Unforgettable Match Day Stories and Residency Advice

Ryan Syrek, MA


March 13, 2019

'Back in My Day'

George Lundberg, MD: In 1957, there was still a "Doctors Draft" left over from the Korean War. So all of my class had to factor in whether they had already served military time, were married, had children, and any other factors that might play upon their draft status. I had been deferred from military service all through pre-med and med school, while my best friend who did not enter college was drafted and soon killed as an infantry private in Korea by the invading Chinese Communist forces. I did a pre-emptive strike, joined the Army, and matched with a rotating internship as a First Lieutenant at Tripler in Hawaii. I stayed in the military for 11 years, leaving as Lieutenant Colonel during the Vietnam War.

Sumit Garg, MD: Having matched over a decade ago, my memories of the day still are remarkable. I remember having butterflies in my stomach but hopeful that I would match. When I found out that I did match, I had a rush of adrenaline and made sure to contact my family and friends. This was before the days of social media, so reaching out took a little more effort! This singular day can affect the rest of one's career. Being currently involved in a residency program and seeing the quality of today's applicants, I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to pursue a career in ophthalmology. Moving on to residency was an easier transition than I had imagined. Having great support from my family and my wife, I was able to immerse myself in my field of training while maintaining balance.

Kendra Campbell, MD: Thinking back to when I matched in a residency position 9 crazy years ago, I was an international medical graduate at the time. Although I went through the Match just like everyone else, I was lucky to be able to "pre-match" to my top residency choice. I can remember the huge amount of excitement filling my body when I realized that I was about to start my first job as a doctor and the beginning of a journey through residency. What a long, strange trip it's been! I have grown eons as a physician, psychiatrist, and human being since that day 9 years ago.

Amin Azzam, MD: For my own Match Day, I was a single man ready to conquer the world. At our ceremony, we all put a dollar in a hat, and our names were read in random order by the class president. If we were lucky (unlucky?) enough to be last, then at least we got a $150 consolation prize! What was supposed to be an amazing experience quickly deteriorated into chaos as those who knew were ecstatic and crying and those who didn't were craning to hear whether their fate was next in the randomness of the universe. I still recall how I've never before (or since) experienced the full range of human emotion on display at one place in one time. At least at weddings or funerals, there is general alignment of the displayed emotions.

Fast-forward 2 years to my future wife's Match Day. We know we are to get married a few months after that date. We know that her rank list is deeply influenced by my own current residency program, as well as my commitment to transfer residencies (if feasible) to be with her wherever she matches. Her school had coffee and bagels at the student lounge where students could pick up their envelopes at their discretion. We were petrified to experience that envelope in the presence of her classmates, so we carried a sealed-envelope across campus to my psychiatry resident office and put the "do not disturb" note on the door. We cried together just because it was so intense.


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