Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Match Day

The dust has settled. Decisions have been made. Envelops have been opened. And now we are all on the same page.

Allow me to recount the details of the Match Day.

Match Day was surreal.

8AM. The celebration started with breakfast at 8 AM. I decided to skip breakfast altogether since I had very little appetite. I made myself a cup of chai. I sat in my living room and sipped the warm chai, thinking through my submitted rank list and every possible outcome. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized the futility of my thought process; I would find out soon enough. I recalled what someone had told me, "trust the match."

8:30 AM. I nervously made my way to the conference room. Before entering, I took a moment to stare out the windows and marvel at the view. The sun was starting to shine through a thin blanket of fog and the entire city along with ocean was emerging from the haze.

By the time I arrived, the room was brimming with fourth year medical students. Although the anxiety and tension was palpable, there was an overwhelming sense of community and unity that was rooted in sharing the universal experience of the match process. We had all undergone the same uncertain process, survived, and had to wait out the last moments.

More than anything else, it was so nice to be reunited with my classmates after many of us had splintered off for interviews and electives. Being in the same room reminded me that many of us had all started together and had grown together.

As students congregated in small groups around the circular tables, some picked at their breakfast, while others talked amongst themselves. To distract myself, I walked around the room, meeting my classmates.

8:45 AM. As time passed, we became more anxious, wondering when the envelopes would be laid out. Our course administrators went to the podium to welcome and congratulate us. I could barely pay attention to their remarks. My attention was divided. I only remember them instructing us to pick up our envelops in the next ten minutes.

8:50AM. The envelops were laid out, placed in three piles by alphabetical order. Masses of students made their way to the table to pick up the envelop. I stood in the corner and waited.

8:55AM. I finally separated myself from a conversation and made my way to the envelop table. The envelops were not white; they were actually manilla. As I had expected, the envelop was thin. A small label with my first and last name was on the middle. Once handed my envelop, I stood and waited for the moment of the truth.

8:59AM. Our administrators returned to the front." Congratulations to you all, we are so proud of you. Now join me, in counting down from 5 seconds." In unison, we counted down the last five seconds.

Photo c/o Sarah Paris

9:00AM. My hands were shaking. The envelop quivered in my hands. Once the envelop was opened, a white paper that came from within dropped to the ground. I picked it up and unfolded the paper, the text was a little blurry. I was not reading any words, my eyes scanned to the bottom, looking for the location of my residency.

And there it was, my first choice for training in obstetrics and gynecology- University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Go Blue! I was overjoyed.

I reread the page three more times and breathed a sigh of relief and smiled to myself, knowing I had matched exactly where I was supposed to match. As I had been told by several mentors and residents, "the match just seems to work out." Although I had heard it, I could now believe it.


To celebrate, I have enjoyed many cakes thanks to my family and friends.

Having lived in California my whole life, it will be difficult to leave my family and friends, the bay area, and the running in San Francisco. With that being said, I am looking forward to a new beginning and am excited about this Midwestern adventure; it will be an incredible learning opportunity, professionally and personally.

Above all, I feel so lucky to have made it this far and to have the support of my family, friends, and mentors. I would not be here if it were not for all these amazing people, who inspire me every day and teach me how to grow and become a stronger person. My love and respect to you all- Thank you.

Let the next adventure begin...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Thin White Envelopes

Tomorrow we will face a table of thin white envelops. These white envelops will reveal everything, answering the questions we have been pondering for the last few months. We will finally see how our lives will unfold in the near future as we see where we will pursue our residency training.

In unison, I will open up my thin white envelop with thousands of other medical students at 9AM. After months of waiting, we will finally know where we matched.

As I count down hours, I feel a mix of emotions. A part of me has been desiring Match Day--March 17th--for some time. The anticipation and anxiety of not knowing has been unbearable. It has been like walking in a haze, knowing you can not make any plans with a big question mark lingering ahead.

At the same time, I also realize that Match Day represents a point of no return. With Match Day, I will see my future and there is a chance it may not be anything close to what I anticipated. Either way, the fear of the unknown, makes it harder to wait and face the day head on.

It will be interesting to see how the question mark that has been my life shapes up after tomorrow. Will I match to number 1? 2? 3? 4? 5? 6?...12? Will I stay in California or leave all my family and friends and venture to an entirely new US territory? Will I be happy?

My thoughts are with all the other matching medical students who will open thin white envelops with me tomorrow.

There is no turning back from here.