Not all students gain a residency appointment during the initial Match. Some students, like Christopher Cortes, pre-match. In December 2009, Cortes pre-matched at New York Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn, NY for a residency position in Internal Medicine, Categorical.

He will begin his residency on the date that all new residents across the United States start, July 1st. In the meantime, he has a lot of time on his hands.

Cortes enrolled at AUA in September 2006. While taking his Basic Sciences courses, he found that he took an interest in almost every subject that he was studying. This led him to the residency that he hoped to obtain: Internal Medicine.

“I chose Internal Medicine because there are no borders,” said Cortes. “It’s a broader field that gives me a lot of options.”

Pre-matching is rare when trying to acquire a residency appointment. A pre-match is when a hospital offers a position before the official Match date. Once accepted, the residency spot is guaranteed. However, this contract is binding and one cannot attempt to obtain another residency. Nevertheless, Cortes is grateful that he was one of the few students to know where they are going before others took part in the Match.

“It’s a huge relief,” said Cortes. “Before I got it, it was so nerve-wracking. I was still completing rotations and [the Match] was constantly on my mind.”

The greatest lesson Cortes learned at AUA was about the responsibility that comes along with becoming a practicing physician.

“You need to focus,” said Cortes. “[Basic Sciences curriculum] shows how well you can do under pressure.”

In the interim, before he enters his residency, Cortes is taking the time to catch up with his life and is preparing for things to come. He is already studying for the USMLE Step 3 exam so that he is sufficiently prepared. He is also currently working as a physician’s assistant.

“Right now, I’m a glorified personal assistant,” said Cortes.

Now that he has the security of a residency, he can lay down his medical school burdens. That is until his residency begins.