At 10:59 a.m. on March 18, everyone in the Max Palevsky Cinema at Ida Noyes Hall started counting down from 10.
When they got to “one,” there was silence except for the sound of envelopes being ripped open. Seconds later, the room erupted with joyous cheers, group hugs and even a few happy tears.
Match Day 2022 at the University of Chicago, the highly anticipated moment when soon-to-be medical school graduates learn where they’ll be doing their residencies, was celebrated in-person this year for the first time in three years. Since COVID-19 restrictions have eased, Pritzker School of Medicine students were able to safely gather to celebrate with their classmates, teachers and family members.
Of the 78 graduating seniors from Pritzker’s Class of 2022, all were matched. The top matching schools were the University of Chicago Medicine, University of California-affiliated hospitals, and programs associated with Stanford University and the University of Washington.
Internal medicine and anesthesiology were the top two specialties, with 17 and 10 students, respectively. This year, eight students specialized in obstetrics and gynecology (OB-GYN), an unusually large number for Pritzker for that specialty.
The annual Match Day ritual is also a celebration of the end of medical school. For the Class of 2022, half their education took place during the COVID-19 pandemic, said Prof. Vineet Arora, dean for medical education of the University of Chicago Biological Sciences Division.
“You have risen to the call of medicine during the most challenging time in health care: the last two years of the pandemic. I always hear about how Pritzker students went above and beyond. We cannot be more proud of each of you and your incredible contributions,” Arora told the students.
Match Day also is one of the last times the tight-knit Pritzker Class of 2022 will be all together. The program featured senior superlatives, casual speeches and prizes that include the legendary “money bag” (a bag containing cash donations from the audience, given to the student who receives their envelope last). Students wore matching maroon Match Day 2022 T-shirts. A photo montage played, showing years of friendships and fun times, including jumping into Lake Michigan during the winter for the traditional Polar Plunge at Promontory Point.
The morning culminated with handing out envelopes, opened at the same time as other medical students around the country. Medical student Jay Shah was overcome with emotion when he and his classmate and partner of two years, Laura Santangelo, who participated in the “couples match,” learned they will head together to the University of California, Los Angeles, their first choice.
“When I saw that we both had UCLA, I immediately started crying,” Shah said. “It was pure shock and excitement. We had our arms in the air, we were hugging our families, it was amazing. It’s a moment I’ll never forget.”