Congratulations if you have gone through the first part of this article!
The second part of my journey begins after I submitted my application to ERAS and applied to a required number of programs according to an International Medical Graduate standards.
The most distressing period starts!
I remember, the exact day when I hit the submit button. After days of polishing and molding my application, I finally came to finishing it. I was also stressed out about searching programs that would match my profile. I was spending an enormous amount of money for sending each application so I had to be extremely careful.
After days of fretting and dreading about the deadline September 15th, after submitting my application, I finally sat down and talked to my family as I thought I was nearly done with the process. But that’s not the case you see!
As the days passed by and I was waiting for interview call invites. I was going through a loop–what if I never get called? what if something in my application was wrong?–what if they had a million applicants and they never went through my application? –Calm down Sarina, is what I told myself for the next one week. When I received my first interview call, it cleared one of my questions- my application did not have any mistakes.
Over the days, I planned my first interview and practiced how to properly interview. There are lists of questions and I wrote down all my answers and practiced with friends who were also giving interviews. I planned my interviews in subsequent sequence and finished half of my interviews by the end of the first month.
I was again going through a loop. This time, it was something to do with my counterpart colleagues. They were getting more interview calls than me. I was again asking myself, programs must get a million applications, how will they call me for an interview? How will they filter me out from that group? what if I got filtered out before they even went through my application?
One of the most important fact that I almost didn’t consider in the United States of America was just like Nepal, you need contacts in every single field. If you have contacts with close ties with a residency program, you are automatically filtered into the interview process.
I tried finding those contacts! It was one of those most uncomfortable processes that I have had to do. First, I asked some of my seniors to help and the other close US-based Physicians to help. Then I asked my parents if they could help me find a small connection, that could help me make that call and shamelessly ask them to help me. I always felt uncomfortable in asking people to help with this regard because I never had to ask anyone for anything in my life.
I always got things based on my hard work and determination and that’s how I was raised. Calling people up and asking them to help was something that I never learned to do in my life. I would rather lift two 23 Kg suitcase and travel all around the USA and still don’t expect people around me to help.
But despite how I felt about asking people to help. I asked anyway, swallowing my inner morals. I called each and everyone that was likely to help in any way. And I am grateful to everyone who has helped me!
There is a peak point in the interview period and when you don’t get called before the peak then you have to expect your fate and develop a self-mechanism to deal with anything in your life. I reached that phase, and my brother was the greatest support system during that phase. When I was breaking down he helped me get through that phase!
When you come to this phase, you constantly contemplate how your previous interview was and how you could have done better, you excessively work on another plan besides residency. I started to drift to research opportunities, applied to fifty positions and started to master my plan B. I had kept my mind very focused on plan A or B. Either ways, I was constantly telling myself, my greatest strength, my family was there in each and every decision that I made.
After finishing my last interview. I knew this was still not over.
[To be continued…]