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Exactly 6 years ago to the day on Monday 03/17/2014 - I received that beloved email stating that I had matched into a residency position. Finally my dream of becoming a doctor was getting closer to reality as I was days away from finding out where I had landed my first job (residency). In that moment, I was also celebrating that I was months away from walking across the stage and accomplishing my goals that I set for myself at four years old.

In the mist of all the chaos and confusion regarding the public health crisis created by COVID-19 many medical school celebratory match day events have been canceled across the country. I am aware why this needs to be done. But I’d be lying if I said this really doesn’t sadden me, that so many fourth-year medical students will not be able to experience the joy of opening up that envelope in front of their classmates, peers, faculty members, friends, and family. It’s really an experience like no other and for those who are not in the medical field I beg of you to google this on YouTube to see exactly what the experience is like. But to my dear medical students, I really do not want you to diminish your accomplishment as we are in the midst of a pandemic. You have earned this moment and deserve to find another means of celebrating your accomplishments. You don’t need a match day celebration to validate all the effort you have put in. So below are some suggestions on how you can practice social distancing and still have fun while waiting over the next few days to find out where you are going.

Re-channeling MATCH DAY energy:

1. Consider having a small get together with your roommates, close family, and other friends in medical school at your apartment/home. Please make sure everyone is healthy and has no history of COVID-19 exposures. Ideally, keep your gatherings to less than 10 people. And continue to practice safe hygiene and cleanliness.

2. Have a Facebook live or Instagram live session with other classmates who are also going to be receiving their email or “opening their letters” at the same time.

3. Create a video log of your medical school experience highlighting all the hard work you’ve put in and share it with friends and family digitally.

4. Consider writing a letter to yourself before you get to Friday’s BIG REVEAL to find out where you’re headed. And save the letter for you to read after Friday as a way to really meditate and reflect on the journey that you’ve experienced.

5. Just be plain grateful. Being a doctor is really about learning how to pivot and make changes on the fly. To be honest, you are going to sacrifice a lot more than a “match day” in the future. So you’re just getting a head start of what this career demands of you. But remember you did it! You are going to be a doctor!

Soon to be Physicians, you get to do the best job in the world. Personally, this career has afforded me so many opportunities and blessings that go well beyond I ever could have imagined. Remain humble and grateful for the lives you are going to change and the impact on society you’ll have. I salute your hard work and I am happy to welcome you all as you join the workforce along with us. With love, Dr. Chery

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