Editors’ Note: Tomorrow is Match Day, when graduating medical students across the nation learn where they will spend their residencies. In this post, we hear from a student who shares his thoughts about what the process of matching means to him.
In my mind, Match Day is like a scene out of a movie or a book. As the drama unfolds, our whole Albert Einstein College of Medicine class is assembled together; our hands eagerly await the Match Day envelopes and our hearts pound with collective nervous anticipation. It’s reminiscent of a classic dystopia: we are Tris in Divergent, Jonas in The Giver, Bill in The Lottery, Katniss in The Hunger Games.
We are waiting, with family and friends nearby, to see our future through the envelopes that will be handed to us.
In reality, we are not in a dystopian scene—although there is an element of that, and I sympathize with those who have to scramble to match via the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program, or “SOAP.”
Perhaps the better analogy is that we are characters in a musical dramedy. As we await Match Day, we are contenders in the age-old custom of matchmaking. We are more like Tevye’s daughters in Fiddler on the Roof, singing “Matchmaker, Matchmaker, make me a match” .
Yet we are not passive participants in the matchmaking scheme. We actively chose and ranked our programs. The process has been akin to modern-day dating; think Tinder or Jswipe, where we “swiped right” with a rank list and the programs did the same. (Personally, I “swiped right” a lot: for family medicine, emergency medicine and internal medicine.) That also means we can feel proud to match, as we have put in our effort, time and dedication. But along with this sense of fulfillment comes the humbling thought that it is not entirely in our hands. I believe it’s that reflection that is most important to carry forward as we continue to train and serve as physicians in the upcoming years. We are not always in control.
As we wait with uncertainty for the matchmaker to tell us our match, we know that we are not submissive subjects in a dystopia, but dynamic, tireless, committed, active participants. Even so, our years of work have come down to a judgment that is not totally in our control. Thus, we wait, shifting between unsettled anxiety and unbridled enthusiasm to see the envelope that holds our future path. May all our matches be happy ones.
P.S. Yair Saperstein successfully matched at SUNY Downstate in Internal Medicine!