My Match Day: A Roller-Coaster Week

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Sunday 9 a.m.

It just hit me: Match Week is here. Suddenly, my initial excitement about finding out where I will continue my medical training is saturated with nerves. I have butterflies, but I am simultaneously sick to my stomach. Clearly ominous, this is going to be a “roller coaster of emotions” type of week!

Monday 6:15 a.m.

I woke up to texts from some of my classmates. Everyone is anticipating the coveted email confirming that we matched which is scheduled to hit our inboxes at 11 a.m. today. Yesterday, my nerves overshadowed my excitement, but today, my excitement rings pure. In less than 5 hours, I will find out if I matched. But, until then, it’s time for me to get ready for my Infectious Disease (ID) Clerkship and pretend like it’s a normal day on the wards — there are patients to be seen!

Monday 10:45 a.m.

ID rounds start in the Intensive Care Unit. I meet my attending and resident physicians to present my patients and discuss their current clinical presentation and our plans for their treatment and management.

Monday 11:18 a.m.

Wow. Time flew by; it is past 11 a.m.! I was so focused on rounding with the ID team that I completely forgot; the e-mail must be out by now. I look down at my phone, and I have 6 unread text messages. I open my email app on my phone and all the excitement and angst dissipates: “Congratulations! You have matched!” the email reads. Given the number of interview invitations I had received, as well as how well many of my interviews went, I was certain I would match. However, receiving the official email brought a relief that I cannot explain. I quickly texted my parents and siblings to let them know the good news and continued rounding with the team.

Monday 6 p.m.

To productively use my excited energy, I went to the gym directly after work. My classmate must have been thinking something similar; we high-fived as we realized that we both matched. It feels so good. Today feels gloriously wonderful! I can’t wait until Friday to find out where I matched!

Wednesday 7 a.m.

Mid-week pulse check…I’m more excited than nervous, but I will admit nerves are on the fritz. I can’t wait for Friday at noon to finally find out where!

Thursday 9 p.m.

My parents and siblings are flying in from Virginia to celebrate Match Day tomorrow. My one-hour drive to the airport gives me ample time to think. This is CRAZY. Tomorrow, my life will change forever. I will know where I will be continuing my training to become the physician I have dreamed of becoming! This. Is. REAL. I am so excited!

Friday 11:30 a.m.

My family and I arrive at Michigan State University’s Flint campus building. My classmates and I are all dressed up and surrounded by our loved ones. I introduce my family to my friends and the residents, attendings, medical school faculty, and staff. It is wonderful to have my immediate family and my medical school family all in one place to celebrate this momentous occasion.

Friday 11:55 a.m.

Our community dean calls our attention to the front of the room. Our envelopes have been placed on the table. He begins explaining how pivotal a moment this is in our medical training. He tells us that we should be proud of ourselves considering the hard work required to experience this moment. When the clock strikes 12, he explains, we can come to the table, find the envelope with our name on it, and take it back to our families to open it.

Friday 12 p.m.

The moment is here. Some of my classmates move quickly, others saunter over to the table. I quickly search for my name and grab my envelope. As I walk towards my family, I can feel tears attacking my lower eyelids. Why am I about to cry now? I wonder. This is it. No time for this nonsense, I jokingly chide myself. My parents and siblings surround me with their cameras pointed directly at me. I slowly open my envelope and read my fate. I matched into General Surgery at Detroit Medical Center/Wayne State University!

Maseray Kamara

A calm rushed over me as I stared at my reality written in black in white. My childhood dream was actualized, and my family’s sacrifice, our hard work, and our unrelenting prayers had been manifested. I matched! And, I am going to be a surgeon!

I looked around the room and it was an overwhelming unison of jubilation. There were happy tears, sighs of relief, shouts of glee, hugs and kisses, embraces and handshakes, and camera flashes — lots and lots of camera flashes. We made it! My classmates and I matched, and we were overcome with happiness. What a way to end this wild ride, also known as medical school. WE MATCHED!

Maseray S. Kamara is a 4th year medical student, AMA Journal of Ethics’ Issue Editor, and In-training Magazine and KevinMD contributor. Follow her journey on Instagram @maserayskamara and visit her website www.maserayskamara.com.

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