Tomorrow is Match Day for many dental students hoping to join a specialty. This includes Oral Surgery. Even after my successful match 2 years ago, it seems like a big day. We will find out who we will be working with over the next few years. The intern of our program will find out if he gets to stay here (which as a former intern I am always hoping for). And I remember one more year has gone by and I am grateful I am here.
I remember my first match day three years ago. I woke up excited and nervous. I wasn’t sure what to think but I was hopeful. I checked my phone for an email before I jumped out of bed. It wasn’t there. As I was changing into my clothes it did come. I remember yelling, “It’s here!” I found the very sad letter that said I had not matched. I can’t remember what I did. I was shocked and also not horribly surprised. I had only applied to one program—but it was a sad morning. I was very glad I was not at school that day to face all of the questions from my classmates. I instead drove to Cedar Rapids to give a presentation to an elementary school about oral hygiene and cavity prevention. I tried to put on a happy face and hoped the kids couldn’t tell the stranger in front of them was feeling pretty down. On my way to the school I received a call from the program director. She asked how I was doing—a silly question, I thought. I wonder what she expected I would say, “So relieved!” or “Suicidal” or “Angry at you?” I said I was feeling “A little disappointed.” I may have even choked back tears. She said something like she would guess so. I felt like, “Well, it is your fault I am feeling this way.” She asked me if I would take the position as intern. She seemed surprised when I said I would have to think about it and talk it over with my husband. She called later that day as I drove home. I think I had to tell her to wait until morning when I finally told her I would accept.
The next year was a very stressful time. I had finished 6 months of my internship. I knew I wanted to do Oral Surgery and not go back to general dentistry. We had early morning rounds as we usually do. The other residents were anxious, especially one of the seniors who kept asking me over and over again if the result had come, when would it come, had it come yet? I was assigned to cover the clinic at the college of dentistry. All of the staff doctors, many of the residents, and some of the past residents were there for a mock board exam. I wished I had taken the day off in case I didn’t match. It would be hard to face them. As I walked over to the school with the other residents, I decided to restart my phone as it was frozen. I worried I would miss the email. Of course I did. When I arrived at the school one of the assistants saw me and gave me a big hug. I was confused and she could tell. I didn’t know if she knew the results of the match and was congratulating me or consoling me or if something else prompted her affection. She tried to cover up her mistake and give the other residents hugs too, congratulation them on babies and such. A few minutes later my phone finally was back online and I got the result: this time I did match. I have never felt such a huge wave of relief. It literally felt like a load off my back—a load of stress and worry I had carried around the 6 months previous. Abe made some treats and brought them to work for me to share. We had a small party (that was ruined by poor weather) to celebrate the result, something we planned to do despite the result because I was so glad to finally know.
This year, like last, I feel so relieved and grateful that it isn’t me (again) waiting and wondering. But this year I do have one more match coming up, in March, for my husband Abe. I will be so grateful when our family has all match days behind us. For now, I’m grateful for where I am and that it isn’t me awaiting the results tomorrow morning.
Good luck Lance!