Taylor Kantor has applied to more than 50 residency programs and gone on two dozen interviews. The fourth-year University of Cincinnati medical student from Columbus is ready to know his future.
Kantor, along with graduating medical students from across the country, will learn Friday, March 16, during the annual Match Day event where they will spend the next three to seven years of their lives in residency training. At UC, medical students will gather for festivities around noon in Room E-351 in the Medical Sciences Building, while their parents, friends and supporters will watch via satellite video in Kresge Auditorium.
Their names are called lottery-style during the event, and the students come to the front of the room to open their residency envelopes. Kantor dual applied for cardio thoracic programs—the specialty he hopes to enter and one of the toughest in which to snag a coveted residency spot—along with general surgery programs. He has a few thoughts about Match Day.
"For one, it’s scary, from the sense you are going to be opening up that letter for the very first time,” says Kantor. "You are going to be showing your emotions to everyone that’s there in the process. You learn as they learn where you are going for the first time. I think overall it’s also really exciting.”
Christine Rubeiz, a fourth-year medical student from Carmel, Indiana, hoping to match in pediatrics agrees.
"The match day tradition here is such an honor,” she says. "There is so much excitement in the air. I remember watching Match Day as a first-year and as a second-year medical student and feeling like it was so far away. Even as a third-year, I felt like ‘that’s never going to be me’ but now I get to be here and participate in all the Match Day traditions. I am really excited.”
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 matching process starts pretty early on, about a year before you plan to match,” says Nisha Giridharan, a fourth-year medical student from Cincinnati who hopes to match into neurosurgery. "It involved submitting the electronic residency application. You fill out extracurricular activities, grades and get letters of recommendation. I did that back in September. Then you get interview invites over the next few months, from October to February. You make a rank list and then just wait for the matching process to begin.”
This year, College of Medicine Dean William Ball, MD, 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 says Match Day is the culmination of years of grueling study for medical students. It’s also an unforgettable milestone for most physicians.
"It’s a very shared experience and our students are very supportive of each other,” says Bennett. "This really is the moment. They have been apart rotating on different services during the year, but they get to come together for this one moment to connect around one of the most important decisions of their career.
"Of course I remember my Match Day,” says Bennett. "At the school I attended, everyone opened their envelopes at the same time and shared the results with peers and family. There was laughter and some sad tears because not everyone matched where they had most hoped to be.
"Where I went everyone opened the envelope at the same time and everyone is showing their envelope and there is laughter and there are happy tears and there are some sad tears because not everyone got maybe where they had hoped to be. Family members could be there with you. Overall, it’s a very joyous moment for the vast majority of students.”
Sara Stigler, a fourth-year medical student hoping to match into family medicine, says her family along with a loyal contingent of former co-workers from Cincinnati Children’s will be watching and cheering her on. She’s interviewed at 10 different programs and hopes to stay in the Midwest.
"I remember when I first decided I wanted to do medicine,” says Stigler. "I originally thought I might be a lab scientist. I was working over at UC as an undergraduate in engineering and decided that sitting with machines and not with people all day was not for me. I ended up getting a job at UC’s emergency department and I fell in love with patient care and medicine and it changed my whole trajectory.”
UC Academic Health Center will post Match Day photos via Twitter @UCHealthNews using the hashtag #CincyMatch2018.