Happy Match Week to our MD Class of 2022!
Message to the Class of 2022 from the Class of 2019: Enjoy Match Day and be fearless
For Angela Thomas, MD, memories of her own Match Day on March 15, 2019, have more to do with the evening of March 14. “I don’t think I got any sleep the previous night,” she said. “I wanted to match at Geisinger because it felt so warm and welcoming when I interviewed, but there was no way to know until Match Day. I remember waiting to open the envelope with my parents hovering over me — it was such a great relief to finally know.”
Dr. Thomas matched into Geisinger’s Kistler Family Medicine Residency. Now in her third and final year, Dr. Thomas is looking forward to starting work as an attending physician at CommunityCare Kistler Clinic in August. As she looks back on her own journey, she has two pieces of advice for the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine Class of 2022.
The first is to enjoy Match Day, despite the anxiety that may precede it. “It was nerve-wracking, but it ended well for me,” she said.
The second is to enter residency fearlessly. “Not knowing things always makes you less courageous — and there’s a lot you don’t know when you start residency. But hopefully you’ll receive a lot of support, as I did as a resident at Geisinger. That support taught me that asking is never wrong. If you have any doubts, don’t keep them to yourself. We must do what’s right for the patient, so there aren’t any dumb questions.”
Match Day advice: Live in the moment
In March 2021, Gregory Wu, MD, and Brianna Bockman, MD, were hoping to couples match at Geisinger Medical Center — Dr. Wu in general surgery and Dr. Bockman in internal medicine-pediatrics. Couples matching is hard, but it gets even more difficult when both partners have chosen competitive specialties. So, for this married couple, the anxiety of Match Day was even more intense.
“It was the wildest feeling to know that within a few minutes, I would be committed to moving to one of many places all over the country and living there for the next several years,” Dr. Bockman said.
Despite the tension, the couple made Match Day celebratory. “We went to brunch in the morning,” Dr. Wu recalled. “I could barely eat my French toast because of the nerves.” Then, the couple returned home and waited to “open the envelopes.” When they did — and saw that they’d both matched at Geisinger Medical Center — Dr. Wu said, “There was a lot of screaming and hugging.” Dr. Bockman recalls the joy of the moment, saying, “I was very excited then and am still very grateful now that I ended up training at Geisinger med-peds." Dr. Wu added, “We then had a big celebration with family. It’s the best memory I can think of.”
It’s the memories that Drs. Bockman and Wu hope this year’s group of anxious fourth years will consider. “Really enjoy the moment,” Dr. Wu said. “Reflect on where you are. It seems that, as students and learners, we can’t wait for the next thing — ‘I can’t wait until I match, I can’t wait until I’m a PGY2, I can’t wait until I’m an attending.’ You will miss a lot of memories if you go too fast and keep thinking about the next thing. Just reflect on where you are and how far you’ve come."