Match Madness

Monday, March 30, 2015

So somehow, over a week has gone by and I still haven't written out how Match Day went- whoops! I'm guessing since most people don't go through this process, there might be some scratching of heads going on- isn't this just that thing they do when they sign athletes to professional or college teams (no really, isn't that a thing?) While that's probably also true, for thousands of medical students Match Day is actually the day we learn where we will train for the next three years. During the fourth year of medical school you apply and interview at hospitals with programs for your specialty of choice (mine was pediatrics.) But instead of receiving job offers during this time, you rank your programs from favorite to least favorite, they rank you, and an insanely complicated computer algorithm spits out your "match-" which is revealed with due pomp and publicity on Match Day. 

Every school does Match Day a bit differently, but generally you are allowed to open your envelope in private (Thank God!) before taking your turn reading it in front of your classmates. Everyone's rank list is different, too- mine was not only based on my wants and needs for a program (a strong mid-sized program in a stand-alone hospital for kids, ideally with some Global Health opportunities and some nice perks) and Peter's job opportunities (a larger city is more ideal for him.) For this reason, my top 5 were ALL over the place- Salt Lake City, New York City, Norfolk, Richmond and Charleston were all up there, as were Gainesville and Burlington. Most people in pediatrics get their top 3, but since I had some weaknesses I'd been told there was a good chance I'd drop farther on my rank order list. I was incredibly nervous so I was really thankful that Peter, my whole family and even my sweet Goddaughter showed up to provide moral (and comedic) support :)

We got to the auditorium mid-morning. Our deans had decked it out with superhero masks and other cute themed decor to ease the anxiety of the day. Our dean even dressed up as Thor, which was both dorky and endearing. Once we found our seats I put off even picking up my envelope (which can't be opened until the dean gives the signal) by chatting nervously with some of my closest friends, C and N. It worked well until my faculty adviser danced up to us mischieviously and informed us in a sing-song, teasing voice that she knew where we were going. My heart fluttered into my throat and I think we all kind of realized there was no more putting it off, so we grabbed our envelopes and rushed to our seats. 

From that point everything was sort of a blur. Our school produced these presumably hilarious films about our deans and faculty producing a superhero film with disastrous results. I'm sure it was funny but seeing as I was having a massive surge of cortisol I didn't really pick up on that. Our dean then showed up on the stage in all his nerdy glory, said a few words that I again, can't remember. The funny thing is he whispered "open your envelopes" so softly/I was such a wreck that I had a two second delay before realizing the suddenly hushed rustling going on around me was my classmates finding out where they were going (!) 

With trembling hands I opened the envelope. It's funny; first off, although I had been telling myself I wouldn't get my top choice, I was still praying hopelessly that I would get it. Secondly, I had simultaneously been preparing to get my last choice, rather than something in the middle. So when I read my envelope I sort of lost it and shed some really happy tears. I had gotten my second choice. 

The rest of the ceremony was again, a blur. I awkwardly read my envelope on stage with Peter (in true Georgia fashion I almost ran into him, and he then proceeded to walk in between my and my regional dean as he tried to give me a hug on stage,) then spent the rest of the afternoon hugging friends, congratulating classmates and eventually wandering back to my sister's apartment to regroup. Thank God, all of my closest friends matched in great programs, and we had an incredible evening celebrating together. 

My Mom's smile here- precious.

So that's the story of Match Day. Peter and I will be able to live together next year. I will become a pediatrician. And we are both beyond grateful that we'll be able to spend the first years of our marriage together, not apart. 

Thanks for following along! Hope you are all having a wonderful week (:

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