Originally in route to become a pharmacology professor, Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) student Joshua Tyler Olinger changed course after his late aunt, a nurse, kept praising him for becoming the first doctor in the family. It was as if the gates of possibility opened and four years later, on March 15, he waited with bated breath to see if his journey would continue.
“I tossed and turned throughout the night and barely managed to get 3 hours of sleep in,” Joshua said about the night before the results of this year’s National Resident Matching Program® (The MATCH ℠). “I stared up at the ceiling with my eyes closed when I heard the alert go off on my phone. My mind vividly flashed back to my time on the island and all the struggles and hardships along the way — from Hurricane Maria and the semester aboard the cruise ship to the time in Tennessee and COVID-19. I knew when I opened my email, it would all be worth it. And it was. I matched!” On July 1, Joshua will join Ascension Providence Hospital / Michigan State University as an emergency medicine resident.
“All the negative emotions were replaced with joy, pride and gratitude. Joy because I (and the class of 2021) had successfully completed the hardest fourth year that any medical student has been through. Pride because I believed in myself enough to move out of the country to pursue medicine. Lastly, gratitude because the people that I was able to meet along the way made the journey that much more special.”
Joshua said he felt immediate relief — as though 100 pounds of stress and anxiety had melted away — when he learned of his residency match. His advice for future match candidates is to always prepare and connect with medical mentors. Joshua also encourages students to hone their skills. “Do not take the easy road. Study hard but take care of yourself. Above all else, remember the match does not define you. Give yourself grace, stand up, dust yourself off and prove to the world that you deserve that spot.”
Eventually, Joshua plans to give back to his hometown community in Kentucky. For now, he’s content spending the next few months with his beloved black Labrador, Jax, in Florida. “He’s never failed to provide me with a much-needed break from reality. He has always been there when I am stressed or nervous about something.”
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