By Richard A. Giovane, MD
One year ago, at just about this time, I was a stressed out fourth-year medical student huddled in a freezing apartment in New York City.
Why was I stressed? I was almost done with school and had almost obtained my MD – life should have been good.
After four years of tests, board exams, rotations, and, for some of us, electives, we are hit with the final endeavor of medical school – Match Day! The program you chose will be home for the next 3-7 years of your life.
As Friday, March 17th approaches, you may find that you and your med school friends flock together to try to “take your mind off of the match.” No matter what the activity is, you may find that the conversation always ends up on the Match, top programs, and where you want to end up. The common thread is… “I just want to know!” There’s no best way to kill time. The days will pass! Personally, I found my time best spent exploring NYC, trying out new restaurants, and climbing the ranked ladder in League of Legends.
As the weeks turn into days and days into hours, you may wonder what to expect on Match day. I remember waking up early, with butterflies in my stomach, and sitting in front of my computer before I realized that I still had hours to go until I got the email. I suggest avoiding social media until the email comes and avoiding forums as well; those things will just stress you out way more than you need to be. We’ve all heard the stories of the people with 260+ scores who didn’t match. But as you know, medical school always has its fair share of rumors, and most of them aren’t true.
March 14th 2016 at 9:55am as it will always hold a special place for me. I got an email with those magical words…“Congratulations, you have matched!” I remember where I was, what I was doing (spamming the F5 key on my laptop on my Gmail), what I was wearing, and who I was with. I remember reading those words again and again in disbelief…the moment is absolutely indescribable!
I still have my Match email stored in my “important” folder in my Gmail. As an intern, residency can be rough, unrelenting, and you may even doubt if medicine is what you are cut out for. When I need a boost, I turn to that email; that moment meant everything to me. My hard work and dedication got me to that point.
Certain things in your life, you cannot control; however, you can control how you respond to them and how you chose to act on them.
About the author: Richard Giovane is a current PGY-1 in Family Medicine at the University of Alabama, at Tuscaloosa [Roll Tide!]. He was born in Canada but has an Italian background, and yes, he does talk with his hands a lot and has difficulty grasping the concept of the volume of his voice! He enjoys reading, writing, playing video games, and has a strong passion for medical education. He is currently the Senior Editor for Step 1 Qmax and has served as an author for several First-Aid books.