Opening the Envelope: Some Match Day Wisdom for Med Students

  • /Reviewed by: Amy Rontal, MD
  • Today, thousands of medical students from across the country are going to be opening the envelope that they’ve spent four years waiting to see. For the first time since this journey started, the realization hits that you will soon be working in a certain city, for a specific program, taking care of real patients. Congratulations!

    When I opened my letter, my first thought was, “shit.” I might be one of the only people in the history of the match to be disappointed at learning that I had been selected to continue my medical training at the Mayo Clinic. Still, as prestigious as that opportunity was, all I could think about in that moment was the uncertainty of moving away from Kentucky for the first time in my life coupled with the fear of my newfound responsibility. I spent the rest of the day celebrating with my friends and family while secretly wishing that I could redo my rank list or find another opportunity.

    Over the next several months, I descended in to a depression, constantly fixating on everything that could go wrong. How would I do being in a long-distance relationship? Was I even good enough to be at such a prestigious institution? Would I drift apart from my friends back home? 

    It wasn’t until I walked through the hallowed doors at Rochester Methodist Hospital on the first day of my orientation that I began to see the other side of this opportunity.  For the first time since match day, I could appreciate the reality of the situation: I, Christopher Carrubba from Burlington, Kentucky, product of the public-school system and a state university, was now a physician at the world-renowned Mayo Clinic. I guess it wasn’t so bad after all.

    Whether you open your envelope and see your first or your last choice find a way to move past any little disappointments or fears and focus on the big picture:  somewhere out there, a hospital wanted you to take care of their patients. That truly is an honor.