Sixty-one Mayo Medical School students gathered Friday to receive news that would shape their futures. It was Match Day, and at noon exactly, the Mayo students joined their peers across the country in tearing into blue envelops to find their hospitals and programs for residencies.
One thing remained the same: Each of the students was nervous to find where they had matched. The match not only determines where the students will continue their education but also where they will spend their lives for years to come.
James Walston, an Eagan, Minn., native and fourth-year Mayo Medical School student, was hoping to match with Oregon Health and Science University.
"My No. 1 is OHSU. My wife is actually a second-year med student over there, and we'd love to end up in the Northwest, in Oregon," Walston said. "I'm pretty nervous. … It's just not knowing right now, it makes me a little nervous."
After opening his envelop, Walston learned he had matched at OHSU.
Walston shared his excitement with others who found out they had matched with their program of choice.
"I got my No. 1 choice, MD Anderson down in Houston, Texas, and I'll be doing a transitional year in Sloan-Kettering in New York City," said Dario Pasalic. "Those were both my top choices, and I couldn't be happier. I really couldn't."
Pasalic met amazing students as he traveled for interviews at his programs of choice, he said. It was difficult for him to not know how he fit in, but his hopes were confirmed.
"That's what you hope for on match day — it's a great feeling between the two, the program and yourself," Pasalic said. "To know that you matched your ideal choice, that's unbelievable."
Gracia Kwete went into Match Day with an open mind. She had ranked Vanderbilt University Medical Center as her top choice, but Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and Mayo Clinic in Rochester also were on her list.
Kwete was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and grew up in Zambia. She came to the U.S. for an undergraduate degree.
"Part of being born in one country, being raised in another country and then coming here, I think one thing that I know I can do is adapt. I can make anything work wherever I am, really, and I have a great family who will support me and get me through things," Kwete said.
Kwete matched at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and she was ecstatic.
"It's my second choice, but I know that I put it on the second spot for a reason because I'll be able to grow and learn and provide care to patients. I'm excited," she said.
Mayo Medical School matched 100 percent of its graduating seniors on the Rochester campus, according to a news release.