The end of medical school culminates with a single red envelope, inside which holds our residency destination for the next 3-7 years. In the fall and winter of our last year of medical school, we go on interviews in our chosen specialty and both we and the residency programs make lists ranking each other. The week before match day, a central computer algorithm accounts for all the residencies and all the students and decides where we do our residency. It’s based on the “stable marriage” problem, which considering the amount of time we spend in the hospital during residency is not a bad name for it.
Every school does match day a little bit different, but a few characteristics hold true for all. It’s always on a Friday in March, usually St. Patrick’s day. The Monday prior we receive an email from the NMRP (the matching website) saying if we matched or not, but not where we matched. And on Friday at exactly 12 PM Eastern Time and correspondingly 9 AM pacific time, each medical student in the country opens a red envelope that contains our match result.
Since I applied in ophthalmology, I actually already matched into my ophthalmology residency program in January. Both ophthalmology and urology find out their match results in January, but all the other specialties find out in March on the much more anticipated “match day” when we all open our envelopes in one big room together. For me, match day meant I was finding out about where I matched into for my first year or residency. I had applied to general surgery positions for my first year and was hope-hope-hoping I would match in the Bay Area since the Spork will be here for 3 more years completing his MD/PhD.
At 9am, we opened our red envelopes and a wave of excitement swept across the room. People were crying and hugging each other, capturing their excitement in photos, and picking up champagne flutes arranged nearby for a toast to the match. The Spork and I shared our news with classmates and mentors nearby, and found our closest friends to see where they were headed next. Overall it seems like most people got exactly where they hoped, or very very close to it. I suppose the happy marriage principle does work! There are of course disappointments during match day, but as our dean of education put – The program you match at is the best program for you – whether you know it at the time or not. He shared a story of how his wife was disappointed at not matching at her top choice residency which would be close to her then boyfriend. However within a few months of starting residency in the place she did match at, she met our our dean ( then a co-resident of hers) and now they are happily married doctors in the same department!
In the evening, we had a reception followed by a dinner for the matched students, our families, faculty, and alumni. Then we topped the night off with drinks for just the matched and current students at a nearby restaurant. It was a great celebration, and I think a lot of dreams came true that day.
The ophthalmology match is a little different from the main match in March. Since only ophthalmology and urology match in January, there is no big party, but still just as much anticipation for the people in each school applying to either specialty. For ophthalmology, you get an email the morning of at exactly 7 am Eastern time and 4 am Pacific time. I set an alarm for 4 AM the day of the ophthalmology match to make sure I was awake. But luckily because I am a very nervous person, I was up naturally at 3:55 am hyperventilating in the covers to see if I matched, which was a big relief at 4 AM! The Spork, who loves to sleep in was also awake at approximately 4 AM and immediately texted me when he saw the notification on our shared email account I used for residency match (another post about that later… but as the most supportive fiance ever, the Spork helped me answer emails from residency programs for months because I was still on clinical rotations during interview season unable to schedule interviews during the daytime).
For the rest of the day, ophthalmology applicants check their phones every couple minutes becasue the program director at wherever they matched will call them. That is how we find out where, as the call often comes before the email. I was on my pediatrics rotation in the hospital rounding to 1 PM (yes.. 1 PM!) and dying to look at my phone except the rounding team was me, a resident, and the attending so I could not steal a look! Thankfully I had to go to the bathroom and my future program director called me while I was in the bathroom. It echoed every time I talked, and the automatic flush sensors was on, but it was still exciting finding out where I would be. Of course it was very difficult to focus on my rotation the rest of the day as I hid some more in the bathroom to let my fiance, parents, best friend, and closest mentors know where I was headed for residency (UCLA-Eyestar!).
Both match days felt like such a whirlwind and sometimes I can’t believe how well things turned out given all the moving factors that go into the match. The Spork has been utmostly supportive throughout the process from helping answer my emails to residencies when I wasn’t able, to cooking dinners almost all through my rotations, to waking up early with me to drop me off in front of the hospital for part of my surgery rotation because it was still dark out.
Like the match, Snickerdoodles are timeless. Up on the list with chocolate chip cookies as cookies I can always count on for a pick-me-up. This snickerdoodle recipe is a simple one that works best if you put the dough in the refrigerator overnight first (you can even make lots of dough and just scoop right from it and bake whenever you want some fresh warm cookies, instead of baking them all at once!). Though simple, cookies like snickerdoodles and chocolate chip are my favorite, because they are magical each time.
Ben and Jerry’s has been serving up dairy-free ice cream for about a year, with more new flavors. The flavor here is one of my favorites!The ice cream in here is Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy Coffee Caramel Fudge flavor. The Spork and I have been trying the various non-dairy flavors and this is one of our favorites. For a list of non-dairy ice cream flavors we have tried & our reviews please see our Non-Dairy Ice Cream Competition page
- ½ cup (1 stick) Earth Balance vegan margarine (can subs. unsalted butter)
- ¾ cup sugar for cookie
- 1 egg
- 1½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cream of tar tar
- pinch salt
- ¼ cup sugar for dusting
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon for dusting
- Cream the margarine/butter and ¾ cup sugar until well combined, and light and fluffy. On a hand mixer this took me 10 minutes to achieve on medium speed (expect closer to 5 min on a stand mixer on medium high).
- Beat in eggs until combined, takes another 3 minutes. Scrape the bowl down as you mix in to make sure everything is completely mixed.
- Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cream of tartar. Add to the butter mixture and mix until just combined. Store dough in airtight container overnight in the fridge to let it set for easier cooking forming.
- Next day: Preheat oven to 350, and roll the dough into 1.5 tablespoon balls (or use a cookie scoop - which is what I did to save some time). Dunk ½ the ball into the mixture of sugar and cinnamon for dusting.
- Place cookie dough ball on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, dusted side up.
- Bake for 16 minutes, until the edges are just barely browned and the center is still soft. Let cool on the baking sheet for 10min and then transfer to a wire rack to cool.