By Enrique Bonilla
2018’s Match Day, held March 16, brings with it a sea of excitement and promise for our graduating medical students. The annual ceremony held every third Friday of March across the 155 medical schools in the U.S. culminates with the opening of an envelope that will dictate where the students will become residents and begin their careers as doctors.
UT Health San Antonio President William L. Henrich, M.D., MACP, recounted his match experience and the time leading up to it.
“What I remember most vividly about my match experience was filling out my match preferences the night before we had to turn them in,” he said. “My wife and I had a list of what we were going to rank first, second, third and so forth. When we finished the conversation we completely reversed the list. We did it literally 12 hours before we had to turn in the match list and it worked out brilliantly. Our instincts to turn it around were accurate.”
Dr. Henrich went on to contrast how matches were revealed then and now.
“In the time that I was matching, the times were all the same, but there wasn’t an envelope with a seal on it. Your name was posted on a bulletin board with all the other students and where they were going, so there wasn’t the privacy component, and I’m glad that’s changed.”
Match Day is an event filled with nerves, eagerness and emotion that are bottled up for weeks leading to the life-changing moment.
“I wasn’t sure I was going to get into my first choice, but seeing that I’d matched with my first choice was just a thrill,” Dr. Henrich said.
“I’ll never forget walking down the hall and wondering what was on that bulletin board…. For me, to see that I was going to a part of the country I had never lived in before [and] knew literally almost nothing about was an adventure. It was like being on an adventure to some remote part of the world.”
Dr. Henrich graduated from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and began his residency more than 2,000 miles away at the University of Oregon Medical School. He then went on to complete a fellowship in nephrology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. During his career, he spent time as a professor at UT Southwestern, among other institutions, before being named dean of the School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio in 2006. He has served as president since 2009.
Many days are memorable but Match Day is an especially memorable one for our fourth-year medical students. Dr. Henrich offered these words of advice to our Match Day participants.
“Relax. It works out just fine,” he said. “The place that you’ll be will be a very good place to get training, and if you apply yourself, as I know our students will, then the experience will be rewarding and fulfilling. You will do a very good job and in the end, you get to practice medicine. There’s nothing better than that.”