FORT WORTH, Texas - It was Match Day for a Fort Worth college, which is a huge step for doctors who are learning where they will spend their residency.
The Match Day ceremony for the class of 2022 was the first in-person Match Day since 2019 due to COVID-19.
The new doctors say the pandemic reaffirmed their strong desire to help people. They’re eager for the next chapter in their journey.
The anticipation was nerve-racking, but the moment itself was life-changing.
More than 200 medical students from the College of Osteopathic Physicians at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth opened their match letters for residency Friday.
"There's all the butterflies all the butterflies. This is such a blessing to be here in this moment," said Sabri Zooper.
"Getting that final clinical experience, this is what we're here for. We're here to be with our patients and around them," said Annie Wingard.
"It is a calling," said Aubrey Swilling. "I know it's kind of a cliché, but it’s true. I couldn't imagine doing anything else."
The class of 2022 was finishing its second year of med school when the pandemic shutdown began. Emergency rooms were overrun with sick patients. Hospital staff was pushed to the breaking point. Even now, many are facing a shortage of doctors and nurses.
Jordyn Johnson wants to be an ER doctor.
"What better chance to love people then at their worst when they're direly need your help," he said.
It's the same for David Nguyen.
"We get to work with people going through the worst time in their lives," he said. "We get to help them in a unique way."
The pandemic also saw a record number of people seeking out mental health services. It’s something Joseph Fischer is passionate about. He hopes to get into a psychiatry residency.
For Crystal Cassinere, being a doctor is about serving vulnerable populations. She's doing her residency at UT Southwestern.
"Mostly to help people. There's no doctors in my family and a lot of co-morbidity, so I know I wanted to make a difference. I knew I was capable of it. I love serving underserved people," she said. "There's not enough Black doctors, so I want to be the person to make a difference in these communities."
Over the last five years, the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine has had a placement rate of 98% of its students matching into a variety of specialties.