Tomorrow, medical students and their families all across America will find out where they will spend the next 3-7 years of their lives....all at the same time. (If that sounds like an insane way for that to happen, it's because it is. You can read about the actual Match Day here). A year ago, we were waiting for the same thing.
I blogged a lot about Match Day because it was such a huge event in our lives, and I was surprised by how much everyone could relate. People waiting for an envelope to tell them their future is a pretty specific group, but people who are confused about their future and frustrated by things out of their control is not. In that way, even though all of our stories may be different, we can all help each other and learn from each other, and I think that's pretty cool.
If I could go back a year and give myself a pep-talk before Match Day, this is what I'd say:
1. However you are feeling right now, it is okay.For a few days last year, I fell into the trap of feeling like because I was anxious about the future, I wasn't being a supportive wife to Chris. That's crap. There is no right or wrong way to feel about these kinds of things. So the days I was excited about a new adventure, that was okay. The days I was scared and anxious about moving, that was okay too.
2. No matter what happens, you will still be the same person.I wish I could go back and tell myself: You will wake up tomorrow and still be all of the things that you love. And you will wake up a year from now and still be a writer and a mom and a wife. Circumstances change a lot of things, but not the most important things.
3. You are more adaptable than you think.Me a year ago was very resistant to change. This is funny coming from someone that had a baby last year, but hey, just being honest. It's almost comical to look back and see how worried I was about the change Match Day would bring, because really, that was the least of ways I've had to adapt in the last 365 days. But I've done it! And while the term, I welcomed change is a bit of a stretch, I've gone along with it. And handled it all without falling apart. And--dare I say--even enjoyed some of it.
4. Celebrate the journey.Sometimes we get so caught up in how far there is to go and how many obstacles that are along the way that we forget to celebrate how far we've come. Every step of the journey deserves to be celebrated, especially when you've worked hard to get where you're at.
Ironically, these are all reminders I can still use today. So I thought I'd share them, because maybe you could use them too. Whether you have a big, looming decision like Match, or you're just confused or going through a difficult time, remember that it's okay to feel however you're feeling, that you are and will continue to be the same person, that you are more adaptable than you believe, and that you deserve to celebrate how far you've come.
And if you're participating in the Match tomorrow, as a medical student or a medical student's partner, my heart is with you. You've got this.