Yesterday was a momentous day in the lives of my original* classmates, one that they anxiously awaited with anticipation. What event was this? Match Day, where soon-to-be doctors learn where a computer program has matched them to train for the next several years of their life (thankfully, most students at Michigan get one of their top choices, but nevertheless we bow down to our robot overlords). Coincidentally this year, the third Friday in March fell on St. Patrick’s Day, further confirming what we already knew – the M4s would soon be consuming a fair amount of “happiness.”
Michigan holds its annual Match Day celebration at the North Campus Research Complex, replete with maize and blue balloons (including a grid replicating our famous block M). Students and families must wait until noon, when the envelopes with their futures inside can finally be opened. The celebration begins at 11:30 with opening remarks by Dean Raj, announcement of student awards and class-elected speaker, and the class video. This year’s video was amazing and hilarious, including attempts at singing by some of the students, among other photos and videos starring our class.
And then, it was time to open the envelopes. There was a lot of screaming actually, although the vast majority of it sounded happy. M4s at the celebration already know they have matched – they received a yes/no email on Monday so they could scramble (a.k.a. use the SOAP process) to find a residency position if needed. Nearly 99% of Michigan M4s matched in the initial match this year. After the initial celebration with their families, M4s started racing around the room, finding their friends and asking “Where are you going? I’m going to ____.”
At 12:30 p.m., Dean Raj called everyone back to their seats so that a certain few brave (very, very brave) individuals could finally open their envelopes. Why hadn’t they been opened yet? These students had elected to open their envelopes on stage and announce where they are headed in front of the room. May the odds be ever in your favor. After everyone had opened their envelopes, students also had the option to come up to the stage and announce where they were going. Dean Raj and other faculty announced the students in turn, interspersing names with the score of the Michigan-Oklahoma State basketball game. Jokingly, Dean Raj promised that if Michigan basketball was playing in the NCAA tournament during Match Day again, it will be shown on the big screen.
I’m thrilled that I was allowed to witness this momentous achievement in my friends’ lives. It was certainly bittersweet, realizing that so many are moving away from here and wishing I could join in their merriment. Next year, it will be my turn. For now, I’ll just continue giving a flurry of hugs to all of my graduating friends. CONGRATULATIONS!
*I matriculated with these students in August 2013 and completed my first 2.25 years of medical school with them. I left the class to complete a master’s in bioinformatics and rejoined the class below me.