EDINBURG, Texas (ValleyCentral) — It was a big day for students at the UTRGV School of Medicine as they learned where they will be continuing their careers. The tradition is known as Match Day, which is a national day of recognition for 4th-year medical students.

Match Day determines where medical students will continue their careers for the next three and seven years with training positions at hospitals across the country.

Adrianna Saavedra-Simmons was one of many UTRGV medical students filled with joy as she found where she will be starting her medical practice.

“I matched in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and this moment just means so much to me,” Saavedra said. “I know that along with my peers I can come back and make the valley a better place.” 

With 51 students getting ready to graduate this year, making it through medical school during a global pandemic makes this moment even more special.

“So the last two years have been extremely difficult. It is difficult to go through clinical rotations as it is but with the pandemic as well there were lots of things that we were not necessarily prepared for,” Khairya Hajayha said. “I think in the end it will make us better doctors and better interns now.”

While some of these medical students will be going to different hospitals across the country, many will be staying close to home.

“We have 51 students graduating coming up here, about 50% are will stay here in Texas and about 20% will be staying here in the Rio Grande Valley participating in our residency programs here,” said Dr. Michael Hocker, Dean of the UTRGV School of Medicine.

But these students have some advice for the next generation of health care professionals.

“I would say that everything happens for a reason and sometimes that you think will be a bad thing and will be a good thing in the end,” Hajayha said.