a young pakistani doctor blogs...
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
  I'm back
I think I said once on the blog that if I’m not writing for a length of time, it usually means things are not going well and indeed this has been the case during this long absence.

Around the middle of March, I slowly came to the realization that I’m not going to make it for the 2007 match. To make 2007, I’d have to finish both Step 1 and Step 2 CK by September at the latest. I talked this over with Aya and Moiz and a few other friends. They all initially encouraged me to give it a try, so for about another week I tried working some 12 hours a day, which is what I needed to do to make 2007. However, I failed miserably and, discouraged, decided to forgo the 2007 match. I talked it over with my fiancé, who also said she didn’t feel ready enough to make it for 2007. Since then I’ve mostly been amotivated, feeling like crap and wondering what I’ll do in the year 2007, after my steps.

I’m tied into the Steps along with my fiancé. We are both planning to match together someplace and so we can’t really afford not to do well in the Steps. I felt that if we both got low 90s/high 80s, it might be trickier to match together in a good hospital than if we both got high 90s. This has always been a consideration and it was what forced the decision to let go of 2007. If I were going it alone, and a double match was not mandatory, I would have gone ahead and been happy with whatever score I got, using it to get into whatever program I could. However couple matching is no joke and the couple trying to match in the same place must be in a really good position when they apply, otherwise if they don’t match in the same hospital, or the same city, one will have to give up a year and gamble their career on getting a match in the same city the next year.

It has been difficult giving up on 2007 and abandoning a plan that had been in my mind for the better part of a year. After these steps, I will get married, and not having a good job is also somewhat of a concern. I hope we can both get paid house jobs somewhere in Islamabad, otherwise being married with no money at all does not seem like a great prospect to me. It’s definitely something that needs to be sorted out, but for now I’ve got to put it on the backburner, redraw my study plans and find it in me to pursue them with some motivation. The prospect of making the 2007 match was a huge motivating factor for me because I wanted to be independent and this was a great way to go about it. I don’t have that motivation anymore and it’s been tough to muster the same sort of interest in the books that I used to have. I’ve lost a considerable amount of steam and my study has gone down the toilet as a result.

As always, when I’m not doing something productive with myself I feel like trash. My self-esteem has not been at enviable levels these last couple of weeks. However here I am, putting in a blog entry, so something must be up.

Nothing is ‘up’ really, it’s just that I’m finally learning to live with my decision, and am feeling hopeful for the future. Knowing that you’re not going to be starting your residency anytime soon has been difficult to swallow and as weak and pathetic as I am, it’s taken some time for me to adjust to the new reality of the situation. I’ve decided on a date in August now, and am aiming for a 99, and am hopeful that I will get it, as will my fiancé. After we score brilliantly on our steps, we’ll start a house job together in Islamabad. I’ll work very hard and hone my clinical and diagnostic skills during the house job and do my best to publish something to boost my CV. I’ll go to the US around May next year to give my Step 2 CS exam so that I’ll be fully certified when ERAS opens in September and so I can give Step 3 as soon as I go back for the interviews in October. It’s a plan, and I’m learning to feel more and more good about it.
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Recent med school graduate from Peshawar, Pakistan. Started blogging when in throes of final year exams. Currently studying for USMLE Step 1. Aiming for the 2008 Match. I blog about my studies, my worries, and my thoughts on life. I live in Islamabad.

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