College of
Human
Medicine

Match Day Student Interview

Justin Robinson

April 1, 2021

Where did you match? 

University of Maryland; Integrated-Cardiothoracic Surgery

Can you describe the weeks/months leading up to Match? How did COVID-19 impact the process?

The weeks/months leading up to Match begins with medical students submitting a common application to the specialty and program they desire to train in. A few weeks after submission, programs review and send out invitations to interview. This year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, all interviews were conducted virtually. This was a huge adjustment from the traditional in-person interviews. Programs and applicants did not know what to expect with this new format.

The big question that arose was “will we get a good feel for programs/applicants through this new format?” For me personally, the virtual format ran smoothly, and I was able to assess each program authentically. In addition, the cost of traveling to various places to interview was negated by the virtual format and I was able to save $5-10,000 on traveling expenses. So there were some positive aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The end of interview season culminates into submission of a rank list, where you rank all the programs you’ve interviewed. Match week is full of excitement and anxiety as we figure out where we’re going to spend the next 3-8 years. I was very nervous throughout the week as I didn’t know if I would match directly into my first specialty choice, cardiothoracic surgery, or my second specialty choice, general surgery.

Describe the day, what did you do to “virtually” celebrate your match?

I drove back to where I am originally from, the eastside of Michigan (Metro Detroit area) and spent time with my close friend who I met during medical school. We sat around, anxiously awaiting the Match email. Once the email came in, I had him open it up because I was too nervous to do it myself. He told me what specialty and where I had matched, and I was beyond elated. I matched at one of my top programs in my first specialty choice. After celebrating with him, I went to my parents and watched the virtual Match Day ceremony.  

What are you most excited about for residency?

I’m most excited about the opportunity to take care of patients with a higher level of responsibility, and to really make an impact on the patients and community I will serve.

What advice do you have for medical students next year?

The biggest advice is don’t get too wrapped up in online spreadsheets, or blogs because this will cause undue stress and anxiety. I would also advise medical students to research the programs ahead of time, keep a running list of information for each program (i.e. where do graduates end up, level of autonomy as you progress through the training program, relationship of faculty and residents, relationship of residents with each other).

Match Day Student Stories