Baylor College of Medicine. It was my dream. I was so ready to be back home in Houston at, in my opinion, the best Internal Medicine program in the state. I was a superstar on my away rotation at Baylor in Infectious Disease, one of the busiest inpatient rotations there. I made sure the program director knew I was interested without being too pushy. I got to know the Chief Residents to make sure they were in my corner. I got excellent letters of recommendation.
On Match Day, I cried when I opened my letter. Tears of joy, as I read, “Baylor,” on the paper. My parents looked at me like I was a crazy person. They were happy, too, though. My entire, huge family lives in Houston, and it was a great day for all of us.
Little did I know that a month into intern year, I would be meeting with my program director, informing him that I would be transferring residencies for my second year.
Three weeks before Match Day, I received a phone call out of nowhere from my now husband and father of my two precious babies. He was a second year resident at Tulane at the time. We connected fast, deeply, perfectly. He became my person and there was no doubt by either of us or anyone around us that this was the true match of my life.
Not long after I matched, my husband was offered chief residency at Tulane’s Internal Medicine program. My perfect plan of him joining me in Houston after intern year unraveled, but by that point, my next step was clear. On my first day of internship, I called him and asked, “How would you feel if I moved to New Orleans?” and his response was perfect, “I’d say I think you need a ring first.” I was living my old dream, but dreams change.
Residency and fellowship are hard and we put our lives on hold for our careers in so many ways. We see two physician households split geographically for careers all the time. We knew that was not for us. If it meant waiting for the other to finish training or putting one of our careers on hold, we could tolerate that. We were also blessed with having our daughter while in training. It was hard with all the moonlighting, odd hours, no family around, but still we are so grateful for the way our baby came into the world.
Match day is not the end of anything. It is just a step in the series of choices we make on this journey of life in medicine. You may match in the program or specialty of your dreams, and realize that it is not actually what you need. You may match at your last choice, only to find yourself in a place that lifts you up and opens doors you never knew you wanted to run through.
Match is not permanent or immovable, it is not the apex or nadir of your life or career, it is just an arrow directing you to your next stop. You are still driving this bus.
Arti Thangudu, MD is an endocrinologist and a 2018–2019 Doximity Author. She specializes in Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism and is a mom of two beautiful kiddos under three! She has started her own lifestyle and preventative medicine clinic called Complete Medicine in San Antonio. She has also contributed to Medscape and KevinMD. Outside of work, Dr. Thangudu enjoys traveling, cooking, and spending time with her husband and two children.