Well, hopefully it's a Happy Match Day to all you 4th year medical students out there. There's nothing like Match Day to make you realize just how little control you have over your life once you enter the medical world! It's hard to believe it's been 5 years since Jeff's Match Day and I can't help thinking about our experience.
We had only been dating a little over 1 year when I walked into the room with Jeff and his family to wait his turn to read what was in his little white envelope. We had already decided when he made his rank list that we wanted to move to the same city together- him for residency and me for graduate school. I guess it was a big leap of faith at the time to alter our futures for a relationship that was still developing, but it just seemed like the right thing to do at the time and we listened to how we were feeling. Most parents would not want their 21 year old daughter making important life decisions based around a relationship that had not even been "official" for 1 calendar year, and my parents would normally be of the same opinion. But when I nervously told my Mom on the phone that Jeff and I were trying to match up locations she simply replied with something like, "Your Dad and I had a feeling this would be the case." So, Jeff moved up places on his list where I had either been accepted into graduate school or had an interview scheduled, and moved down a favorite residency in a city where I had no hopes of attending graduate school. I ruled out my favorite program that was in a city without any residency program. We both made sacrifices and I think I knew somewhere deep down what was to come with this medical life.
Back in the room at Match Day, waiting on Jeff's turn, we were pretty certain what his card would say. He had done a month rotation at a particular big University program in the South. They loved him and all but promised him a residency spot. I was on the wait list for acceptance to their PhD program. But there was another residency program that he liked just as much as the one he rotated at- LSU in New Orleans. I had interviewed at their grad school program, hated it, been accepted, and decided I would never go there. I still had another shot at grad school in New Orleans though, at Tulane. My interview there was scheduled after his rank list was due. My last interview of the year. I had originally written it off for some reason, to this day I don't know why. We would have to make our decision based on the possibility of me liking the Tulane program and being accepted. It would be a big risk to take. We decided to rank the program he rotated at #1, in the city where I was wait-listed. I could sit out a year if I had to. We thought it was a sure thing. We would rank LSU #2.
I was sitting there in my brand new navy Milly wrap dress I had bought just for this occasion, my hair cut short to my chin and very blonde. In the time since we turned in his rank list, I had interviewed at Tulane, loved it, and been accepted. Jeff's name was called and as he got up to walk to the stage I nervously started fiddling with the pen I was holding. I looked down and noticed it was purple and yellow (or was it gold?) and had an advertisement for some sort of drug or company on it, I can't remember which, but there in tiny print was the word "Ortho." I got chills as I realized those were LSU colors. Jeff made his way to the microphone, opened the envelope, and I waited to hear the name of the program we had ranked #1, but instead he read the words "Orthopaedic Surgery, Louisiana State University-New Orleans." My heart leapt and I was flooded with a sense of relief! I hadn't known how I really felt until that very moment. LSU had always been my #1 choice, but after debating pros and cons of every program endlessly my true feelings had gotten lost. We would be close to family and I could go to a graduate program I felt was right for me.
Jeff was disappointed at first, as would be expected, but time made clear just how right this decision was for the both of us. Looking back, I'm not sure what would have happened to us if he had matched at the other program in a city far away from anyone we knew. Who knows if I would have been accepted into that PhD program, and who knows if I would have made it through til the end. Our time in New Orleans has been an incredible blessing in our lives and I'm getting a little teary eyed thinking about our time here coming to a close. I will always vividly remember Match Day 2008 because it was that day that I began believing in signs and trusting in God's plan for our life together.