The 58-year-old Match Day program is designed as a fair way to assign medical school seniors to their residencies, which can last from three to seven years. Seniors pick their specialties, interview at programs and make lists of where they would like to train. The programs scrutinize applicants and make their picks to fill openings. A computer matches program with applicant after evaluating the preferences of each.
The students receive a simple note the first day of Match Week indicating whether they have been matched with a program. However, the most anxiety filled day is on the third Thursday in the month of March. At the same moment across the United States, senior medical students learn where they will spend the next three to six years of their life.
That is why I jumped on an airplane and flew home to Minnesota last week. I would not miss being there for Suzanne.
Each school has their own traditions for the big envelope opening experience. The University of Minnesota hosts a breakfast for the students and their guests.
Suzanne's good friend, Stacey, took a day off of work to be there with her too.
About 30 minutes before the letters are given to the students, several speeches were given. Some were more appreciated than others. This young lady, a member of their class, presented a clear perspective of what they all had endured to reach this day. 140 exams...4500 hours in hospitals...3 hours of sleep....
And, then, FINALLY as close to 11 a.m. as possible, the students were given their envelopes. As they were opened, you could hear screams across the room. Some opened their letters in silence. Our daughter was one of them. It is just her way of doing things. She matched with her top choice!!! That is a huge accomplishment. She will be a psychiatry resident at the University of Minnesota.
I had called Paul when she was opening her envelope so he could share in the moment. Her parents were pretty emotional at this moment.
And then they started to share their news with their classmates. Some were happier than others. It was a pretty amazing experience to observe.
Match Day is a life stage ceremony they will never forget.
It wasn't until that evening when Suzanne and I met my niece, Lisa, for a glass of wine that she seemed to relax. We had such a good visit. These two young women both have worked hard and have achieved so much in their young lives.
Not letting any dust settle, our daughter was off on a plane 48 hours later, headed for 6 weeks in South America. She chose to do her final medical school rotation in Ecuador. She has had a life long dream of visiting the Galapagos Islands, so she is there right now. She has earned a break and a time to connect with nature.
I am back in Florida. We leave Venice next week. Paul is tapping his foot waiting for me to finish this post so we can walk the beach. I'll talk to you soon.