“I'm Going Going Back Back To Cali Cali” - Match Day 2019
When I began medical school in the Midwest, my sole goal was to work hard enough so that I could return home to my family by matching back in California for residency. During the 2018-2019 residency application cycle, I exclusively targeted and ranked Internal Medicine programs in California. Therefore, I was very strategic when it came to the residency application process. Throughout my time interviewing in California, I accrued many tips which I wrote about previously. Here, I want to write my thoughts and emotions on the events leading up to Match day and my successful match at UC San Diego.
As a Midwest applicant, I wanted to improve my chances of matching in my desired region of Southern California. Therefore, I completed multiple sub-internship, audition rotations at prospective institutions in Southern California to prove myself and increase my exposure to these programs. I had heard from prior fourth-year medical students that the final year of medical school was a walk in the park, but it seemed quite the opposite while I was in the midst of multiple, intense sub-internship, audition rotations in addition to application preparation and interviewing. When all was said and done, I was thankful to have ranked 15 programs in California with the majority of my top programs being located close to family in Southern California. Leading up to “Match Monday,” where fourth-year medical students find out “if” they match to a program, I was incredibly nervous. I worried that my hard work during medical school, including the research, leadership, and networking, would not be enough to match. I doubted myself. I thought that each of the programs back home I had interviewed at would rank much more desirable candidates. With all of these thoughts in my head, I had to escape from this stress and find peace away from my similarly anxious classmates. I spent the weekend before “Match Monday” with one of my best friends in Detroit, where I was thankfully able to replace my imposter syndrome thoughts with food, sports, and fun.
When I was walking into my apartment again in Chicago on the Monday after my wonderful weekend in Detroit, I found out I matched! My parents were on the phone as I read the simple, yet perfect email “Congratulations! You have matched!” The roller coaster of emotions of the prior years of medical school had finally come to an end with that notice on March 11, 2019 - or so I initially thought. As I waited four more days to find out my residency program, similar thoughts returned as I worried that I would not match at one of my top choices. I was a nervous wreck all week and tried to preoccupy myself with activities such as going to see the Chicago Cubs play for my last time at Wrigley Field.
Opening the envelope on Match Day and seeing I had matched at UC San Diego proved that after working so hard during my four years of medical school to grow, network, and put myself out there, I was going to return home. In addition to rigorous training with wonderful faculty and staff support and being able to complete a special focus through the Hospital Medicine pathway, I would meet my ultimate goal to be close to my family and friends throughout my residency training. My advice to those awaiting their upcoming Match is to work diligently daily, interact well within your teams, advocate for yourself, don’t be afraid to ask for what you want (the worst outcome will be a response of “no”), and network. The Match is a grueling process but if you take the correct strategic approach, you will also find success.
Aram A. Namavar, MD MS
PGY1, Internal Medicine
University of California - San Diego (UCSD)