Match Day is a day when thousands of fourth-year medical students and final-year residents open to a letter to find out if they got accepted into a resident or fellowship training program.
A computer algorithm determines the pairing. Neither the program nor the trainee knows the outcome until the same day.
For trainees, it’s a day full of nervousness.
First, there is no guarantee that they will match into their specialty, if at all.
Second, if they do match, they don’t know where.
Once the Match happens, it’s a done deal and they are obligated by law to “report” to their new assignment.
What the Match does to families
The Match affects everyone going through it. But it uproots married medical students and residents moreso than single people because more lives affected.
After the Match, families start to decide which neighborhood to live in, childcare and school options for kids, and pick a home to rent or buy.
If kids are in the picture and live near family, there is a mourning process to say goodbye to grandparents and their besties.
The time between the Match and move is about 3 to 6 months (depending on specialty), leaving just enough time to move but not enough to relax and linger.
Our Match story for Fellowship
My husband matched in our hometown for residency. But we moved for fellowship.
My husband opened the letter and told me, “We’re going to Cleveland!”
I hopped on Zillow faster than any other site, hoping to complete the big picture of where we would live and how his work, schools playgoer rd, and Dunkin Donuts would be.
At the time of move, I was 36 weeks pregnant and we had two littles who were 3 and 1 years old. I was able to keep our house staged for selling for one weekend, tops. (Good thing it sold in only one weekend.)
Then we (ok, so really my husband) unpacked and re-assembled our IKEA furniture as if I was about to pop at any time.
And get this — we welcomed our perfect Baby #3 ten days after we settled in our new home!
I am grateful that our baby kept cooking because it is easier to move while hugely pregnant than with a newborn. Now we are thriving where the Match has planted us.
Moving effortlessly for the Match
So, you see we had moved under tremendous pressure. We had to do it fast, accurately, and without problems.
We learned a few lessons from moving and share 5 tips with you.
Learn how to move so it feels like an adventure, not a nightmare.
5 Tips to make moving for the Match effortless
1. Don’t move junk from one home to another. Purge! Purge! Purge!
You want to move the least amount of stuff as possible.
Konmari is a very effective method. When you purge using the Konmari method, you go category by category, not room by room.
For example, if you are Konmari’ing pens, you collect every pen in the house and put them in the middle of a room to sort from there. If you purge room by room, you get emotional or your mind gets lost in the big picture. But if you Konmari and sit back to look at the ridiculous amount of pens you own, you able to make an objective decision on which ones you want to keep.
Whichever way you purge, always have a box ready to donate and another box to throw away.
Remember, purging an ongoing process, not a one-time task.
2. Don’t get scammed by packers and movers.
There are a few scammers out there who look legit, but they never show up at your new place. When you do get a hold of them, these criminals tell you they are keeping your stuff hostage until you make a large payment or you never see your stuff ever again.
This has happened to medical families before and it is top on my list as the most stressful experience in moving.
To protect your family against this, do these:
- Ask for their U.S. DOT number and look them up on the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. All trucks that move interstate have a U.S. DOT number.
- Get a contract in writing. Make sure they sign it and that it states limits of liability and other insurance disclaimers.
- Get references or read reviews by local customers who have used them, rather than national customers.
- Make sure they have their own trucks, not rented ones.
- Do not make full payments up front or pay in cash.
- Do not pack valuables in the moving truck, bring them with you in your own vehicle. These don’t just have monetary value. They include heirlooms, photos, and your backup hard drive with all your files on it.
3. Pack well.
Here are some tips:
- Color code your boxes using colored duct tape. Each color represents one room. Red = living room, blue = kitchen, and so on.
- Write on the side of the box what is inside and which room they go into. Don’t write on the top, it will get covered up when stacked. Extra points if you take a pic with your phone what is inside.
- Saran wrap your silverware in the holder.
- Keep your hanging clothes together on the hooks and wrap them in a trash bag.
- Use styrofoam plates between your plates to prevent breakage.
- Put all liquid items like mouth wash and shampoos in grocery bags in case of breakage.
- Wrap pillow and blankets in trash bag to keep them clean.
- Pack glasses and stemware in new socks.
- Take photos of your electronics before you unhook them so you know how to hook them up again.
- Pack heavy items like books in a suitcase with wheels or in small boxes.
4. Get good boxes and supplies.
You can collect boxes by calling companies who are looking to get rid of their boxes.
Some of my favorite boxes are from liquor stores because their boxes are thick, have built-in handles, and dividers.
Another way to get boxes is to use Uhaul, which accepts unused boxes back for a full refund. They have many locations all over so it is very convenient to return at one of their locations.
Don’t forget old, ratty towels can be cushions for you when you pack so you don’t have to buy packing peanuts.
5. Make a first night box.
This is your survival kit so you can live out of it for a few days. You don’t pack it on the truck, you keep it with you in the vehicle you drive in.
This way, you don’t have to rely on the truck being on time. You also have everything you need fast in one place.
This is what we put in ours:
- Wine opener (because…celebration)
- Shower curtain and rings
- Cleaning chemicals
- Paper towels
- Box cutter
- Tool box
- Toiletries (shampoo and toilet paper)
- Medicine (Tylenol, Pepto Bismol)
- Sleeping bags & pillows
- Bath towels
- Wash cloths
- First aid kit
- Pet food and leash
- Disposable plates, silverware, cups
- Garbage bags
- Baby wipes
- Chargers, laptop
- Games or tablet with downloaded episodes (kiddos need this!!)
- Don’t move junk from one home to another. The more you purge, the easier the move.
- Don’t get scammed by packers and movers. You got enough to worry about than to lose your life possessions and file a police report.
- Pack well. And get those colored duct tape. #lifehack
- Get good boxes and supplies. Towels and blankets make good cushions.
- Make a first night box. You need to be able to live without your moving truck for up to a few days.
The Match is a new chapter to an adventure. Moving a lot is a part of the medical journey.
Many cohorts of medical students and residents have gone through it. So, don’t reinvent the wheel. Learn from us so that you can have a very smooth transition to the next step.
We wish everybody good luck wherever the Match takes your family.