Drexel Match Day filled with screams, tears and waves of relief

    Kelsie Persaud reacts to the news that she matched with a hospital close to her fiancé in Virginia. (Kimberly Painter/WHYY)

    Kelsie Persaud reacts to the news that she matched with a hospital close to her fiancé in Virginia. (Kimberly Painter/WHYY)

    The Match Day results are in.  Did Kelsie and Maurice match where they wanted?

    Kelsie Persaud didn’t sleep much last night. “My heart rate is like a hundred miles an hour. And I’m sweating. That’s TMI,” she says, laughing. Maurice is a little nervous. He has no idea where to sit, and he can’t stop moving. “I’m breathing, he says. “I’m breathing. Barely.”

    Second in a series 

    It’s Match Day, and students are pouring into a room on the Drexel Med School campus.

    Kelsie Persaud didn’t sleep much last night.

    “My heart rate is like a hundred miles an hour. And I’m sweating. That’s TMI,” she says, laughing.

    Kelsie says her fiancé Evan might be even more nervous than she is.

    It helps that they had mimosas at brunch.

    Today’s the day they find out where Kelsie has landed a residency, and whether the computer’s choice will force them to stay long distance for three more years.

    Kelsie wants to end up at Eastern Virginia Medical School, where Evan is a resident.

    A long road

    She hasn’t always felt that way. When she ranked residency programs, she had to decide which came first: her career, or her relationship.

    “Do I want to be with my fiancé or do I want to be at a really awesome program because of its caliber or its name, to further my career, my dreams, my aspirations, or whatever?” Kelsie asked.

    In February, she put her future marriage first, and ranked his hospital at the top of her list. Another Virginia hospital was second, and then one in North Carolina. But after that, she ranked programs around the country.

    So even though she chose Evan, she still might not end up at his hospital. It’s up to a computer algorithm now.

    For Maurice Hinson, it’s also been a long road to this day. Maurice grew up in Philly, and his mom was addicted to drugs, so his dad raised him. He’s the first in his family to go to college, let alone medical school.

    Now he’s at Match Day, about to find out whether he got into one of his top choice schools. Number one on his list is Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York.

    There are a lot of hopes riding on Maurice. His dad Larry says he’s destined for greatness.

    “I just feel that God has something for this boy to do,” Larry said. 

    Students are allowed to bring one guest to Match Day . For Maurice, it’s his girlfriend Jasmine. He’ll call his dad after he gets his results.

    A lot of ceremony

    On stage, a speaker asks everyone to take a seat.

    Maurice is a little nervous. He has no idea where to sit, and he can’t stop moving.

    Jasmine tells him to just breathe. “I’m breathing, he says. “I’m breathing. Barely.”

    The ceremony involves a lot of speakers, and a lot of stalling until noon, when the students are allowed to open their envelopes.

    A projector screen shows how many students got into residency programs in each state.

    Maurice is taking this personally.

    “Why are they doing this?” he says, exasperated. “It’s just making me more nervous.”

    A few rows back, Kelsie’s nervous too.

    “Oh god, there’s eight people that matched in Virginia!” she says. “Am I one of those eight?”

    The deans call the students up to get their envelopes. The students still can’t open them for 15 more painful minutes.

    Kelsie holds her envelope up to the light to see if she can make out any letters. She can’t.

    She fans herself with the envelope.

    Finally…the moment arrives.

    One of Drexel’s deans counts down.

    “One, two…and a half…”

    The room groans.

    “Three!”

    Kelsie and Evan rip open their envelope.

    “Oh my god,” she screams.

    It’s Eastern Virginia Medical School — Evan’s hospital. And now, Kelsie’s.

    They hug for the longest time. They’re both crying.

    At the same time, Maurice opens his envelope.

    A wave of screams erupt around him, but he stays quiet. He hugs Jasmine.

    It’s Cornell.

    He’s going to New York City.

    “That’s right. Cornell!” he says.

    Jasmine tells him to hold up the letter so she can see it.

    “We’re going to New York!” he says.”We going to the Big Apple, baby!” she responds.

    Maurice goes outside to call his dad, Larry.

    “Yo, dad. I just got my match results,” he says. “I’ll be in New York! Yep. That was my number one choice! So now you can come visit.”

    Maurice tells his dad he’ll stop by over the weekend and hangs up.

    Excitement and responsibility

    Back in the room, Kelsie and Evan are making the rounds, telling all their friends where they matched.

    She tells their friends that she and Evan will be like characters on Grey’s Anatomy.

    When they finally stand still, Evan is beaming.

    “This was our end goal,” he says. “But we never knew when it was going to happen. With medicine, you just never know. And to be able to have that certainty that it’s going to happen. It’s amazing.”

    “I really feel like my heart’s so full now,” Kelsie says. “This long distance is coming to an end. And we finally get to start our lives together.”

    In a bit, Kelsie and Evan will get on a plane together to fly to Arkansas for a friend’s wedding. Kelsie’s parents live there, so they’ll celebrate the news with them.

    Later, after it all sinks in, Maurice says he can hardly explain the feelings that came over him when he opened his envelope.

    “It was everything from happy to pride to a bit of sadness, to you know, now realizing I’ll be away from my loved ones for the next few years,” he says. “And anxiety, cause now we’re going from just being a student to actually being someone’s doctor. And understanding the type of responsibility that entails.”

    Yep. Already thinking about responsibilities and the hard work that’s in store. But then, that’s how Maurice Hinson got this far.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    50% of WHYY’s funding comes from donations made by people just like you.