While Friday is Match Day, today is the day people learn if they matched. Here's hoping that they are as jubilant as Aaron Paul on getting called down on the Price is Right. And here's hoping they didn't overbid in the showcase.
Aaron Paul is best known for his character of Jesse in Breaking Bad, so I find it really endearing that he was such a huge geek for Bob Barker and the Price is Right. And, he won that desk, but barely overshot the price of the showcase.
Chances are a lot of people who find out they match today will probably feel like Aaron Paul on Friday--and that's ok. Match is such an artificial thing on one level. It's like the blind date of job interviews. You spend four years in medical school (if you're lucky enough to get in) stressing out over picking a specialty and whether you'll even match at the end. Sometimes you do match, but not where you thought you wanted to be. Sometimes you match in a specialty you didn't think you wanted. And sometimes you scramble.
I'm in a Facebook group for medical spouses; something I see often (often enough that they stick out, anyway) are posts where someone's spouse will ask what specialty their Dr. H. should pick based on work/life balance. Or they'll ask about what X city is like for residency. I was lucky, or perhaps smart, in that I didn't try to influence Dr. D on what specialty she should do or even what programs to rank first. I listened and I answered questions when they came up. I know I wouldn't have wanted someone outside of my field to tell me what I should specialize in when I was going for my PhD and I basically did what I wanted when it came to applying for jobs. So, it strikes me as odd on just a basic level that spouses are trying to ask other spouses what their doctor should do for residency.
Beyond that basic level, though, of letting the person who has been through the wringer decide which new wringer they want to put themselves through is the fact that they have very little control anyway--the match process is pretty elaborate and the actual person trying to find a spot probably has the least amount of control over it all. Sure, you get to rank your choices, but you're just one person. The programs you interview with are made up of multiple individuals and you're just one in a sea of applicants.
So, here's hoping your Monday is like the pre-showcase game with Aaron Paul. If you know you matched today, celebrate heartily. Friday, if you're presented with your second or even third choice, know that so many people I've known through the years I've been watching medical students and residents from the sidelines don't get their first match--but it often turns out to be just as well. I've heard and read countless stories that start with, "Well, I actually didn't rank my program as #1, but man I should have."
This blog is written from the perspective of an older medical spouse who happens to be childless by choice. I hope that husbands, older spouses, those childless by choice, and others will find this entertaining and occasionally useful.