Last night was the deadline for Mr. Darling to submit his rank list for possible residency programs. The list has been submitted, and now the choice of where we'll be spending the next 3-5 years is out of our hands - completely, utterly, somewhat terrifyingly out of our hands.
(For those of you who don't know, here's a really quick, overly simplified explanation of how the Medical Residency Match works: medical students apply to programs all over the country. Typically, the very minimum they're advised to apply to is 10, and most apply to quite a few more. If a program likes you on paper, they'll invite you to interview. The typical goal is to get at least 10 interviews. After a student is done with interviews, they rank all of the programs they like in a list on a matching website, with number one being the program they like most. At the same time, all of the programs make a list of all of the students they interviewed and liked, with student number one being their favorite. Then, the matching software basically goes through and matches each student with whichever program is highest on their list that also ranked them highly. So, if your number one program choice has 10 spots to fill, and they ranked you as one of their top ten picks, you end up at that program. But if they ranked you number 12, you only get to go there if at least two of their top ten matched with other programs they liked better.)
Mr. Darling interviewed with quite a lot of programs, and out of those, he's ranked eight programs as ones that he'd like to go to. Obviously I can't say where those programs are (to some extent, it would defeat the purpose of being anonymous), but I can give you my opinions on each one. Here's the skinny on programs one through five:
1. Our top choice. (Obviously.) Some of you might remember choice number one from my posts about staying in the Zombie Hospital - you can read about my time visiting Mr. Darling at his number one choice here and here. The city itself is pretty crappy, which is actually a good thing, because Mr. D's chosen specialty is emergency medicine, so it's in the best interest of his education that he does his residency in a place that has a lot of complicated emergencies - shootings, stabbings, drug overdoses, etc. That's ok, though, because choice number one has some really cute suburbs that I'd love to live in. This city is only four hours away from where we live now, so it would be easy for me to come back and visit my family and friends for a long weekend when Mr. D's working. The program is really highly ranked, has everything Mr. D wants in a residency, and has expressed some serious interest in Mr. D, so we're keeping our fingers crossed that he gets his first choice.
2. My hometown. If Mr. D gets choice number two, we won't have to move! For selfish reasons, I'd love for him to get matched with choice number two so that we won't have to move away from my family and friends quite yet. I've lived here for 20-something years, and I wouldn't mind a few more before we move away (which we would do eventually anyway). However, I'm still hoping that Mr. D gets his first choice - he deserves it.
3. The coolest city of the bunch. Choice number three is located in one of the 50 largest cities in the United States. We love the city a lot, and the program is really strong, but this residency lasts one to two years longer than the rest of Mr. D's top eight, and he's not crazy about that.
4. Really far away. Mr. Darling and I drove to this interview at the beginning of February, and it's a nine hour trip. The program is great, the city is cute, but it's nine hours away from friends and family. Mr. D originally wanted to rank this program as number two, but I talked him down to four.
5. A little bit country. This program is a bit more on the middle-of-nowhere side of things. But because it's the only hospital for miles and miles around, it would provide Mr. D with a lot of good experience. It would definitely be a change of pace for me to live in a small town, but I think that I tend to be pretty flexible, so I'm sure I would adjust fine.
So, there you have it. In 21 days, Mr. Darling and I will know where we'll be spending the next 3-5 years of our lives, and hopefully it will be one of the places I listed above. Stay tuned!