CaRMS is like a black box. It is a step in medical school that you always know will come, you realize everyone makes it through, but what exactly happens in between is a mix of rumours, some facts and a healthy dose of faculty injected fear.
The best I felt I could do to face this was to make lists and be organized which kept me focussed and on track. It avoided going back to re-check my past steps to make sure things were complete.
Starting early and working on the application nearly daily were key. And again, as I had noted in pre-clerkship, I needed to continue prioritizing, putting work first and learning to say "no". While facing this challenge, I realized how important it was for me to apply a skill I often fail to use; help.
Writing personal letters was humbling; though I knew I was not the best writer, I could never have anticipated how many drafts I would write to obtain the final product. Reaching out to family and friends for input was difficult, and being critiqued on my work was a hard bite to swallow. During the process, I had to practice not taking their feedback personally but rather as a favour towards obtaining a better final product.
As I have now received good news for my interviews in the programs of my choice I am tremendously grateful to the people that supported me through the application. Though I am not out of the CaRMS black box yet, this whole process only reinforces that as a well rounded physician identifying others’ strengths and using the help they offer is critical to success.
On match day, CaRMS will only spell out my name by the selected program but truthfully, there should be a list of all the cheerleaders I’ve had along the way because behind every success there is always a strong supporting team.
Claudine Davidson, University of Ottawa