When the clock struck noon on Friday, 54 Mayo Medical School students tore into blue envelopes with information that will shape the next several years of their lives. It's all part of "Match Day."
What's Match Day?
Students at more than 150 U.S. medical schools found out Friday where they will be doing their medical residency programs. Last fall, students interviewed at schools and ranked their top three choices. Those schools determine which students they want to accept into their program. The National Resident Matching Program takes that information and matches students with residency programs. For the third year in a row, 98 percent of Mayo Medical School students got one of their top three choices.
During the hour leading up to the envelope opening, Jennifer Hou admitted she was excited and nervous.
"The day is definitely terrifying because this is where you find out where you are going to spend the next three to seven years of your life," she said.
Making things even more complicated is that Hou was not only concerned about what programs she got matched with but also that of her boyfriend — Jay Hanson. They both wanted to stay in Rochester at the Mayo Clinic for the bulk of their residency.
Hou is planning to be a dermatologist. That requires completing a one-year medical residency and another three-year program focused on dermatology. So what ended up happening? Hou said it was a mix of good news and bad news.
Hou got her top choices. She'll be spending the next year at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif. and so will Hanson. But things get complicated after that. She'll be doing her dermatology residency at Mayo in Rochester and Hanson will be in Michigan. And while she's thrilled to get her top choices, it's also a little tough.
"Now the problem is it will be three years apart," Hou said.
Rachel Hammer really wanted to get matched with Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans but didn't want to talk about it before getting her envelope out of fear of jinxing it.
Turns out, she didn't need to worry about it. The Portland, Oregon native got her wish on Friday.
"It's a perfect match," she said moments after getting the good news.
Hammer plans to do a dual residency in medicine and psychiatry. Before coming to Mayo Medical School, she worked as a high school science teacher in post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans. During school, she had the chance to return to New Orleans and work with underserved communities. She hopes to be one of the first resident to work in a new charity hospital being built downtown.
She sums up Match Day this way: "They say this is draft day for nerds and it totally is."
Blake Fechtel desperately wanted to get matched with Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. So when he opened the envelope and so the word "Vanderbilt," he was overwhelmed.
"I stunned. Humbled, happy, thankful," the Atlanta, Georgia native said.
Then the news got even better. The future anesthesiologist looked at the giant map school staff revealed showing where are the students were going and noticed a couple of extra pins on Nashville. He soon found out two friends from Mayo Medical School will be joining him at Venderbilt.
"I was so excited," he said.
Where the students are going
Here are the details on where the 54 Mayo Medical School graduates will be heading
• 28 percent Mayo Cinic
• 31 percent schools in Minnesota
• 46 percent central U.S.
• 22 percent western U.S.
• 13 percent eastern U.S.
• 17 percent southern U.S.
What are the top specialty choices?
• 33 percent primary care
• 19 percent surgical specialties
• 19 percent anesthesiology
• 11 percent family medicine
• 9 percent internal medicine
• 9 percent emergency medicine