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Hi all,

I'm trying to figure this out a bit more. I want to match to something competitive, but it feels so impossible. I'm interested in a competitive specialty, but without an objective grades system I feel lost. I'm worried about nepotism and connections, and feel like even the push to publish simply won't help distinguish myself. It's really starting to weigh on me, because I don't feel like studying for school is the best use of my time (pass/fail and all) but at the same time, gunning publications doesn't feel like it's helping much either.

What do you think? I'm surely not the only one feeling this.

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23 minutes ago, IMislove said:

Same, same. Just riding the wave, waiting for clerkship so that one can hopefully shine both with being a good team player and doing well on the job. Rest is up to them. 

Well said. That counts for a lot! I applied to 3 fields where I felt I would be happy personally & professionally, and then, it had to play out, as it was entirely out of my hands. I was selected for a small surgical specialty where I was the least qualified but I had the ingredients IMisLove mentioned. Not one gunner was chosen.

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1 hour ago, IMislove said:

Same, same. Just riding the wave, waiting for clerkship so that one can hopefully shine both with being a good team player and doing well on the job. Rest is up to them. 

Honestly a lot of this also depends on who your preceptor is - some will give glowing reviews like candy while others just give you what they give everyone

All you can do is try your best and hope everything works out - good luck!

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58 minutes ago, Bambi said:

Well said. That counts for a lot! I applied to 3 fields where I felt I would be happy personally & professionally, and then, it had to play out, as it was entirely out of my hands. I was selected for a small surgical specialty where I was the least qualified but I had the ingredients IMisLove mentioned. Not one gunner was chosen.

That's well said. Maybe I should see this less as something to control and simply something to let unfold as it will. Don't you feel though that you could've done more? Maybe research? I have this nagging feeling that if I really wanted it, I could force my way into getting in by working harder. But I think that's true up until a point, and maybe after that it's all luck. Tough to say.

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It must unfold, luck is very much involved in this lottery process.I did a literature review with an upperclassman over a 3 week period and was published, it did me no good when I applied in this field. Go figure. Don’t try to for e anything, in clerkship, just be your hard working, collaborative self, in the end, it all comes down to being “a good fit”. I know a physician whose life changing moment occurred in an elevator, when he struck up a conversation with an attending he admired and never met, he got into that specialty! Situations may occur that become opportunities to grasp. 

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1 hour ago, Bambi said:

luck is very much involved in this lottery process.

I couldn't agree more.  Discovered a current fellow at McGill who scored a 251 on the MCCEE (250 = pass).  Not only did this person match to an IM program in Ontario, but they are currently at McGill doing a fellowship as we speak.  Meanwhile, people who score over the 80-90th percentiles, have at least one pub, crazy extracurricular experiences, good social and interpersonal skillsets, and dare I say have interviewed well in the past.. can't even get a CaRMS interview - let alone match! 

Goes to show just how much luck and who you know, any given Sunday, can impact your destiny in this game. 

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OP - first of all you're completely right that connections/nepotism>>>>elective performance/interviews/LORs>>>>>>research/what you look like on paper in competitive specialties. The thing about CaRMs is that about 50% get their first choice and about 75%ish get their top 3 so the system goes on and for most people it works out. You're absolutely right that there should be a fair/objective system to select applicants because nepotism/connections or even good luck don't predict a good resident. Hopefully now that you've realized the formula to a good CaRMs match, you can go about building those relationships that matter.

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