Happy Match Day — May the Odds Be Ever In Your Favor!
George Boychev, DO, Resident Physician, PGY-3, Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Loyola University Medical Center
Everything we have accomplished in medical school, thus far, has been leading us to Match Day. Like the checkered flag waving at the finish line and the gold cup at the end of the race, this is what everyone in medical school races to achieve — matching into a residency program. The innumerable exams, countless hours poured over textbooks, Pathoma, Uworld or trying to wrap our minds around certain concepts during lecture have all guided us to this moment.
These memories flashed through my mind as I entered the Fremont, the venue hosting our Match Day party in downtown Chicago. Our medical school counselors, beaming with joy like proud parents of their children, handed incoming students their designated red envelopes containing the information for the institution that would become their new work-home for the upcoming years.
As I eagerly snatched my envelope and walked into the room reserved for our class, the feeling was nothing short of electric. The buzz of excitement of my classmates (our class numbers close to 190 students) and DJ playing music created a sense of elation I had never felt before.
This was it. We made it. After a short speech by the dean, the volume in the room dropped to haunting levels as nearly 200 envelopes were ripped open. What followed is a blur. I had never heard so many hospital names shouted with such joy. Amid all the laughter and hugging, the flying confetti, the music thumping in my chest as the DJ played something upbeat, I felt peace. This day confirmed what was unanimously shared with me by everyone who had been through this journey before me — all the hard work, the sacrifices, the long days — and longer nights — were worth it.
Medicine isn’t a job. It isn’t even a career, per se. It is a way of life. It attracts a certain kind of persona. The type like you and me. We have what it takes. Believe me, like I believe in you. Face every struggle as an opportunity to learn from, and you will always come out the other side a better person and physician because, come July 1, the day you officially walk into the hospital with your long white coat — you will be addressed as “doctor” and after the very first (of many) questions that you’re going to be asked, you’ll realize the next challenge has begun. Welcome to residency.
My Journey to Radiology – How One Rotation Changed the Course of My Residency
Sasha Staack, MD, Radiology Resident, PGY-4, Mayo Clinic, AZ. Future Neuroradiology fellow at Barrow Neurological Institute
I planned on applying to anesthesia for residency so signed up for a radiology rotation as a medical student hoping it would give me time to work on my application. Luckily for me, it was not at all what I expected! I was shocked by the variety of procedures and interventions available to both diagnostic and interventional radiologists. I was equally impressed by the deep and nuanced knowledge of the attending staff and the variety of interesting and complex cases the residents learned from. In the dark rooms I had planned on using to craft my application to anesthesia, I finally found my path to radiology.
It was a hustle to change paths so late in the process. Advisors worried I wouldn’t match. Mentors suggested I dual-apply. But when you know, you know. Once I saw what was possible for me, I had no interest in applying to another career as a backup.
A whirlwind of applications and interviews later, I received the National Resident Match Program email that I had matched! The countdown to find out where I would train as a radiologist began.
Match Day arrived. I held the envelope with my results tightly in my hands. It held the culmination of years of training and testing, my next step, and the shape of my future, as well as the city, the program, the future colleagues and co-residents that would surround me as I trained as a radiology resident.
Surrounded by friends, family and a sea of excited medical students, we waited in communal joy and anticipation. The auditorium echoed with the buzz of excitement. We had matched. Today, we found out where.
As my toddler clung to my leg and I bounced my sweet babe on my hip, my eyes locked with my husband’s. We smiled, knowing the impact of what would soon happen — knowing how much work had led to this very moment. The microphone static kicked in and the loudspeaker countdown began.
Ten … I could feel my adrenaline spike, goosebumps spreading over my skin.
Nine … I started to see the years flash before me.
Eight … The study groups and exams. The rotations, late nights and early shelf exams.
Seven … I reflected on interview season with my 5-month-old and the joy and challenges it brought.
Six … I envisioned the future. Graduation, moving, residency and beyond.
Five … I took a final moment of gratitude for the journey that brought me here.
Four … I closed my eyes.
Three ... I grabbed my husband's hand tightly.
Two … Deep breath.
One … Mayo Clinic, Arizona.
The long-awaited next step. The etching of the next five years of my life. The place I would raise my children. The institution that would shape me as a physician, a professional — a radiologist.