There is no limit to the list of words to describe the joy a fourth year medical student feels upon learning he/she has matched with their residency program of choice. It’s a pivotal, exciting and nerve-racking time for these medical students – the time in their careers when they learn the results of the first round of the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) that advises them which residency program they’ve been matched with and where in Canada they’ll be completing their residency.
Yesterday I had the pleasure and joy of attending UBC’s “Match Day” and the energy was certainly contagious! More than 100 fourth year UBC medical students donned their Match Day T-shirts, placed a sticker on a map of Canada in the city where they’ll be completing their residencies, and kicked off celebrations with friends and peers. And did they ever celebrate! The buzz of excitement (and tangible relief) filled the air, and reminded me of when I learned about my own residency placement a good number of years ago. Back then we were notified in a much more archaic way… by mail. What followed then were multiple phone calls, by landline to friends, to find out where we had all placed.
Nowadays students across Canada all receive an email at exactly the same time (9:00am PST), and then flock to pre-arranged Match Day events to congregate and celebrate with friends and classmates. Despite the obvious technological differences, I have no doubt that the emotions these students were feeling were the same I had experienced – the same all of us who have been on their journey will have felt: that of excitement, some angst and possibly fear of the unknown, and, ultimately great pride and heartfelt relief.
It was an honour and not surprisingly most humbling to be part of such a significant milestone in these medical students’ lives and their early careers. This rite of passage has repeated annually for many, many years. And as more experienced and seasoned physicians, it’s so important that we embrace these young doctors just starting out in their careers – to support and mentor them so that they too will achieve their goals and become our doctors of tomorrow.
To the many UBC students I managed to connect and celebrate with – and to those further afield in BC and across Canada – I say a hearty congrats! Congrats on succeeding at medical school and beginning the next journey in your careers – you’re now all on the cusp of greater achievements. I wish each and every one of you the very best of success in your residency training! And for now, revel in the glow…