I looked at my watch as I was leaving the hospital. It was 9:02pm, two minutes after residency rank lists were due. For a split second I was glad for the 14-hour hospital day and not having a second to freak out about the fact that the next 3 years of my life are about to be determined by a computer algorithm based on game theory designed by Nobel prize-wining economist Al Roth. And the fact that Match Day isn’t until March 15.
I went home and had some dinner. Then, the light inside my fridge went out. Just a bulb, I figured. Then my tea kettle stopped working. In fact, half of the outlets in my house stopped working. The stove was still on, somehow. It was 10:02pm. Maybe the supercomputer working to match tens of thousands of medical students with thousands of residency programs just needed a little extra juice.
What does a computer program have to do with the art of medicine? Nothing. What does it understand of people’s aptitudes and aspirations? Nothing. My rank list was not based on which program has the highest percentage of trainees going into sub-specialty care, NIH funding amounts, or average number of publications per trainee. My list was based on geography and chance meetings with like-minded souls, on the amount of colorful art on hospital walls and the size of the chid life program. My list was based on what my heart told me.
You can have my grades and my test score, game theorizing supercomputer freak, but you can’t have my heart. It’s 11:02pm and I’m not even scared.