You just matched into residency, and you’re thrilled to take the next step in your career. For the first time in a long time, you feel like you can breathe again. Enjoy it now: Once residency starts, you won’t be slowing down again for awhile. And you won’t have much time to think about the giant elephant you’re carrying on your back: Your student loans.
Here’s the dirty secret no one tells you about graduating from med school: just as you’re finally getting a chance to celebrate your accomplishments and catch up on sleep, you’ll get a rude awakening from an unwelcome guest: your lender.
Think of your residency personal statement as an opportunity to show your best stuff. Your residency application requires a personal statement, where you have the rare opportunity to talk at some length about your talents. Use it to your advantage to indicate that you have what the hospital needs in terms of abilities, experiences, skills, and maturity. Demonstrate that you are the person the program is looking for. In short, show each program that you are a good "match."
Being a doctor is a rewarding, empowering career; you literally save lives. And yet, the stress that comes along with being a doctor can turn “empowering” into “overpowering,” resulting in physician burnout. Sadly, about 30% of young physicians suffer from depression or depressive symptoms, and every year in the United States, roughly 400 physicians commit suicide.
Think back to the very first moment when you knew you wanted to be a doctor. When did it happen? What did you picture for your future?
In some ways, working your way through residency and fellowship feels like being stuck in limbo for years. You finally have the privilege of wearing that white coat, but you must do a balancing act between the medical students that look up to you, and the more seasoned physicians who still lose patience with you. Although you’re working like there’s no tomorrow, your income hasn’t caught up with your hours yet. The good news— you will make it through this, and you’re not alone.
If you are part of the 84% of medical students who graduated with student loan debt, the good news is, you’re not alone. But the reality is, the average amount of debt new physicians have as they leave medical school is a staggering $183,000 – though many physicians have larger debt burdens. Often these loans were taken out over multiple years and have multiple servicers (payment processors – which means many bills), making it a challenge to manage your loans and ensure that you are making payments on time.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness has been in the news quite a bit in the past few months. There are proposals to cap the forgiveness amount, or eliminate the program altogether. To better understand if this is the right path for you, let’s take a quick look at the eligibility requirements, and some of the pros and cons of the plan.