Match Day is over—and you now know where you’ll be spending the next few years as a medical resident. It’s an exhilarating time! But also stressful, compounded by so many unknowns.
What happens in the months between now and starting your residency? What do you need to do? How can you ensure you’re prepared for this huge life change?
To help reduce your stress load and pave the way for a smooth transition to residency, we’ve created a list breaking down the most important things to focus on in the months ahead.
Reach out to your new residency team
What’s the best part of town for residents to live? What’s the public transit system like? How’s the hospital food where you’ll be working? Where can you find the strongest coffee to get you through those extra-long shifts?
No matter how big or small your questions are, other residents in your program have likely had them too. So reach out to current program residents for information. Not only will you get the information you’re looking for—you can also forge relationships before beginning to work together, which will help ease that transition when you start working.
Figure out where you’ll live
If you’re moving to a different city, you will need to find a new home. Your fellow residents will hopefully have some tips for you on the best neighborhoods. Moreover, if you prefer to share accommodations, they may be able to connect you with people who are looking for a roommate.
You might not have time to take a house-hunting trip—let alone the budget. After all, you will need to pay either the first and last months’ rent or a small down payment to secure your new home. Plus, you may need to pay fees to break your current lease or mortgage. So, in lieu of doing in-person research, you may need to rely solely on virtual tours and your future coworkers’ recommendations. For some tips on how to conduct a virtual house hunt, check out this article.
Plan your move
The process of moving is never fun—especially if you’re moving far away. In fact, the average cost for a long-distance move is almost $5,000! So there’s that expense to consider.
That said, the cost may be worth it if you’re looking to save some time, not to mention the inevitable headaches of moving everything yourself. Weigh your options of self-moving versus hiring professionals to do it for you. If you do decide to use movers, book your move as soon as possible—this will help ensure you get the best price possible, as well as the moving company you want.
Create or update your budget
As a physician in training, you are responsible for the lives of others. Stress around your personal finances can negatively impact your ability to put patient care first. In fact, finances were the second leading cause of physician depression in a Medscape 2018 report on doctor burnout.
Yes, you will soon be making an income! But there are a lot of new expenses coming your way—so it’s wise to get on top of things now, by making or updating your budget.
Especially if you’re going to a new city, you need to factor in all those moving expenses and other upfront fees. Once you’ve settled, your rent or mortgage payment will likely be your highest expense. But you may also incur new fees during this time—for example, you may decide to buy or lease a car, which means you need to factor in insurance, gas, repairs and the like. Meanwhile, groceries, utilities and all the other basic necessities of life may also be more expensive depending on the city you move to.
Ultimately, creating a new budget or updating your current one will help you stay organized leading up to starting your residency—and help set you up for fewer distractions and financial woes when you begin working.
Consider whether you need a personal loan
Most new residents are in enormous amounts of debt—in fact, the average medical school graduate has $201,000 of student debt.
The good news, as referred to above, is you will soon earn an income of about $60,000 in your first year of residency. However, that may not be enough to afford the transition to residency, and all the basics of life. So you may need a loan to help cover a few expenses in the meantime.
Generally speaking, traditional banks are not very accommodating with doctors-in-training. They don’t consider your future high earning potential; instead, they consider you a “risk” because of your present high debt-to-income-ratio. And even if you do qualify for financing, you will likely need a cosigner and be charged a very high interest rate.
That’s why we created Panacea Financial—to ensure fair financing for doctors and doctors-in-training. For residents, we offer PRN personal loans up to $30,000, with interest rates starting at 6.75%, with reduced payments while you’re in training.
And even better: unlike traditional banks, we don’t require you to have a cosigner or minimum credit score.
Take some time to breathe
Your life is about to change significantly, and things are about to get really busy. So before you start your residency, try your best to get in some self-care by connecting with family and friends, sleeping in, meditating, and purposefully building in time overall relaxation before residency starts.
Meanwhile, turn to this to-do list in moments of overwhelm, and celebrate when you’ve accomplished each task.
You’ve got this!