Wellness Tips for Medical Students Navigating Match Day

March 7, 2024
Student looking out a window

Match Day is a moment aspiring physicians have built up to throughout their academic journey. Wellness professionals at Adtalem are helping them stay prepared and focused.  

Following years of preparation, months of interviews, and a final ranking of their preferred residency programs, the next chapter for thousands of fourth-year medical students everywhere is decided by an algorithm that matches applicants to residency programs where they will begin their careers as doctors.

Results come by email on the third Friday in March, known as Match Day to the medical community.

With Match Day quickly approaching, Melanie Chenette, director of wellness for American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC), shares wellness practices she has learned throughout her 20-plus-year career in higher education.

Manage Your Anticipation 

Match Day is not just one date on the calendar. Registration occurs six months earlier; interviews are completed between then and the end of January; rankings are accepted all throughout February. It’s an entire process that carries with it a lot of anticipation, nervousness, and stress. 

That’s all before applicants begin the unveiling process that reveals their match in two parts. First, they are notified on the Monday before Match Day if the algorithm found a matching program. Next, it’s a weeklong wait until that Friday to learn where they are matched and will spend the next several years.

Up until that email on Friday, there is uncertainty where they will live, whether their spouse or family can relocate, if their significant other also matching will be in the same city. That’s significant time spent in anticipation of the unknown and buildup leading to this one moment that has many professional and personal impacts. 

Be Present in This Moment

Mindfulness is a best practice for being present and fully engaged in the moment, which is something that carries a lot of significance for Match Day. Students are too easily caught up in the process, constantly refreshing their email and waiting to learn if they matched to their top choice. 

Instead of fixating on one result, look at the entire landscape of the opportunity ahead in graduating medical school and transitioning to residency. Appreciate the significance of the moment and remember what it means for your entire journey. There will never be another experience like going through Match Day, so stay in it while it is here.

Know Your Support System

As a student, take advantage of whatever professional resources are available to you. At the AUC Wellness Center, we cast a wide net of support systems, whether it’s counseling services, career consultations, or resources for managing stress. We call it the shoulder-to-shoulder jog where we are next to you helping each step along the way. 

On a personal level, and before Match Day arrives, take a moment to imagine what you want your day to look like. 

Who do you see telling first? Who do you want around you, or do you want to be by yourself? Who do you need to be ready to call?

Take a Moment to Celebrate

My favorite part of Match Day is the celebration. We often forget how important it is to celebrate when we accomplish an achievement. On Match Day, it is critical to look at how far you have come and appreciate all the pieces surrounding your journey. 

Combined, Adtalem’s medical schools had a 98% first-time residency attainment rate for 2022-2023 graduates.*

Meet Melanie Chenette

Portrait photo of Melanie Chenette, director of wellness for American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine

As director of wellness, Chenette develops and implements programming around student wellbeing across AUC’s four-year program to help foster a culture of student success.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in Integrative Studies from the University of Connecticut, a Master of Science degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Art Therapy from Springfield College, and a post-professional degree certificate in Mediation from Roger Williams University of Law. She has been with Adtalem Global Education since 2017 and began working with AUC students in 2020. 

Chenette has a broad and unique base of experience counseling students, adults, couples, and families. Her therapeutic style combines an interpersonal approach with evidence-based care to help students achieve their individualized treatment and professional goals in a non-judgmental, empathetic, safe space.

For more information, email the Adtalem Global Communications Team: adtalemmedia@adtalem.com

*First-time residency attainment rate is the percent of students attaining a 2023-24 residency position out of all graduates or expected graduates in 2022-23 who were active applicants in the 2023 NRMP match or who attained a residency position outside the NRMP match.