hello there. i am a 30 years old male, graduated from a humble medical school in manila last 1998. i am not the best student in my class. i did two years of residency in the philippines, and fate made me to look again in the prospect of tackling the USMLE's and matching for a residency slot in the USA. i studied by myself for the USMLE steps 1 and 2 and the CSA. got all the books and materials which i thought are necessary and read them. by heart. also, i assimilated all the pieces of advice i got from everyone. littelest they may seem, but all were nuggets of gold to me. i sought our 'elders' to write me strong letters of recommendation and asked my school's dean to make me a very good dean's letter. my personal statement i composed for a whole week. make that two. for it to be outstanding, yet modest and true. i even asked a friend's friend to help me out. wrote down all my academic accolades and clinical experiences for my curriculum vitae. it was a very short list. then went to USA for the CSA. and interivewed to eight programs from the twelve calls i got. i aimed to leave a good impression with the interviewing faculty. needless to say, that is different from impressing the interviewers. i was eager but composed. conveyed i am confident of what i can offer, yet reassured them i have a lot to learn under their tutelage and care. i was interesting as i was interested. smiled alot. becasue i really do smile alot. followed up my application by sending thank-you letters and letters of intention. while waiting for the match outsome, i studied and took step 3. i matched with a university program for ob/gyn. i think this is a very likely story for people who went through the match. but what i like to underscore is that PREPAREDNESS, FOCUS, HARDWORK, PERSEVERANCE and BEING RESPONSIBLE for the choices we make are the keys to success. For the Match or otherwise. And, by the way, I always ask and seek Our Lord God's approval in every step of the way. Surely, He will lead the way.