March 9, 2023
By Chase Mussard, M.D.
Resident member of the AAFP Board of Directors
If you’ve spent any amount of time attempting to explain to your family and friends who don’t work in medicine how the thrilling process known as Match works, you may have landed on a celebratory holiday as a fair analogy. For me, the time just before Match Day was kind of like Christmas Eve in my household. It was eerily quiet. I’d sent my wish list, and I was eagerly waiting and hoping to see some magic.
Whatever metaphor you’ve used, whatever choices and actions have led you here, all of us who have dreamed of Match for (sometimes many) years, find ourselves thinking right now of the moment when what could be turns to what will be. It can be an anxious moment, though most are about to see a dream realized.
The complicated mechanics of Match aside, the result and its meaning aren’t hard to explain to your loved ones. This is the day when you find out where your home will be for the next three years. It’s the day you learn where you’ll go to take on some of the deepest, most rewarding challenges of your life so far.
Wherever you find yourself on March 17, lean into your Match Day reactions and emotions. More than 10 years of education and training have led to this day. You deserve to revel in it.
Match Day is, of course, just one day. Yes, you will always remember starting a momentous new chapter in your life and your career. Maybe you’ve been able to write your own chapters thus far with relative ease. Maybe you instead feel sometimes as though you’ve been writing in the margins of a story not yet fully your own. However, you’ve arrived here, and you have already shown tremendous perseverance. What we all know now is that more chapters lie ahead. It’s a whole saga.
I can’t tell you how your particular story proceeds from here, but I can say this: You are already on your way to being a great family physician. Match Day simply makes this more real to you. In a few short months, you’re going to walk into a clinic exam room and say, “Hi, nice to meet you. I’m your family doctor. How can I help you?”
Each of these encounters will help shape your family medicine story. That’s no metaphor.
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