Not for the faint of heart: the medical school ritual known as 'Match Day'

Match Day couple with letter
Whitney and Cutler Lewandowski get the good news on Friday: Cutler will be doing a residency at the University of Minnesota. Photo credit Brandon Ison

(WBBM NEWSRADIO) – It was “Match Day,” and Cutler Lewandowski was among dozens of fourth-year medical students at the University of Illinois at Chicago who would learn where they would be spending the next several years.

He was hoping to do his residency at the University of Minnesota, where he was an undergraduate and where he met his wife, Whitney. His specialty area of internal medicine, however, is a competitive field.

His spouse -- soon to graduate from her OBGYN residency at University of Chicago Medicine -- was ready for anything.

“I’ve been a resident four years, and he’s supported me every day. I’m going to do the same for him,” she said Friday.

This year’s crop of 169 UIC med students was a record, says Dr. Amanda Osta, interim dean for medical education at UIC.

Nationwide, there were 43,000 medical students who were applying for just over 40,000 residency positions.

“That gives you the idea of the competitiveness of this process,” Osta said.

As part of the nerve-wracking “Match Day” ritual, medical students hold an envelope with their assignments inside. They could not be opened until precisely 11 a.m.

For Cutler Lewandowski, his wife’s teary-eyed, enthusiastic reaction told part of the story.

“University of Minnesota,” he confirmed. “Very excited.”

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Brandon Ison