Match Day 2020: Serving Our Galaxies in Need

Ava Bakhtyari ’20 gets ready to announce her match on Match Day 2020

With students dispersed amongst rogue “space stations” patched in via teleconference technology to read out where they’re headed for residency training, Match Day looked a little different for the UVM Larner College of Medicine’s Class of 2020 as compared to years past. Although the COVID-19 pandemic closed down large parts of the university and put an end to large gatherings for the time being, students, faculty and staff still came together online to celebrate the success of the graduating class, with friends and family watching via a livestream. Student Council President Ava Bakhtyari ’20 gave the following remarks from her “space station” before students began to open their match letters from the National Resident Matching Program.

Fellow 2020 classmates,

And so our countdown begins. Families, friends, significant others, faculty, staff and all folks here and online—thank you for joining us today to witness Mission 2020’s launch into our future. Classmates who are now all family, this is it—today is our day. We have spent the past three Match Days huddling up above the Hoehl Gallery in the smallest of cracks, trying to get a sneak peak of the emotional expressions of those opening the very same emails that we will soon be handed. We always thought this day was so distant. Although this year’s circumstances are a little different with a launch that we could not have anticipated, it is only fitting that we are adventuring into these uncharted territories together as a class.

To all the space stations from infinity and beyond, I want to share an observation from last year’s Match Day. Having arrived a little too late to have a view of the stage, I had a slightly different perspective. I was standing behind a family—a mom and a dad, a spouse holding a young, curious 1-year-old and a grandparent seated in a chair in front of them. This made me think. Time does not stop.

Time has worked on all of us. Many of those watching here and from rogue stations have seen us since day 1. They read to us as little kiddos, answered our impossible questions as to “why” things exist as they do, and taught us small lessons with large meanings to prepare and protect us for what time will bring. Today we are joined virtually by family, many friends and significant others who have been an important part of our lives by lucky chance.

They have marveled at our curiosity and enchantment with the world, patiently watching as we find our life’s purpose. They have experienced our successes and our trials and errors as simply an extension of ourselves—feeling everything as much as we do. For a quick moment, Class of 2020, let’s take the time to thank all those who are joining us today or who may no longer be with us, appreciating the time and gentle guidance that our loved ones have invested in us to help us navigate our life’s story.

Today marks another day where we will soon celebrate a turn in the adventure of life as we find out where we will be launched to next.

Class of 2020, I am so grateful for UVM’s Larner College of Medicine. UVM has managed to bring us together from California, Alaska, Hawaii, Delaware, Vermont, Florida, and Massachusetts, to name a few. It is beyond my understanding how perfect you all are to me; it seems that we all fit in here like it was always meant to be. Someone once told me “life is all about the fit.” I think this is true, but as we look to opening our emails, I challenge this idea a little. “To fit in” is subjective—there is no right or wrong. We are dynamic, not cardboard puzzle pieces. Regardless of what our emails hold within them, I hope we are all pleased and assured that we will once again find our way and will fit in as we are meant to.

Thank you so much for letting me be a part of this crazy ride with you all.

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