One year ago, thereabouts. 365 days, 52 weeks. So much has happened since that beautiful, pure moment. The moment where tiny sheets of paper dictated the future of our lives, determined our next home, and declared our upcoming family. The type of moment that hangs in the air, stands still in time, rises above the blurriness of everyday life surrounding it like a mountain rising amid the fog. It was the culmination of four years of studying, intense work ethic, and commiseration: the pinnacle of our accomplishments, matching into a residency program.
The match process is indelibly complicated and stressful. Whit and I spent three months touring the country from the frozen waters of Maine to the rain doused cities of Portland and Seattle for interviews at various residency programs. Afterwards, we submitted our rank lists for our top programs with hopes of matching to the outstanding medicine program in Utah. The residents we met during our interview exuded happiness, embodying the ultimate work life balance that we dreamed of during the hellacious work hours of residency. They pursued outdoor activities with zeal, as the Wasatch Mountains line the edge of SLC lending immediate access to hiking trails and ski slopes. That was exactly what we were looking for in a program, and we found it.
Match Day at our medical school is a whole production. Friends and family gather at an outdoor country store, chock full of good beer, classic southern eats, wooden barrels, and picnic tables. Luckily, the blazing Texas sun blessed us with cooler weather than usual, bypassing the typical sweltering heat of spring in southern Texas. Faculty members choose one name at a time out of a glass bowl, summoning one anxious and nauseated student to the stage. As the student graces the stage, they are handed an envelope with their future sealed within. Then, in front of a thousand googling eyes, the student opens their envelope and announces their fate to the mass of people. Whether it be joyous news or bitter disappointment, the student broadcasts their fulfilled dreams or their crashed hopes.
Thankfully, our dreams were answered. As Whit and I approached the stage to gather our envelopes, I began to cry. The built up emotions and stress of years of work overflowed, as tears carved down my cheeks. I tried to stop up the relief, but ultimately failed. As I announced our future positions as residents at Utah, I stuttered, stumbled, and finally rushed through the words, desperate to get off of the stage and celebrate unhindered by public eye. Before heading back towards our families to share in the momentous occasion, Whit and I took a moment to just bask in the warmth of the news. We would be spending the next three years, most importantly in the same city, and also surrounded by the forests and mountains that we had envisioned as home for years. It was utter perfection.