March 15, 2013
More than 140 students at the University of Virginia School of Medicine now know where they will continue their training as residents. Friday was "Match Day," when students across the country find out what hospital they have been paired with for the next few years.
"There's no other event that I've ever witnessed in life where there's this much excitement and enthusiasm," said Dr. Richard Pearson, associate dean for student affairs. "You can tell by their joy and cheers and happiness what it means to them."
Pearson helped hand out the 143 white envelopes that revealed the locations of the students' residencies. One by one, the students walked to the front of the auditorium as their names were called to pick up their envelopes they would all open together.
Student Matthew Sanidad was one of the first names called. He had to wait nearly an hour, envelope in hand, before he could find out if he and his other match, girlfriend Jennifer Hsu, would both be heading to New York City.
"It was torture. I can't describe it any other way. It was absolute torture," said Sanidad. "It was just having a Christmas gift in your hands for about an hour, not being able to do anything with it and I couldn't tell you how difficult it was to just sit there and not do anything with that envelope."
After a toast, the class of 2013 tore into their envelopes. Sanidad got his first choice, Mount Sinai Hospital. Hsu also got her top pick, Columbia University.
"It just added to the perfect day, and I couldn't imagine anything better," said Sanidad. "We're a mile away, maybe a couple of blocks away, so I'm pretty excited."
Sanidad's mother burst into tears when she heard the news.
"I'm just so insanely, insanely overwhelmed," said Estela Sanidad. "This is a very precious moment."
It was also a memorable moment for Pearson. After 24 years of launching students into the next phase of their careers, this was his final "Match Day." However, he says he's confident this isn't the last time he will see some of the students.
"The neatest thing for me having been here over the years is to see them go, get their training and then come back and serve in this area as physicians or on the faculty," said Pearson.
Though Hsu will head to New York City for now, she says she will take a piece of UVa. with her.
"I know that I will take their advice with me when I go off to my residency position, and I know that I will be staying in contact with people for years and years to come," said Hsu. "Who knows, maybe I'll return to Charlottesville one day to work here as a physician."
The 143 students were paired with hospitals in 32 different states. About two dozen of them will stay in Charlottesville after being matched with UVa.