Poised with a go-getter attitude, Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) student Alyson Morgan plans to capitalize on life lessons to prosper in this year’s National Resident Matching Program® (The MATCH ℠) process.
“I have not been shy about reaching out to residency programs that I have great interest in,” said the general-surgeon resident candidate who’s emailed coordinators about program success, which has led to interviews. “Fight for what you want!”
She admits that while the altered interview process — which went virtual this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic — has its pros, it also poses a downside. “This genuine exposure to programs can help make or break the environment to which you are about to commit 3+ years of your life.” Alyson applied to residency programs based on many components including track record in hiring international medical graduates and community connection. As for judging the right fit, she is focused on the chemistry of the interviewers. “Sense of humor and relaxedness go a long way. The amount of stress we put ourselves through for a shot at residency, which is completely in someone else’s hands, is not to be taken lightly. The goal is to be as genuine and real as possible. I’d rather speak frankly off the cuff so the interviewers can get an accurate glimpse of who I am.”
Med School Challenges
Though she has persevered through a hurricane, studying on a boat and clinical rotations during the pandemic, Alyson said the board exams were the worst. “Step 1 is a beast that you don’t honestly know how to tackle until you get through it,” she said in reference to the United States Medical Licensing Examination® Step exam.
Also a challenge was keeping up with rotations last year while serving as the lead liaison between RUSM leadership and the Clinical Student Government Association, as classmates navigated through academic changes due to the pandemic. “This was no easy task, but our team did our best to lead the student body with our best foot forward. I was burning both ends of the candle and ultimately decided to dedicate my energy and focus on Step 2 CK preparation. Happily, I came out the other side victorious.”
Urging current Rossies to stay motivated, Alyson fondly describes the fourth year as an enlightened experience. “You begin to really act like an intern and see patients in a way you haven’t before — as a baby physician. Patients will begin asking you questions that you should start preparing to answer and attendings will expect you to be part of the treatment team. It is imperative that you utilize this time to your greatest educational advantage — to ask the questions and learn from the mistakes for the betterment of your future patients.”
Supporting Other Cultures
In an earlier profile, Alyson shared why she gives back to the community, an effort she’d like to continue through future medical mission work. Spending time in South Africa as a child actress opened her eyes to the value of community service. “I want to serve others who don’t have the same opportunities as me simply because of where we were born. If we have the good fortune of excellent and cutting-edge medical care, we should also be doing everything in our power to share that with the world.”
She is also a strong proponent of paying it forward to current and future Rossies. “Let’s work to help build each other up and pave the way for our following generations of students,” Alyson said to her fellow MATCH candidates. “When we are residents ourselves, please use whatever influence you may have to help our Rossies get their foot in whatever doors possible because we know how hard and stressful it can be.”
To Alyson and all 2021 MATCH students, we support your journey and look forward to celebrating your achievement.
Send classmates a MATCH-Gram — a quick note of encouragement that will be distributed before MATCH week begins on March 15. Submit a written or voice/video message.
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