'A new journey': Medical College of Wisconsin-Milwaukee students celebrate National Residency Match Day

’A new journey’: Medical College of Wisconsin-Milwaukee students celebrate National Residency Match Day

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- It was like Christmas morning inside of the Italian Community Center on Friday, as hundreds of Medical College of Wisconsin-Milwaukee students were able to find out the next step in their medical careers.

March 17 marked National Residency Match Day, where medical students across the country learn which residency program they will be attending.

For many, the day was a result of years of hard work and concentrated efforts.

"I'm excited and nervous," said Nabil Attlassy, a fourth-year medical student. "I'm hoping for southern California preferably, but northern California is awesome too so either way."

Attlassy, who is aiming to become an anesthesiologist, said he enjoys "focusing on one patient at a time."

"It's giving them your all in the operating room," Attlassy said.

Maya Saravanan, who is in the internal medicine field, said she's been looking forward to the event for years.

"I feel so good. It's just been such a long, hard journey, but I feel like everything is worth it," Saravanan said.

After a 10-second countdown, the students opened their envelopes that were tucked inside black pots o' gold for St. Patrick's Day.

Instantly, the crowd erupted into applause and cheers.

“It’s just a really special day. It’s the culmination of a bunch of work and to have it all pay off and match you to your number one program, there’s not a better feeling," said Audun Saterbak, who landed his first choice doing pathology at the University of Iowa.

Attlassy ended up at the University of Southern California practicing anesthesiology.

"I am so excited to go back home on the West Coast, and it'll be nice to be near family," Attlassy said. "I couldn’t stop shaking, my heart rate was through the roof, the speakers kept talking and we're like, please be done so we can get our envelopes!"

Saravanan also ended up with an exciting choice -- she's heading to New York's Mount Sinai Beth Israel. 

While many were joined by family, friends, and other loved ones, the day was extra special for mother and son duo, Wenjing Cao and Hefei Liu.

"Today, the graduation, we matched together!” Cao said. “I have a great son. I feel so excited. I feel proud of him."

Cao said she was inspired by Liu after talking to him about his schooling.

So much so, that she began studying herself, on top of working a full-time job.

Now, they're both heading to their top destinations. Cao to stay in Milwaukee, and Liu to the University of Pennsylvania for radiation oncology.

"Dreams, no matter what your age, you know you can do it. It’s going to be a long road, but nothing is impossible," Liu said.

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