On March 21, 173 Temple University medical students celebrated Match Day—the day when all fourth-year medical students in the U.S. simultaneously open sealed envelopes and find out what hospitals they “matched” with for their residencies.
The process has been compared to “rush week” for fraternities and sororities—with students and teaching hospitals first trying to impress each other, then ranking each other in order of preference. A computer sorts through tens of thousands of preferences and spits out the matches.
Students, family and friends gathered in the lobby of the School of Medicine’s Medical Education and Research Building for the envelope opening at noon. Larry Kaiser, dean of Temple’s School of Medicine, quipped to the crowd that “the rest of your life is in that envelope…no big deal,” while Executive Dean Arthur Feldman, a cardiologist by training, kept the mood light by offering his services “to anyone in the crowd who may be having palpitations.”
With 10 seconds to go, Feldman began counting down to zero. The students took a collective breath as the envelopes were ripped open. After hugs and high-fives, many of the new medical residents made their way to a map of the U.S. and placed small stickers of stars on the cities where they will spend the next several years of their lives in training.
Nathan Riley, his girlfriend and family members popped a bottle of champagne after he found out he matched with Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center for OB/Gyn.
“It’s overwhelming,” he said. “It’s been a tough four years. My father was sick when I entered medical school and he isn't here with us today. It’s very emotional.”
- Andrew Smith