The weeks leading up to match week seemed to last forever. I was doing the ACGME match so we already had to wait more than a month after our colleagues partaking in the AOA match found out where they were going. I was thankful to still be on rotations so I’d be distracted throughout the day and wouldn’t have to think about my future. I was surprisingly calm throughout these weeks, more concerned with where I would match than if I would match at all. My friends and I would talk through different match scenarios every single day and the days would usually end with me giving pep talks to them because we were all great applicants and I was sure we would all end up where we wanted to be. I was wrong.
The night before match day, I had gone from confident to having an overwhelming sense of imposter syndrome. What if I wasn’t good enough and no one wanted me? What would I do? I had gone through the application season with no backup plan because I honestly didn’t think I needed one. I figured I would just SOAP into a prelim spot because the only specialty I could see myself doing was surgery.
The morning of Match Day I went to clinic (I was on outpatient family medicine at the time). I kept seeing patients until 11 AM rolled around and then I went into the bathroom to check my email.
“We are sorry, you did not match to any position.”
My heart sank. My hard work throughout med school hadn’t paid off. The countless interviews and money I had spent during the past year were all for nothing. I was a failure.
I ran out of clinic to drive home to prepare for the SOAP and started texting my friends for help because I had absolutely no clue how the SOAP worked. Everyone thought I was messing with them about not matching and told me to stop joking around. It took screenshotting my rejection email and sending it to them as proof for people to finally start believing that I had just become another statistic of someone who went unmatched. The drive home was long and painful. I lived 30 minutes from the clinic so I spent the majority of it panicking and wondering what this all would mean for me. Everyone tried to tell me that everything happens for a reason but at that point in time, nothing they could do or say would make me feel better about the situation.