Published online by Cambridge University Press: 08 August 2009
The stability of an edifice in large part depends upon the foundation that it rests on. This is equally true for attaining a suitable residency. This will depend on quite a number of factors, and several of those are under your control. Two of these factors are (1) whether the decisions you make regarding securing a residency are determined by sound advice and (2) if your record is good enough to warrant an invitation for an interview in a specific specialty. These two issues, namely, securing an appropriate advisor/mentor and generating a credible academic record, will be the focus of the discussion in this chapter.
Selecting an advisor/mentor
Making the appropriate choice of a person to turn to for guidance as a medical student is critical for your future success. This individual may turn out to be more than a counselor: he/she can serve in multiple roles as taskmaster, cheerleader, critic, and confessor. This person may be able to help you in a host of ways:
Serve as an outlet to discuss your concerns, both short- and long-term.
Steer you in a suitable direction when you are uncertain or faced with a choice.
Keep you focused on the tasks ahead so that you don't deviate unproductively.
Provide valuable and current information based on their knowledge and experience.
Provide encouragement along the long and challenging road to attaining a residency.
Guide you through personal difficulties that may arise during medical school.
Help you obtain early clinical experience, which will facilitate gaining exposure to the world of medicine.