March 31, 2014

A Perfect Match

The morning of the Match, I woke up from a dream where my envelope was drawn first and I matched to a program in Philadelphia.  Five hours later and I knew that at least half of that dream - where I matched - was real!

The deans from Academic Affairs had placed the envelopes with our Match results in a giant brass cage that spun with a handle.  One by one, they drew an envelope, read out someone's name, and collected a dollar in return for the results (the last person called then got to collect the money as a reward for having to wait that long!).  They didn't draw my name first, or second, or even at the beginning - I was somewhere in the middle. All of us were seated around tables in the Alumni Center, waiting anxiously for our chance to find out where we were headed.  One by one, my friends at my table opened their envelopes.  We crowded around them each in turn, peering over shoulders to exclaim with excitement when the location was revealed.

When my name was called, I took my envelope back to my seat.  My hands were shaking and my heart was beating so hard, I almost couldn't tear it open.  When I pulled the paper out, I smoothed it flat against the table and scanned it, unseeing, looking for the line that said where I was headed for residency.  I think I even had to ask my friends what it said, and then I saw it: OB/Gyn residency at Albert Einstein Medical Center! PHILADELPHIA, HERE I COME!

Now, I have to confess something.  Einstein wasn't my first choice, it was my third choice.  But after I submitted my rank list, even though I really liked my first and second choices a lot, I kept thinking about what living in Philly would be like.  I actually had two different dreams where I matched there, and I when I thought about my interview days, I definitely had the most fun at my Einstein interview.  And Einstein was the program that I felt had really wanted me the most - when I sent them an email to let them know I had them as one of my top 3 choices, I got an email back from the department Chair and the program director. So when I read that I was going to be one of their 5 new interns, I was actually thrilled. My eyes teared up (but I didn't quite completely cry) and I was really, really happy with where the Match had sent me.

What they don't tell you about medical school could fill volumes, and even when you've been trucking along, you always sort of think that Match Day is going to be the best, happiest day of your life.  Sure, I was happy with where I was going - but not everyone was.  Later that evening (taking a break from our pub crawl before heading out again to go dancing), several of my friends and I were chatting about what the summer would bring.  The emotional reality of Match Day is not a pure and simple happiness, even if you get your top choice.  I had this realization that my friends would all be moving far away - some of my very good friends would be on the complete opposite side of the country, in Arizona.  While I was lucky that a lot of my friends from other schools were coalescing in Philadelphia (and one of my best friends would even be living in the same neighborhood/region as me!), some of my friends were leaving for parts unknown with only one or two classmates to join them.

As I've started looking for apartments and calculating moving costs, it's been difficult to wrap my mind around leaving Milwaukee.  This past weekend in particular, I've been in a nostalgic and sad funk, with a lot of fears picking away at my excitement.  I'm moving not only to a new city, but a whole different part of the country. There's a whole bunch of new cultural nuances I'll have to relearn, the way I had to readjust when I moved to Wisconsin. There's the scary thought of being completely alone in another new, larger city that I'll have to figure out on my own.  And running through it all has been a bit of melancholy for my romantic life.  Just when I've opened myself up to possibilities here, the time has come to move on and move forward.

Who knows what the summer will bring? I know I'll have almost a whole month to explore my new city before residency starts.  I know I'll have to pack up everything I own and haul it across the country.  And I know that it's going to be scary and exciting and new and terrifying and probably a little lonely at times.  

But I also know that it's going to be worth it.