Visibly shaking, the envelope in hand, he tried to muster up something to say as he fumbled with the tape sealing his future. Some snarky comment arose, followed by the crowd’s mixed laughter and sighs, all of which he didn’t appreciate as he finally opened the envelope without mutilation and removed the contents.
Folded lengthwise in two places making three equal compartments, the paper was ironically non-distinct. He trembled, struggling to remain calm, but realizing the sudden finality and enormity of what he was holding.
Seconds ticked by as he stared at the bolded writing, unreadable in his current state. He vaguely recalled a condition in which people lose their vision when confronted with a stressful event. He read the first part.
“Anesthesiology” was written on the middle portion of the paper. The line directly underneath slowly came into focus. He wondered why the seemingly mundane and simple task he had witnessed the year before was proving to be so arduous.
Finally, after what seemed to him to be an eternity, where the crowd, he felt, grew concerned, whispering and murmuring about the delay, his cognitive abilities returned enough to comprehend.
“It’s a good day.” he finally managed to say. More grains of sand fell as a wave of absolute relief and gratitude overcame him, bringing water to his eyes. He held them back.
“I’m going into Anesthesiology at my first choice…Major Academic Center of Excellence!” Applause resounded in the auditorium which was rendered indistinct by his euphoria.
Refolding the paper and stuffing it awkwardly back into the envelope he proceeded with the ceremonial ritual. His hands still shook, but this time from pure and unmitigated joy.
Yes, that’s right. I matched into my first choice. Once I returned to my seat and watched others of my class go through the traumatic opening of our letters in front of hundreds of people I had to reread my letter, just to make sure. I’ve never been so nervous and I didn’t understand why.
And while we rejoiced I was saddened to learn of those who didn’t match even after scrambling. One of my good friends was amongst these unfortunates and I couldn’t express my sorrow fully enough.
We matched at 85% overall. We were told that the US average was around 73%. When the NRMP comes out with the data I will delineate a little further with our results and the numbers going into each specialty – but it was very Medicine, OB/GYN, and Gen Surg heavy. We only had 3 enter Anesthesia, though I know that another two matched at preliminaries and will have to try and match to a PGY-2 anesthesia position next year.