I was just in the middle of an auditorium packed full of parents and medical students. The last time I learned anything about medicine was in 1996 in high school biology class. And 17 years later, this auditorium was the last place I expected to learn anything new.
What was the event? Match Day 2013. An event for medical students across the country resembling one part Academy Awards, one part Hunger Games. The rules are simple. Work your butt off for four years. Go interview across the country and pick your favorite hospital. If they also pick you as their favorite, you work there for your residency. If not, perhaps you will get your second choice. Or your third. Or your twentieth.
But the fun doesn’t stop there. You only learn your match by opening a sealed envelope, and reciting your match in front of hundreds of people on stage. And this repeats for each and every medical student. I sat in awe, my eyes scanning the auditorium, looking for the next Katniss Everdeen.
Perhaps Katniss will get her top match. She may cure cancer. Or become a brain surgeon that invents some new revolutionary procedure that only her name could define. The Everdeen technique. Very doctor-esque. Or maybe the match will be her last choice, tears forming as she reads the match aloud, the cold beer at home awaiting a celebratory evening suddenly becoming very warm and unwanted.
Why have I not experienced a match day of my own? A single second of truth, built on a ton of hard work, that immediately puts you in your place in the world. This moment seems so contrarian to a generation self entitled and focused on immediate gratification. I’m totally convinced. The world needs more match days.
Have you experienced a match day of your own?