For Sally Woods, a fourth-year medical student, the excitement is building and friends and family are also waiting in anticipation.
She will join the Class of 2015 in the College of Medicine on Friday at noon for the annual Match Day event where medical students find out where their residency training will take place.
Woods and her classmates will learn where they will spend the next three to five years of their lives training for a career in medicine. She hopes to match in radiology and stay in the Midwest, close to her family who live in the Cincinnati area.
After a months-long residency interview process, the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) does the actual matching, linking the program preferences of students with those of residency program directors.
"The match process has been a very exciting experience for me,” says Woods. "I’ve been to 15 different cities in the past three months. I’ve met people from all over the country with all different backgrounds. It’s very exciting because these could be the people I could potentially be spending the next five years of my life working with. Yes, it is exhausting both mentally and physically.”
At UC, medical students will gather at 11:30 a.m. Friday in Room E-351 of the Medical Sciences Building for announcements and photos before the match process begins.
Student names are called lottery style during the event, and the students come to the front of the room to open their residency envelopes. The matching will be screened live in Kresge Auditorium, where many parents and family of med students gather, and streamed live online at med.uc.edu.
UC’s Academic Health Center will also post Match Day photos via twitter using the hashtag #UCMatch2015.
This year, Andrew Filak, MD, senior associate dean for academic affairs, will pull the first envelope for the class, with Aurora Bennett, MD, associate dean of student affairs, and Bruce Giffin, PhD, associate dean for medical education, pulling the rest of the envelopes for Match Day.
Bennett said Match Day is one of those unforgettable milestones for med students.
"It is the culmination of all those years of undergraduate and medical school where you finally are going to make the transition into the specialty you have chosen to work in probably for the next 50 years of your life,” said Bennett.
Woods thinks UC’s Match Day is "hands down” the best in the nation.
"My friend was matching last year (at another medical school) and I called to find out where I could watch her video online and she said, ‘What are you talking about?’” recounts Woods. "I said, ‘You know, they play your song and you run down like "The Price is Right” and you read out where you matched.’
"She was like no, no we don’t do that. We just go to our dean’s office and they hand us a letter. I thought, that’s so boring. So I am very glad to be a part of our huge match celebration at UC,” says Woods.
"I am very nervous about the match, but it’s a good nervous. I like to think of it as waiting for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. I’ve left my list and I know he is going to bring something, but I have to wait until the next day to find out what it is.
"What I am most looking forward to about Match Day is spending time with all my classmates. We spent the last four years together, we laughed together, we have cried together and we made so many memories together. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate all our accomplishments together than as a class on Match Day,” says Woods.
While medical students are eager to learn where they will match, program directors at the College of Medicine and UC Health also await the names of their incoming residents.
"Neurology is extremely excited to learn who are our seven residents,” said Robert Neel, MD, vice chair of education and professor in the Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine. "We expanded this year with the help of the College of Medicine and our new chairman, Dr. Brett Kissela, and this will be our first group of seven neurology PGY1 residents. We had great candidates visit us from across the country.”
Neurology residents learn to care for inpatients and outpatients with a variety of problems ranging from migraines and seizures to stroke and ALS to multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease, explained Neel.
Residency "matches” are determined by rankings from both student applications and programs. After applying and interviewing with residency programs, students rank the programs by their order of preference, weighing factors of program quality, geographic region and family or personal factors into their list.
For more view what happened during last year's Match Day.