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A Beautiful Day to Be Matched

March 21, 2022
by Abigail Roth

Shouts of joy. Group hugs. Champagne popping. That was the scene on the Harkness Lawn under a cloudless blue sky on an unseasonably warm mid-March day for the Yale School of Medicine (YSM) MD Class of 2022’s Match Day celebration. After two years where COVID-19 restrictions forced Match Day to be virtual, more than 200 classmates, family, friends, faculty, and staff gathered for this year’s event.

The celebratory mood reflected students’ successful matches, including 18 students who will remain nearby in the Yale New Haven Medical Center residency program, including its one-year preliminary program. Twenty members of the class matched in Harvard-affiliated programs, including Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; Boston Children’s Hospital; Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Cambridge Health Alliance; Massachusetts Eye and Ear; and Massachusetts General Hospital. Another program with a significant number of matches: the University of California, San Francisco, where seven students will complete their residencies. The largest number of students chose to go into internal medicine, with psychiatry and ophthalmology following in popularity.

While YSM’s Match Day traditionally is held in the Harkness Ballroom, COVID-19 restrictions moved this year’s celebration outside—which turned out to be ideal given the weather. And unlike in the past where the Match envelopes were in one location and students rushed to get them at noon, this year the envelopes were spread out at tables staffed by the students’ academic advisors and Associate Dean for Student Affairs John Francis, MD, PhD. At 11:55 a.m., the envelopes were handed out, but students were instructed to wait until noon to open them.

Time then seemed to move slowly, until Francis initiated an energetic participatory countdown at 11:59:50 am, “ten, nine, eight…” As soon as the count got to one, the envelope opening began. Some students quickly tore open their envelopes, others were more methodical. Within seconds, there were shouts, hugs, jumps, and tears of joy, and lots of photo taking. Exclamations such as “Boston boy” and “oh my god” could be heard through the roar of excitement. A student posing in front of a Yale screen for a photo-op shook a bottle of champagne, so that it exploded celebratorily, capturing the essence of Match Day.

“What a sunny and amazing day all-around for YSM students in the Class of 2022,” said Francis. It was so exhilarating to see everyone together, both friends and families celebrating. A momentous and joyous day indeed! We are so proud of the class and their accomplishments!”

Many students—and the faculty advisors and YSM Office of Student Affairs (OSA) staff—were wearing Match Day t-shirts that OSA had included in a reusable tote (swag) bag for students, along with champagne, confetti, and a fillable “I matched in ______ at ______ ” sign. OSA also created a big map of the United States, on which students could put colorful pins showing their future destinations. Connecticut, Massachusetts, California, and New York will have the largest number of graduates from the Class of 2022. Overall, students will be spread across 19 states and the District of Columbia, ranging from Hawaii to Maine.

Submitted by Abigail Roth on March 19, 2022