Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Match Day

After we had planned our winter escape to Florida, our daughter informed us we would not be home to attend her Match Day. "It is more important than graduation!" We did not know what the event was or meant to a medical student. Well, you learn something every day!

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.


Freely Living Life said...

Yay! We are so happy to hear that Suzanne will be able to be at the University of Minnesota for her residency! How exciting. Congratulations! <3

It's nice to see Lisa's face on here! Hi Lisa! We follow her blog too. You must be so proud to have such a beautiful and intelligent family!

Hope the walk on the beach was refreshing! :)

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I'm so glad I was able to be there to help celebrate Suzanne's wonderful news & great accomplishment. was the highlight of my week to see you two!

Safe travels!

Abby said...

I am so happy for Suzanne and that she got her 1st pick! I knew she would, for she has worked so hard and been so successful! Yay! That is great you were able to fly back to be there for her during such a memorable moment of her life!

Enjoy your last few weeks of beaches! We got a little taste of ocean last weekend in San Diego -- and I'm already experiencing withdrawals :(

qwerkyqook said...

hola! trying to check blogs in the dark on a roof in the galapagos... time for some ceviche

Marlys said...

Wow, what an exciting event! Thanks for sharing the details! Visiting the Galapagos Islands is so cool! We just watched a movie this weekend involving those islands and it was quite interesting! Well deserved break!
Have a great trip back to the north country, but enjoy the sand and surf while you can! I hope the weather is good and warm before you leave!