How to match successfully as a couple: catch some great tips on today’s episode!
Today’s guest, Evan Kuhl, has written guest posts for the Accepted blog. He’s currently a 2nd year resident in Emergency Medicine at The George Washington University Hospital in Washington, DC. He also got married a couple of months ago. He and his then fiancée — now wife– succeeded in matching at the same hospital a year ago. He’s joining us today to share his advice about the Match, and specifically, matching as a couple. Welcome!
What was your path to medicine, and specifically Emergency Medicine? [1:27]
I did an EMT course. I met an ER doc on one of my first shifts who became a mentor, and I got really into emergency medicine – it’s a bit rare to decide so early. EMS was a great foundation for me personally. You learn a lot about patient contact and get skills that help in a lot of areas.
After graduating from Bellarmine, you went straight to med school – any bumps along the way? [3:18]
I never thought about any path other than med school.
Bellarmine gave me great preparation as a premed. It’s a small school in Louisville. But it’s one of the only schools that provides gross anatomy classes for undergrads.
My fellow residents have diverse backgrounds and a lot of them did take time in between undergrad and med school – master’s degrees, business, travel – it makes it fun and interesting to interact with people with so many diverse experiences.
My practice MCATs weren’t great, but I pushed through and applied – I didn’t take any time off.
What was the hardest part of the application process? [6:50]
If I were applying now, it would probably be the MCAT – because of the longer test.
For me, the process of the secondary applications was challenging: there’s a lot of variety between schools with regard to what they want, and a lot of time and effort involved. And it’s hard not to hear back, particularly when the application is more personal than the primary application.
How did he meet his wife, Elsa? [8:24]
We both grew up in Louisville, but we didn’t meet until med school. We were assigned to the same study group on the first day of med school.
Then we were placed 2 cadavers over in cadaver lab. My classmates pushed me to ask her out.
She started med school planning ortho, and came out as a radiologist.
How crucial was matching in the same city? Did you consider a long distance relationship? [10:50]
The first 10 matches on our lists were all in the same cities. Then the rest diverged a bit. We definitely wanted to be in the same city.
We started early and built an Excel sheet – including the city, residency, etc. And built a list of about 80 places. Some cities didn’t have programs for both of us, but were near a program that worked for the second person (for example, Duke and North Carolina).
Then we applied to about 71 programs each.
If she got an interview, I would email the ER director at that hospital. (And vice versa.) She had better scores than I did, so the Radiology directors were happy to talk to her!
Be frank and honest with the programs you’re ranking very highly (but don’t lie).
How do you manage time/relationship pressures, in med school and now as residents? [16:30]
When you’re applying for residency as part of a couple, be able to discuss your relationship pretty candidly when you interview.
In med school, we had study time together.
In residency, we have asynchronous shifts, so it’s a little more challenging. We try to maximize the time we have together (making dinner together, etc). It’s about setting priorities.
Having a spouse in the medical field actually helps a lot, because they understand what you’re going through.
On your about.me page you wrote that you “get way too excited about the interplays of medicine, technology, and endurance training.” Can you elaborate? [19:10]
When I walk into the ER, I always feel a sense of excitement – this is where I’m supposed to be. I feel that same excitement about new technology. I’m teaching a class for interns on Electronic Medical Records.
How does endurance training fit in? [25:30]
I’ve always loved exploring the data behind it. I’ve done a half iron-man, triathlons, marathon – and I loved looking at the data afterward to see what I could change. There’s a sports medicine fellowship for ER residents that I’m interested in.
I’m interested in what changes during endurance training: there’s some evidence that too much can be a detriment.
What can M4s do before and after the Match to prepare for residency? [26:15]
Before the Match: plan the application process. Think about how many programs to apply to, which programs, etc.
When you interview, try to get a feel for the culture of the department.
Enjoy your 4th year leading up to Match Day!
As you come into residency, stay up on your general knowledge base.
After you match, figure out where you’re going to live. Do some research on what the housing situation is in the area, and think about whether it makes sense to rent or buy (you’re going to be there for a while!). Most banks offer physician loans at a good rate.
Any parting advice for residency applicants? [29:45]
In general: prepare well!
For couples: if one person gets an interview, be quick to contact the program about the other person. But don’t bug them!
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