Thursday, March 19, 2009

Match Day

For the last 3 years, I have been explaining one confusing concept of the medical school path to friends and family alike: Match Day.

“Yep, just one day in March when every 4th year medical student in the country finds out at noon where they’re going to spending the next 3-5 years of their life.” If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times. Match Day always felt like this elusive, far off day that would signal the grand finale of medical school. Finally, this morning, Match Day arrived.

The long journey of medical school is nearly over...
So, what's next?

The months leading up to Match Day are a flurry of reviewing programs, submitting applications, writing personal statements and interviews. Gracious, the interviews. Who came up with this plan? Let’s take a bunch of cash-strapped, anxiety-ridden students and make them tour the country, staying at Super 8’s and making meals out of heavy appetizers at the interview dinners, all in an effort to narrow down which programs you like and vice versa. It’s a process that is exhaustive and exhausting, all in one. (And I was just the casual bystander, who graced but one interview dinner with my presence!) Despite the insanity of interview season, there seems to be value in the process of elimination that takes place on both ends and somehow, someway it all works out.

Fast forward to March 19th. Students, spouses, children, parents, and even some residents and attendings crowd the common area outside the room where the envelopes await. The tension is palpable, as people anxiously glance down at their watches, willing it to be noon. At twelve on the dot, the doors open. Much like the gunshot of a foot race, there is an initial rush and then a traffic jam as people clamor to get through the double doors. We head back to a table where envelopes with C last names gather and there it is, waiting for us. Without much fanfare, the envelope is opened. I’m behind the camera lens, and it’s hard to tell what his initial reaction is and my heart skips a beat for just a second. But then, there is a smile and he’s waving it at me and I put down the camera to see… “Wake Forest, Wake Forest,” he’s saying. There is relief and smiling and laughing and hugging.

The envelope, please.

The one day in March when every 4th year finds out where they are spending the next 3-5 years of their life has arrived, and with it has arrived good news. We are staying – we are staying here in this little city that has become home to us over nine years. We are staying with good friends with whom relationships have blossomed through the shared journeys of being students and better halves, respectively. He is staying in an emergency department with attendings and residents whom he respects and looks forward to working with, and I am staying in a job that still excites and inspires me each day. With one swipe of the letter opener, we are staying. Match Day has come, and with it the news that medical school comes to an end but our life in Winston goes on.

Future Docs. The Wives. Happy to be townies!


Jen said...

Congrats! Hope to see you at some tailgates in the fall!

Also, yellow purse is not totally out of the question - I found a mall in NJ that has it and I'm heading home this weekend so my mom's going to bring me there. Score.


jesskeim said...

That was a good post Megs - I felt like I was in suspense all over again!