Dr. Matthew Justus, DO, and Dr. Spencer Peterson, DO, are residents in the newly established Traditional Rotation Internship (TRI) program at MountainView Regional Medical Center. Both have military service requirements to complete after they finish the one-year TRI program and both plan on going into pediatrics. They graciously took time from their busy schedules to answer some of the BCOM students’ questions.
In your experience, what makes a competitive applicant for a residency position?
MS: I had good board scores. That helps a lot. I like to think I'm a personable person, so that helps in the interview process. Ultimately though, I think it’s about what you can put on your resume that pops. For me, I played Division 2 basketball. Having something to talk about really helps.
SP: Boards are a big deal. GPA is a big deal. Those are going to make or break you.
How important are community service and volunteering?
MS: It matters, but the feedback I've received is that it matters more how well you can explain why you're doing it. Just doing it to say you fed the homeless isn’t going to cut it if you don’t have any passion or reasoning behind it. A lot of my volunteer work wasn’t typical. I did Osteopathic Finish Line. I would help treat athletes after races with Osteopathic medicine and manipulation. I got to do something I love and people get to feel better out of it. You have to have something to show how you give your time, but it’s better to have a few meaningful activities rather than a list of 20 things that you can’t explain why you did.
If you could go back to medical school, what would you do differently?
SP: You have to study in a way that helps you pass all your tests, but study it too in a way that will help you remember it longer term for your career. It will be of great benefit if you can organize very nicely all your lectures and notes. It can be used as a decent reference post medical school—if you’ve organized it and made it accessible. Occasionally you'll be out there and think, “I remember studying this in medical school and I know I had a great lecture on it, but I can't find those notes.” You can find other sources, but sometimes those notes will be helpful.