that search engines have latched on to my blog, and I went from maybe 100 views/month to having over 1,000 page views per month the last four months! Which is incredible considering this was started on a whim and mostly got shared with only my Facebook friends. So, welcome to those of you that came here through other means.

I’ve got an absurd amount of new experiences to write about now that I have a few months of being a real (?) doctor under my belt. I have a backlogged piece I started 6 months ago that I’m going to get back to working on, and that’s the tip of the iceberg. Now that the American Board of Surgery In Training Exam (ABSITE) is over for surgery residents, we can all take a step back to breathe. I feel I have enough control of my life to get back to writing.

Interview season is coming to a close for residency applicants. I hope you all have found some programs you like and that you’ve had some good experiences traveling across the US. At this point, what’s done is done, don’t go dwelling on what could or should have been. The deadline for rank lists is coming up in a few short weeks. I though a long time ago about going into detail about my rank list and how or why to rank programs a certain way…but a cross-pollination between my laziness and the realization that there is no perfect answer led to that never happening. Your rank list is yours to do battle with and yours alone. There are no right answers, there are only right answers for you (That’s a line I think I’m going to refute my ABSITE score with. “EVERYTHING IS RELATIVE AND THERE ARE NO RIGHT ANSWERS!” I’m sure I’ll get in the 99th percentile that way). It’s common to have clumps of programs in the “top”, “middle”, and “bottom” categories. Don’t stress too much about the order beyond that. Most surgical programs have the same core; it’s the thin candy shell that’s different. I picked a place where I felt at home and loved the people. Turns out I am 100% certain I ended up at the best program for me…if for no other reason because I have nothing to compare it to. Ignorance is bliss! Yay for naive optimism! In all seriousness, SLU turned out to be such a great fit for me.

If there was a “How It’s Made” episode on how my rank list was made, it would basically be a highlight reel/80’s montage of my med school roommate (who is now a peds resident at his top choice program) and I destroying a case of beer. We let loose, talked about programs, then progressively slapped places into order based on a gut feeling. We both turned out okay.

To the fourth years from my alma mater, Indiana University School of Medicine: I’m proud of you and hope that at least a few of you end up in St. Louis. Being away has certainly made my heart grow fonder of Indiana, and I’m pretty sure my story with IU isn’t quite over yet. Good luck to all of you, especially my fellow Bloomington campusmates (Unclear if word. Leaving it anyway).

I’m going to be re-vamping my blog. Now that I’m getting traffic, I want this to be better organized (with a home page that has like…fancy buttons and stuff. And hyperlinks. And maybe some actual navigable interface instead of one gigantic scrolling wall of text), get my own domain name, and use this as a platform to write from as a developing physician. Books by physicians (such as Atul Gawande, Michael Crichton, and Samuel Shem to name a few) have played a big part of my life, and I’d like to do something like that on a small scale. It’s going to take some time, but I want to share this crazy roller coaster of residency with the world. You’re going to get an unfiltered look into the life of a general surgery resident. Hold on to your underpants.


2 comments on “I’m Back. Good Luck to All Candidates”

  1. Dear Brandon,

    I am a Carribean Graduate
    Step 1 : 210
    Step 2: 229
    Step CK: Pass – J1 visa from Canada

    Applied this year to FM got 4 interviews, was unmatched. yog May 2018

    Please help me is it possible to match in 2019? Could I do research or more clinical experience


    1. Hey AK,

      While anything is possible, unfortunately I can’t tell the future and give you a percentage or anything. Matching is possible, there are plenty of people who went unmatched one year who matched in the next. What I would suggest you do is sit down and talk to some mentors or people at your medical school that you trust. Ask them about your shortcomings and weaknesses, and how you can fix those things in the upcoming year. You have to be honest with yourself, and have someone be honest with you, about why you didn’t match. You have to find those things and fix them. Maybe it’s some academic thing, maybe it’s how you interview, maybe it was your strategy for applying to programs. You’ve got to find that reason. If you do that, that’s the best way to boost your chances of matching in the upcoming year.

      – Brandon


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