Match day has come and gone for medical students throughout the country. Some of my classmates were out-of-their-minds happy, and others were left confused how they could have fallen on their list so far. Regardless, we all are now preparing for the next step in our lives.
How do I feel about my own match? Well, as a mom to a toddler and the wife to a great husband, deciding how to rank my list was not all about me. If I could have chosen my perfect program and perfect location, my heart would have had me in a big city that I fell in love with a long time ago in my life. I spent a summer in this city, and the location got under my skin. Coincidentally, my closest friend from high school moved to the city, and my husband and I also have some family there.
Sounds perfect, right? Well, the cost of living was outlandishly high. As a single person, I could have made it work. Heck, even as a married woman with no children, I might have stuffed my husband into a tiny apartment, lofted our bed and somehow made it work then too. However, I was hesitant to cram my very active toddler in this city with its expensive schools, cost of living, and distance from the rest of our family unless it was the perfect fit and strongest program.
I wasn’t completely convinced it was. We also didn’t have a guarantee of finding a job right away for my husband. It was a hard call how to rank these programs I loved that were near/associated with this city.
When February 20th – the rank list deadline - came, I had to go with my gut. I put Beloved City programs below some less expensive cities with what most in my field would consider stronger academic programs that were more of a fit for my personality and career goals. I landed at my No. 2 program, which was honestly the No. 1 fit for our family. My first choice was also another expensive city but was more feasible than the city my twenty-something self spent a summer nearly starving in years ago. We felt okay with putting it No. 1, but in the end – it was just an incredibly competitive match to get.
So was No. 2, but as it turns out – they must have seen something special in me to choose me. Let’s hope so, because now as I view our new city through potential rentals or buys, and I explore preschools, family activities, and recreation options, I know in my heart I am seeing something special and the “right fit” in them.
The Match process isn’t perfect. There would have been other places on my list that I wish I could have put higher due to the city being appealing or certain aspects of other programs being so strong.
However, in the end, I think this was a very successful match for not just me, but for my family. Going to medical school was a family process. My husband went alongside me, and now my toddler is going through everything with us. After all of our hard work, all of my family deserves our perfect match, and I had to rank with all of us in mind. I can’t wait to start at my program this summer, and I am thrilled to be a resident with them. It is also certainly not a downside to know that we will be able to afford to feed and clothe our family!
ToddlerMamaMD is an about-to-graduate fourth-year medical student who aspires to have an academic career. One day, she hopes to teach medical students, residents, and fellows, live near the ocean and ski slopes, and write and publish novels.