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Mar 18, 2011

Match Day News

Yesterday was the match. THE MATCH, the big day that I have been working towards and stressing about for the last several years. As those in medicine already know, Match Day is the biggest, most important day in medical school, certainly bigger than graduation, and yesterday didn't disappoint.

I remember from Patrick's Match Day (the first one, when he was going into general surgery) how completely overwhelming it felt, even to an outsider like me. We were sitting at a table with a bunch of friends and some were thrilled with their results, jumping up and down and screaming with joy, while others were disappointed and cried openly at our table. Patrick and I were perfectly fine with his results, but the absolute outpouring of emotion was awful. Whether happy news or not, it felt invasive to watch our friends and their significant other's intimate emotions as they dealt with this. I begged to leave as soon as possible.

A few years ago, when Patrick went through the match again for Medicine, it was completely different. We were alone in my tiny little office, clicking refresh on his email, waiting for the email to arrive. I wrote about it all the time, both here and as guest posts elsewhere, and immediately posted the results everywhere I could. I felt the need to involve my online friends because we were alone in it otherwise. When everything turned out the way we wanted, it couldn't have been more joyous.

Finally, it was my turn to go through the match. Throughout the last few months, I found it more difficult to talk about the match at all. Because of my family, I only applied to and interviewed at a few programs and then only ranked a very few programs for me to match into. It was a very real possibility that I was not going to match at all, simply because I didn't have many options. Even so, I was hopeful that things would work out. But the closer it got, the less confident I felt.

And finally it was Monday, the Yea or Nay day. I was post call, but couldn't sleep anyway, I was nauseous all morning through rounds just trying to get out of the hospital. I felt shaky and distracted and completely unfocused. And finally, it was noon, the email was probably in my inbox, but I didn't want to see, not feeling like that and without sleeping. I knew I wouldn't be able to keep it together if I hadn't matched, and I didn't need to be pitied.

But I did match! Now it was just a matter of getting through Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday morning to find out where I was heading.

As I said, I only listed a few places. In fact, I only listed three. (Note: this is insane and not recommended.) Two were in town, meaning I wouldn't have to move, wouldn't have to leave Colin and Patrick here while I left to pursue my career. One would mean a great opportunity but would require me to pack up my clothes and books and drive away, out of the state, away from my family. Everyone going through the match has ties to someone somewhere that inform their rank list, but that did not comfort me for that long wait from Monday to Thursday.

Thursday morning my mean, mean school made us sit through two and a half hours of mandatory financial aid exit counseling. God, that was painful. Following that agony, the entire class crossed the street to to auditorium where the ceremony would be held. We met with our spouses or parents or whichever person could join us. Patrick hoped he could make it, but was coming from clinic and might not.

It started exactly at noon with five random names drawn to come up front to the stage, get their envelope, and read its contents to the audience. One of the names was my friend E, who was not yet present as she was at the bar getting whiskey to take the edge off. She came running in and, as she did, threw her glass into my hand before running onto the stage to call off her new program.

I paced and waited for Patrick to come. The atmosphere was fun and full of excitement, but it was a thin veil for the sickening feeling of a fate soon to be known, just around the corner. It seems ridiculous to say it in words, but the pressure and wait are enough to make the steadiest hand shake.

My name was called in the fourth group. I looked around frantically for Patrick before I had to go up; he had just walked in the door.

"They just called my name! Oh my god!"

"I know, I heard! Go! You'll be fine!"

I ran up to the stage and opened my envelope.

My first choice. Here. Home.

I'm not sure if I was even coherent when I read my results into the microphone, but I knew and Patrick heard me. As I made my way back to him, I couldn't keep the smile off my face and didn't care. I tackled him in a giant bear hug and we breathed a sigh of relief together.

He later reflected how intrusive he felt watching everyone's emotions, including mine, be wrung out before him and the entire audience. I, for one, am so glad that whole thing is over and that my family can stay together for the next four years. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for Patrick and Colin.

Also, for the 25 week baby girl that is growing inside me, currently kicking me in the liver, and living this stress with me. (Surprise!)

17 Readers rock!:

XE said...

WOAH, that's a surprise at the end there! Congrats on the baby!!!

I'm so so glad you matched at home. :)

KT said...

CONGRATULATIONS!! To you and to your family! What wonderful news and definitely like the "kicker" at the end! So happy for u!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on getting your first choice...and for a baby girl on the way! You are going to be one busy and rocking mama MD! :)

Anonymous said...

not just baby girl - little ladybug. ;)

So glad that you will be home. It means the world to me to be a small part of Colin changing each day and for you to enjoy my boys.



Annie said...

yay, Katie! I'm so happy for you!!! Both for matching here and for the little one on the way. Our girls will only be a few months apart, so we'll have to have play dates! And thank goodness we both matched in Indy so we don't have to break up our families! xoxo-Annie

Tiffany said...

Yay! Two wonderful things - congrats on both!!
Much love to you all!

Katie said...

congratulations on your number 1 and your expanding family! so happy for you!

SarahB said...

Congratulations on the baby too! I missed that if you'd had it on facebook. Fantastic news!

Devin's assignment process in the Air Force was similar. Everyone had to go on stage one by one and get told where they were going. I wasn't there (most significant others weren't), but he snuck out to call me right afterwards. Very strange and intrusive process.

Barrie said...

OMG and OMG again! I am so very happy for you :-)

Martha said...

How O. Henry of you! Giving us a surprise ending.
Congrats on matching and the baby!!! I am so happy for you.

Also the Hubster wants to know where you find the time to get pregnant??? LOL

Resident said...

Well, holy cow!
What an exciting post! I cried just a few little tears of excitement when you matched to choice #1.

The emotion of match day is so raw, even three years later, and I'm not even still in my initial program ;)

Go Long! Go Green! said...

Katie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Congrats on the baby girl!!!!!!!!!! I had no idea!! Both of our kiddos will be so close in age!! yay!

Rach said...

Wow! Congrats on both accounts!

Katie said...

Hooray! That's so awesome! :)

rula said...

Congratulations, Katie! That's such wonderful news!
And congrats on the little one on the way :D

sara said...

I cannot believe they did the financial aid thing that morning. That is so like a medical school.

And congrats!

Natty said...

aaahh!! just read the news :) congratulations, on both fronts!!