Woah! That was fast. I hopped on here to write about transferable skills, thinking it would benefit those in the interview process for dietetic internships and masters programs, but look at that – the interview process is likely at its end and “Match day” is right around the corner! *Shutter*
Note: For those of you who may be new to the game and unfamiliar with this doomsday, erg, I mean ‘match day’, check out this post for some backstory.
This can be an incredibly exciting or gut-wrenching time. I personally felt both those emotions, sometimes simultaneously. Either way, it is an EMOTIONAL time, and especially on match day. Shit gets real this day. And you can cut the tension in the air with a knife. I think you know where I’m going with this… please, please, PLEASE, I am begging you please, be considerate of those experiencing immense emotion around you. Please be self-aware and empathetic.
Some people will be better at this than others, no doubt, but what surprised me when going through the process was how hurtful people can be without even meaning to be. Hence the creation of this blog post: What Not to Say to Your Friends Who Aren’t Placed Yet. A huge thank you to those who collaborated with me in the creation of this post and shared examples of less-than-comforting things colleagues said to them post-match day.
“You can have my offer to ___ when I turn it down.”
Um OUCH!?! Even though this may have been said with sincere intention, can you imagine being on the receiving end of it? It feels crappy enough to be surrounded by peers who have multiple offers when you have NONE. Like, really crappy. Having them offer you their unwanted leftovers? Their charity? Their sloppy seconds? NO THANKS. Even if you wanted that placement, it just makes you feel super small to be reminded that it may only be yours if the real top applicants didn’t want it.
“Maybe you can be a ___, ___, or ___.”
Again, may be said with the sincerest intention – your friend didn’t get an internship and you’re trying to remind them how smart they are and how many options are out there. But you know how it sounds to the receiver?
“Oh, too bad you’re not good enough to be a dietitian. That sucks because I am. You could be something else that’s easier like a ___, ___ or ___.”
Having a conversation about a change of career path may be something to pull out down the road, but right now, in the midst of finding out that their plan A may be shot and their dreams are skewed, they likely aren’t ready to go there. And please don’t push them. Don’t push them to give up on dietetics now, or ever, if that’s what their dream is.
“OMG! I CAN’T BELIEVE I GOT ___!”
Generally, the point here is just not to spew your excitement out all over those who are still patiently and nervously waiting for news. It is a very sensitive time for everybody involved, and your happiest day may be someone’s most heartbreaking day.
That dynamic is really hard to navigate because you don’t want to swallow your excitement and forget to celebrate yourself, but you also don’t want to crush someone else. Tough. My advice is to celebrate small-scale – sharing the news privately with a selected few.
Parading all over the university is bound to leave some of your peers in tears. Don’t be that person.
“Oh, I’m sure it will happen.”
EASY FOR YOU TO SAY SALLY!
That is surely the thought running through the head of the receiver of this comment. I get it, you’re trying to be positive and that’s great, but the truth is you aren’t sure that it will happen. And we all know that, so please, don’t go there.
“What are you going to do now?”
Very similar to the above comment suggesting a new career path, the case here is that they likely aren’t in the headspace to have this conversation. 9 chances out of 10 their answer is a tearful “I don’t know.” Do you really want to be the one to elicit that? Give them some time to process this news and then to think logically about the next steps – they likely won’t be top of mind immediately.
This response was interesting to me but makes sense. A few colleagues chimed in and said their friends who avoided the topic entirely made them really uncomfortable. And I get that! When there’s an elephant in the room, there isn’t much room left for genuine conversation. Having this awkwardness likely makes the friends feel distant from each other, and the applicant feels even more alone. So what’s the alternative?
Well.. at this point in the blog post now you’re probably afraid to say anything, so what do you do? My advice is firstly to ask if your friend would like to talk about it. Some may not, in which case avoiding the topic is the perfect thing to do, but some may need your support. And there’s no way to know which is the case without having this conversation.
(I say this all the time to my students but it is SO true: Communication is key.)
—Courtesy on Social Media—
This is a big topic, and I won’t ramble too much about it here (though I may on insta so be sure to tune in) but I encourage you to use the same rule of thumb: Think about how those who haven’t been placed yet might feel about your public celebration. I’ll leave you with a quote to really drive this home:
“As someone who did not get first or second round, it was difficult to constantly get notifications on social media of people commenting on posts saying “hard work pays off” We are all in such a competetive program and we ALL worked hard to get here”.
That’s all for now folks. Be mindful, and be kind.