Match day is an annual event at medical schools across the nation where graduating students find out which residency program has accepted them. At NYU School of Medicine, there is no ceremony. Instead, each student tries to find his or her faculty adviser among a crowded atrium packed with other students, their friends, and family. The adviser hands each student an envelope that hopefully contains good news. The results are most often life changing, as students are accepted to their first choice residencies, their second choice, or not at all. For instance, a second choice could mean an unwanted move across the country; your best friend could have been accepted to the same program, or you may be splitting up for years to come. The event is marked by eruptions of joy, tears, hugs, and a wide range of emotions. It’s an event photographer’s dream come true.
I was briefed that the event would be crowded and short, and that I’d have to be quick to capture the reactions of the students as they opened their envelopes. But there was one thing I wasn’t prepared for. Someone from the school’s media relations department along with a reporter from the New York Daily News approached me and asked if I would offer my photos to the newspaper because their photographer failed to show up. I said it wouldn’t be a problem, then they told me my deadline was 3:00 that afternoon. I had contracted with my client to shoot until 2:00. Since I wasn’t prepared for this, I didn’t have my laptop with me, so I had to rush back to the studio, download all the photos, do a very fast edit to select the ones they told me they were looking for, and upload the selection. I made it by 2:57. Whew!