It’s tough to try to explain Match Day to anybody that hasn’t experienced it, and especially if they’re not involved in medicine.

For every degree of confidence in where you think you will probably end up, there is a reciprocal anxiety that keeps your mind from rest. For every reassurance that one’s Match destiny is an unknowable mystery, there are ten whispers suggesting possibilities and premature conclusions. Then, suddenly, the months of speculation, and the boisterous room, and your stomach’s disagreement with its halfheartedly half-consumed breakfast burrito… all vanish as they are eclipsed by the brilliance of a deceptively plain envelope. It trembles slightly, and you pause for a fleeting instant to wonder why you’re surprised to find it so light, as if the weight of its words might require an extra stamp, or two. Your world, momentarily silent and immaculately white with focus, comes rushing back as you retrieve and then unfold the envelope’s letter. You’re initially disappointed to find that your memorandum contains only squiggles, but intrigued as the blurred lines become letters, amazed as these assemble into words, and too impatient to allow their further evolution into sentences. You look up. You’ve found the words, and that is enough. The words responsible for abbreviating your sleep during the last several months. You smile as you remember that you’ve known them all along.