Match Day Advice from PCOM Students | Match Day 2023
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Reflecting on Match Day 
Student Perspective

March 28, 2023

PCOM DO students Katie O'Shea and Jordan Selep smile and hold up their match day signsMedical school is rich with tradition and ritual. Milestones mark the way in an often grueling journey to becoming a physician. The level of commitment required over a student's time in school can sometimes be intense, but there are moments along the way, like the annual right of passage known as Match Day, that signify you are one step closer to becoming a doctor.

Match Day is an annual tradition coordinated by the National Resident Matching Program, a private, non-profit organization that matches medical students with residency programs across the country for continued training after graduation. Students apply for residency positions in their specialty of choice and are invited to interview with the residency program directors. Students then rank each program by preference with the programs likewise ranking the students they interview.

Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) students Katie O'Shea (DO '23), class chair, and Jordan Selep (DO '23) recently shared reflections on the Match Day experience.

Local or long distance?

The choice between selecting a residency program close to home or something more long-distance can be a challenging one. For O'Shea, it came down to having a support network:

“I wanted to make sure I was doing [my residency] in an environment where I felt supported and where I could reach my full potential. PCOM really opened my eyes to being part of a medical school community, and that applies to a residency as well. My advice to other students is to ask yourself: Where do you feel supported so that you can reach your full potential? Those were two of the biggest factors for me.”

Interview the interviewers

O'Shea and Selep both stressed the importance of approaching residency program interviews the way one might in a more typical job interview – ask questions, visualize yourself in the work environment and decide if the culture and the people are a good fit for you.

“The interviews are a really important opportunity to get to know the residents and ask difficult questions,” said O'Shea. “I went on one audition and one of the attending physicians pulled me aside and said ‘Don't come here, these residents are overworked. These residents are exhausted.’ It takes away from your experience because you're fighting the mental health game.”

O'Shea added that her experience reinforced the reality that each student's path is different and that one is no better than any other. “To figure out what you want and figure out your reason ‘why?’ is really hard in medicine. Jordan's path is so different because she's potentially going into fellowship. I am not looking toward fellowship right now, so my priorities are a little different.”

One step in a journey

For those students who don't match or choose not to enter the match process, the pressure can be magnified. Add in external pressures on social media, and it can all feel overwhelming.

“With social media comes the glorification of the match,” said O'Shea. “When DOs and MDs used to match separately, it wasn't one day that everybody found out at the same exact time. Even though it is a really cool and a special moment, [the match] being glorified on social media makes it that much more stressful.”

Selep emphasized the value of putting things in perspective, reminding other students that Match Day is only one day in a four-year journey through medical school. “I always say in life or with anything, the journey is just as important as the result. And I think it's so easy to forget that, especially when you know everything you have worked so hard for is built up to this one day.”

“You almost forget about the four years that you just went through and what you did to get there,” she added. “So remembering that, especially right now, has definitely given me peace.”

Explore more Match Day stories.

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