Medical school residents find creative way to celebrate Match Day amid COVID-19

CHICAGO (WLS) -- It's Match Day for many medical students. The day is usually filled with celebrations, hugs and people jumping for joy, but this year is different as those in the profession work hard to keep us healthy.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, medical students in the Chicago-area finding new ways to celebrate Match Day, when they learn where they'll go for residency.

"I'm going to be staying here in Chicago at Northwestern for family medicine," said Loyola University medical student Saad Siddiqui.

Siddiqui and his fellow fourth year students at Loyola University's Stritch School of Medicine had planned to have a big in-person gathering with family and friends.

"It's like a month's long interview process, you have no idea what they're thinking," Siddiqui said.

But because of the new coronavirus, this year students live streamed the match at Loyola and at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine too.

"I could see right away some people were jumping, and screaming and really happy," Siddiqui said. "It was incredible still."

Midwestern University Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine students Zachary Pieters and Kathleen Lao also got creative because of COVID-19.

"My family was going to fly in from Texas and celebrate with us," one of them said.

Instead, the couple kept family at a safe distance.

"I had my 80-year-old grandma outside the window watching so it was quite the experience," they added.

While facing a daunting pandemic, these students are all the more enthusiastic to move forward with their medical careers.

Loyola said 146 students at Stritch participated in Friday's match, which the National Resident Matching Program said is the largest in history, and comes at a time when doctors are needed the most.
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