Next week is Match Week, which means the big moment is finally here. It also means there is nothing left to do for you to do with your application except to sit and wait.

No matter how much you’ve done to prepare for this week, it can still be an anxious and stressful, if not outright excruciating, last few days. As you prepare for Match Week, here are some things you can do to help keep your mind–and body–at ease.


Take Some Time for Yourself

The last few months (years?) have been all about impressing others. From studying for exams to coursework, traveling for clinical rotations, or putting your residency application together medicine has likely consumed a majority of your time. This week is a good time to turn the focus back on yourself.

Diving into a book that’s been on your list or even ordering some takeaway and binging a TV show is a great way to catch up on some things you might not have been able to do the past few months without taking on too much demand mentally.


Do Some Light Exercise

Exercise has been shown to reduce stress, which means it can be especially beneficial this week. Getting outside for just 30 minutes to an hour a day can take your mind off the nerves of Match Week and relax your body. So ride a bike. Go for a jog or a walk. Kick a soccer (football) around with your friends. Anything that gets you some fresh air and gets your heart rate up can help calm you down.

Have a Night Out with Friends

Opposite to our first point, these next few days can be an opportunity to catch up with friends or family. Getting some friends together isn’t just a chance to catch up, but playing a board game, having a movie night, or even going out dancing can help distract you from Match Week for a few hours.

Plus, it will be a nice opportunity to be reminded of what a deep support network you have.


Write it Out

Writing out your thoughts can help you process them. In moments of steep anxiety or nerves, writing can even help you break down thoughts and feel more grounded.

The best part about journaling is that it doesn’t need to be super formal. Don’t feel the pressure to buy a journal or fancy notebook. Instead, you can simply jot some thoughts down into your notes app, scribble some words on a piece of scrap paper, or even text a friend or family member.


Remember, Not Matching is Not the End

While it is never the ideal outcome, understanding the possibility of not matching can help soften the blow. If you applied to be included on the SOAP, you will have a second chance to match at the end of next week.

It is difficult to hear the phrase, “there’s always next year,” and we would never suggest such a platitude be the mindset at such a difficult time. While not matching means delaying your goals for another year, there is a lot of value that can be drawn out of the year between this Match Week and next year’s Match Week.

Not matching does not mean starting over from scratch. Instead, there may be only one or two aspects of your application you choose to improve for next year. Check out some resources on how to approach if you don’t match this week here and here.