Today is one of the most important days for students graduating from medical school; it’s Match Day. This morning, all around the country, each applicant opened an envelope with the name of the program that would become their home for their years of residency; in Hannah’s case, that is five years. Over the past year I’ve talked to many friends who had questions about this semi- mysterious process, so I’ll tell you about it from my perspective.
Hannah is graduating from the University of Washington School of Medicine in June. At that point she’ll be a doctor, but she’ll go on to study the specialty she has chosen, otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery. Yes, my baby is going to be a surgeon. Over the winter she flew around the country interviewing at sixteen programs. She wasn’t able to accept all of the interviews offered due to scheduling conflicts, and had to cancel one interview when the flights became impossible. She traveled constantly, sometimes taking red-eyes from one interview to another. It was expensive and exhausting, but it allowed her to see the programs, meet faculty and current residents, learn about the cities, and begin to sort out her thoughts.
When all of the interviews were done, prayer, discussion, and more research began. Actually, prayer was ongoing, but it took on more urgency. She consulted with her advisers and other wise people. We talked a lot about the pros and cons of different programs, cities to live in, and the simple geography of how far she would be from her family. In the end, we encouraged her to set distance aside and choose the programs that she felt most drawn to. Some programs didn’t emphasize pediatrics, so they dropped down her list, others were in cities where she really didn’t want to live for five years, some taught specific skills that interested her – such as repairing cleft palates, while others didn’t, etc.
Eventually she made a list of the programs with number one being her first choice and on down, until she had ranked each program. Every other student interviewing also made a rank list and those lists were submitted to a central database. Meanwhile, the programs also made lists ranking the applicants in order and submitting their lists to the computer. Then some sort of scientific magic happened and the computer spit out the results of where each student would go for residency.
During the wait, Hannah went to Africa for four weeks to work in a rural hospital, which was the perfect distraction. Her belief in the sovereignty of God gave her great comfort. In the end, she was thankful that she did not have to choose where she would go but could simply trust that God had good plans for her.
The results were sealed until today at 12:00 EDT, which was 9:00 PDT where we live. We knew she would open her letter at 9:00, and she would text us the results. We waited to hear…and it felt like we kept waiting, although it was actually only minutes. We hoped it wasn’t bad news, and she was simply hugging her classmates and celebrating. Then finally, we got a text – with a photo we couldn’t see. Russ called her and we learned that she got her very first choice…
The University of Minnesota!
This may not mean much to most of us, but for those in the otolaryngology world, this is huge. The program is one of the very best in the country and they do the most amazing procedures. She is going to train under the very best and we could not be happier for her.
I have many reflections on what it is like to watch our children grow and become who Jesus wants them to be. They are each unique with their own gifts. I am learning to let go of what I think they should do with their lives and surrender them to seek what God wants for them. He made my children and gave them their skills, interests, and talents. As their mother, I have insight into that, but I am also not nearly wise enough to know the future. I’m humbled and thrilled Hannah’s success today.
Tonight Russ and I are taking the older kids out for dinner to celebrate. Noah is in New York City on a business school field trip, so he’ll miss it, but we’ll send him a picture 🙂
Thank you for letting me share Match Day with you.
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