Christina Shehata, BA, Chair of the American College of Radiology® (ACR®) Medical Student Section (MSS), contributed this piece.

Match Week always seems to bring a rollercoaster of emotions – excitement, nervousness and curiosity about what's to come. I've always been amazed at how years of hard work is condensed into one of the most pivotal weeks in our careers. It’s also a great time for medical students to reflect on their paths within medicine, take pride in their accomplishments and eagerly await opening the envelope that will reveal where they will complete the next stage of training. As someone who’s accustomed to delayed gratification, I also see Match Week as a time to indulge in the present moment and take time to celebrate with peers and loved ones.

In light of radiology becoming more competitive in the past few years, I am often asked for advice for students applying to radiology residency. I like to think that putting a residency application together is like wrapping a present. The bulk of the present (the box) is the foundation, a showcase of your academic achievements and clinical knowledge. This includes your grades, MSPE, test scores and letters of recommendation. The wrapping paper of the present is the parts of the application that draw one’s eye, which will be unique to everyone. I liken the wrapping paper to finding what interests you within the field of radiology and making it your thing. Whether that’s advocacy, community outreach, research, medical education and so on – there are so many ways to explore the field of radiology and find your niche within the field. Finally, the bows that weave around the present represent your story – a narrative that ties the whole application together and conveys who you are as a person. This narrative is most prominently featured in the personal statement, where you have a blank space to tell your story, and during interviews, when you can share yourself in ways that aren’t easily conveyed through an application alone.

It can be a daunting task trying to put your “present” together. This is why my second tip is to find a mentor who can provide guidance and support you throughout the process. I am so grateful for one of my mentors, Judy Gadde, DO, MBA, a pediatric neuroradiologist at Lurie Children’s Hospital, who has truly been my sponsor in radiology throughout medical school, introducing me to so many people and opportunities that I wouldn’t have found without her willingness to invest in me as a budding radiologist. I recognize that it can be hard to find mentors at some institutions, which is why I highly recommend the Radiology-TEACHES program – an outstanding initiative that pairs medical students and mentors together to create radiology teaching cases for other medical students and is a great way to connect with a mentor outside of your home institution.

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not enthusiastically recommend getting involved with the national radiology organizations. I like to think of my introduction to the ACR being serendipitous, when I met the former ACR MSS Chair, Ryan Morrison, DO. Through Ryan’s recommendation, I joined the ACR MSS as one of the co-leads for the Medical Student Symposium. I enjoyed working with the ACR so much that I applied to be the Chair of the MSS, which has been a fruitful opportunity to build community within radiology, learn about advocacy and organized medicine, and meet new friends. I encourage all medical students to become members of the ACR (for free) and join the Medical Student Section, the Rad Reserves email list for medical student opportunities and the Pre-Radiology Advocacy Network (Pre-RAN). I also invite everyone to the ACR 2024 Annual Meeting to join the medical student programming, and for opportunities to make new connections and learn more about radiology.

I'd like to extend my biggest congratulations to all those who matched during the Match 2024 season. I'm incredibly optimistic about the bright future of radiology and look forward to learning alongside my #FutureRadRes colleagues.

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