And to think . . . I hesitated
Moderator Emeritus
15+ Year Member
Apr 16, 2004
SF Bay Area
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  1. Attending Physician
My wife and I were recently reminiscing about my Match Day ~ 15 years ago. The whole match season was extremely stressful - I had applied to virtually every Rad Onc residency program. The places where I interviewed were pretty well dispersed throughout the country meaning that our future careers and family would be largely predicated by where i winded up. Getting an email confirmation that I matched on that Monday was a tremendously affirming experience. When I read where I matched I was so excited and happy that I nearly fell off the stage. A lot of celebrating that night with colleagues, family and friends.

At the time, my only exposure to Rad Onc was through large academic institutions. My mentors and advisors were peerless in their clinical acumen and drove a lot of the research in the field forward. What they didn't know was the nuts and bolts of private practice - RCM, Finance, clinical operations, marketing, and compensation. Their knowledge biases reflected on my own and I recall not only thinking I would be a hard-core academician for the rest of my life but that any advice I got from private practice physicians would be fairly worthless.

Of course, time changes all things and I am now in a private practice and have experienced the great joy of that. The years have also taught me to be more introspective about myself and less judgmental and hostile to others' opinions. In that vein, if I put myself into the shoes of the medical students who just matched into Rad Onc, I can also feel their joy. They too have been surrounded by academicians and subjected to their same biases and, by extension, likely wary and hostile to what is expressed here on SDN. Please keep in mind that while I hope for their success and our future as a specialty, they are ultimately pawns in this whole process. The chairs and academicians who refuse to take action are not going to be the ones paying the price 5-10 years down the road.

Please keep this in mind when you post.
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I "matched" a long time ago. I did my interview at an academic center of good repute and it was strongly hinted that I had matched during said interview.

Nevertheless when it was confirmed I was ecstatic. I did residency and the rest is history.

I'm over the hill and past my prime to be quite honest at this point of my career and I've warned the med students who rotated to consider their choice carefully. My junior colleagues could not do so and let's be honest who wants to listen to some grumpy old man ?

I wish them the best of luck. I'll be retiring in a few years so I won't see the fallout from that.
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7+ Year Member
Jul 1, 2012
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  1. Medical Student
Hard to imagine it's been almost a decade for me, pretty much at the zenith of competitiveness. I got interested in radonc a bit late and as a result I had nothing more than a couple of abstracts and an oral session at ASTRO. Applied everywhere and got 12 interviews. Fully expected to match at my home program, which was my top choice. I remember standing on stage and being completely filled with dread to know that I'd matched closer to the bottom of my list.

I worked hard and had a good experience in residency, met some lifelong friends in a city I probably would have never visited otherwise, and ultimately got a nearly perfect job by my criteria. It all worked out in the end, but I was a few near misses away from being very unhappy.
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2+ Year Member
Jul 30, 2018
It’s been quite a number of years but I still remember taking my envelope and walking out to my car as a blizzard was going on. I didn’t want to celebrate with anyone because what was the point.

I sat there alone for about 10mins and then opened it up and of course I was disappointed but then I realized it could have been worse much worse.

The funny thing about that is that things did in fact get worse. I moved more times than I could have imagined. Got a front row seat to watch the field go to crap. Watched my “friends” in other fields and professions get out, get married, get jobs, buy homes, and get on with life. While I sat around memorizing studies and taking pointless exams.

Since getting out nothing really changed, I take orders and criticism from academics just like in residency at a satellite office in a place I’d flee if I had options. But seriously what was the point of all this again? The 260 steps the non stop ass kissing and resume padding and virtue signaling and forced devotion if it led to this?

To quote Cipher from the matrix

“If you’d have told us the truth, we would have told you to shove that red pill right up your ass”
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