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Match Day: The One Thing You Must Have With You

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Match Day Advice Medical Residency Match Blog The medical residency match applications are in, and the anticipation is just beginning. Come March 17, more than 30,000 future medical residents will simultaneously open their Match Day envelopes and find out where they will be spending their next three-plus years.

This highly anticipated and, let’s face it, stressful day is the pinnacle for 8 years of school and training, and you’ll never forget sliding your fated finger across the back of that envelope. Whether you get your first choice or your fifth, there is one important must-have on Match Day – friends and family. Yes, your professors, deans, and classmates will be there, but your most important support network – mom and dad, brothers and sisters, fiancé and best friends are the ones you’ll need by your side for that big residency match hug.

We talked to some residency directors, attendings, and PGYs about their Match Day advice and how they involved friends and family.

Barry Julius, MD
Diagnostic Radiologist at Saint Barnabas Medical Center
Check out Barry’s Ask a Residency Director blog
“Matching to your residency is like preparing to blast into space on a rocket ship to another heavenly body, leaving the comforts of your earthly home, medical school, only to begin upon the uncertainty of new worlds, residency and your future medical career. You can never know exactly what you are going to experience during your travels. So, it is more important than ever to celebrate the familiarity of the present after the final match decision with your family and friends prior to embarking upon the exciting journey of discovery of the unknown to come.”

Andrea Tooley, MD
Ophthalmology Resident at Mayo Clinic
Check out her blog
A Doctor In the House
“Match Day is an unforgettable day, and having family and friends there to support you and share in your excitement is very important. If you have a significant other moving with you for residency (I did), it’s important to include them in Match Day, too. They are matching into a new city just like you.”

Rob Rogers, MD
Professor of Emergency Medicine at The University of Kentucky
Connect with him on Twitter @EM_Educator
“At my medical school, like most, spouses and family are allowed to attend. My wife attended mine, and I distinctly remember being tremulous as I opened up my envelope. Having her there to support me, regardless of the location of my match, was so important. Luckily, I matched into a combined Emergency Medicine & Internal Medicine residency of my choice at The University of Maryland in Baltimore. My one piece of advice: even if you don’t get exactly what you want, don't let this get you down. You are still a doctor, and you will still be able to live out your dream. A temporary residency training program is just that, temporary. Being a doctor is forever.”

Sandeep Jauhar, MD, PhD
Cardiologist at Northwell Health System
Check out and his book, Intern: A Doctor’s initiation
“You can’t get through residency without the support of family and friends. Best to start on Match Day. I didn’t have anyone with me when I found out where I matched. But then, I met my future wife the first week of internship!”

Katherine Boyle, MD
Emergency Medicine and Medical Toxicologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Follow her on Twitter @klboyle9 
“Match Day was a day of huge anticipation and change, both professionally and personally. Having my parents and sister with me made the time enjoyable despite the underlying anxiety and stress. Once I opened my envelope, I was able to celebrate with both my family and friends. I couldn’t imagine not having my family with me for support.”

Michael Gisondi, MD
Emergency Medicine Residency Program Director at Northwestern University
Follow him on Twitter
“It is incredibly important for students to include their family and friends in Match Day festivities because everyone’s life changes on Match Day, not just the students’. Family members support students through all the difficult milestones – MCATs, admissions decisions, USMLE exams – they certainly deserve to join the celebration on Match Day, too! And residency training is another difficult period of time during which students will seek support from friends and loved ones in order to remain balanced and prevent burnout. So for this one special day, make it a family affair!”

Lainie Yarris, MD, MCR
Emergency Medicine Residency Director at Oregon Health & Science University
Follow her on Twitter
“As a residency director, Match Day is significant for me on several levels. I recall the excitement and suspense of my own Match Day, and now look forward to both seeing my program’s match list, and hearing where all of my mentees will be training. Although there is a lot of anticipation leading up to the day, the match really does prioritize the applicant’s preferences, and most students end up at one of their top choices. It’s so rewarding to see students discover where the next stop will be on their humbling, rewarding, transformative journeys as physicians.”

Ryan Gray, MD
Air Force Flight Surgeon Turned Podcaster and Premed Advisor
Check out his premed advice at Medical School Headquarters
“Match Day is an emotional day for everyone. Happy emotions for those that got their top choice and muted for those that didn’t. Having your friends and family with you to celebrate, no matter where you are going is extremely important. I will always cherish a picture that I have with my then fiancée grabbing me jumping up and down learning that she got her top choice and we were going to the same city next. Surround yourself with those that have supported you through some of the most grueling years of your life and keep them close because the fun is just starting!”

Arlene S. Chung, MD, MACM
Assistant Residency Program Director at Mount Sinai Hospital
Check out her site
“Remember that it’s not the contents of the envelope that decides your future - it is what is inside of you that determines it. You have an amazing career ahead of you. Now go out there and make the most out of it."

To find out more about how Match Day works, check out the National Resident Matching Program at