A Remarkable Match Day
Apr 5, 2013 1:00 AM
I’m reading a book by Jonah Berger called Contagious, Why Things Catch On, which I understand is itself really catching on. In it he talks about our inherent desire to share news that is remarkable—noting that the most important aspect of remarkable things is that they are “worthy of remark”.
The event I have to remark on is Match Day at the School of Medicine. On Match Day, our fourth year medical students each receive a plain white envelope. It’s handed out with a minimum of pomp and circumstance, in a large room filled with lots of friends and family. Yet, despite the minimalism of the ceremony, that envelope holds something quite significant. That envelope holds a student’s future. In it is a piece of paper that tells them what training programs (internship and residency) they will participate in for the next 3 to 9 years. They learn what specialty of doctor they will train to become—family medicine, ophthalmology, surgery, radiology, otolaryngology, Ob/Gyn or others. They learn where they will train—Los Angeles, Baltimore, Boston or Salt Lake City. After what has been at least 8 years of post-high school education (or 21 years of education at a minimum), these bright, talented, hard-working individuals finally get a sense of what they are going to be when they grow up. It’s huge.
The event is ultimately a momentous occasion. It is emotional. Really emotional. What starts with teeth-gnashing anxiety turns into shouts of joy, excitement and anticipation, all layered with a generous serving of relief.
Match Day also marks the beginning of the separation process. Many of these students have grown to be close friends. On this day, they realize most of their friends will head to new programs without their buddies. And at the School of Medicine, like parents sending their kids off to college, we know that in a few short months, we will send these incredibly capable young women and men off into the world of hospitals and clinics, with white coats and badges that say “M.D.” Our faculty and staff have poured as much knowledge and wisdom as we could into them. We feel very proud. Fortunately for us, some students will stay close to home. No matter what, we hope that they never forget to keep in touch, because we really care about them.
The cycle then begins again. Last week, I met with the third year medical students. They are starting to think about, worry about and plan for the match. We reassure them it will be fine.
Remarkable. So many remarkable things going on here at the University of Utah. There are not enough hours in the day for me to share them all with with you. This one, I had to share.comments powered by Disqus