Today is Match Day, the day fourth year medical students across the country are paired to a residency program in their speciality during a weird ceremony designed to give you a fart attack.
For most of you, this information is strange and slightly boring. But for my little family and community, it’s a big day. A day that decides what the next six years of life looks like.
If you are new here, my spousal unit Austin is in his fourth year of med school, intending to graduate in May. I have conveniently put our timeline into an easy to read list in The End Of Medical School following an equally gripping post on Marrying A Student.
Match Day is confusing. No matter how many times I explain it, our parents still ask us over and over what is going on and is he a doctor yet. If only, parents. If only.
Here’s how it works. First you go to medical school! Actually first you sit at a your desk job doing graphic design until you’re 27 and realize you are in the wrong career. Then you apply to medical school (hard), get accepted to medical school (harder), and work hard to pass each year (hardest). Then in your fourth year of school, you interview on a residency tour before submitting a list of programs ranked by preference while the programs do the same about those they’ve interviewed. Finally a computer takes this information and spits out where you’ll work and live for 3-6 years, depending on your speciality. This is your “match.”
It would be nice if someone simply called after your interviews and told you if and where you’ve gotten a job. You know, like normal people. Instead the medical community has made up a bizarre ceremony called “Match Day” where nervous med students read their destiny in a dimly lit room while the local news hovers (really) and spouses cry happy or sad tears. Kind of like the hunger games, except nobody dies (except our spirits).
Last year’s match day at Penn State, a visual aid:
We arrive today at 10am and open the letters at noon.
Some things are certain. On Monday Austin got an email letting him know he did, indeed, match to a program, as some students “scramble” into leftover programs or don’t match at all (nervous poo). This was great news and means we know for sure we’ll be headed to one of four locations on our rank list:
Staying in Hershey is our first choice. Not only is it located only 45 minutes from our dream destination, it’s close to New York, D.C., and most importantly–community. A community helping us raise our babies and grow into adult skin. For all its quirks and strange habits, small town living suits our stage of life right now and, for a long list of reasons, makes it easier to parent while also pursuing our dreams.
Of course the other three spots would be great, too. Giant, life-changing pros and cons to each place.
Austin graduates in May and then begins the six year journey to becoming an interventional radiologist this June in a location to be determined in just a few short hours. Pass the Pepto.
Four very different futures at our feet.
Hershey, Philly, Boston, or Portland, here we come.
Onward and upward.