After four years of medical school, it's on to two years of residency for the graduating class of East Tennessee State University's Quillen College of Medicine.
Friday, the students found out just where they will be spending the next two years of their careers. The majority are heading into fields that the college set out to provide when it started 40 years ago.
After relief of finishing four years of medical school, now comes the anticipation of finding out where the graduating class of the Quillen College of Medicine will spend the next two in their residency programs. It's the annual 'match day' for the students, who find out where they'll be going.
They each receive an envelope during the ceremony and a chance for a picture, and then all at the same time open their futures together.
It's a mix of emotions for the future doctors as each has their favorite. Eight of the students will stay with the college in their residency program. "I'm going to East Tennessee State University for pediatric residency," graduate Colette Lahan announced.
It was the mission of the school when it began to provide the Southern Appalachians with primary care physicians.
Med school graduate Melissa Robinson retuned to study medicine after 22 years as a chemistry teacher. "That's exactly what I'm doing. I feel like, especially for someone who won't have as long of a career as someone who is 25, that is really my obligation and what I want to do, to actually fulfill the mission of the school," she said.
"55 percent of our students are remaining in one of the primary care specialties of pediatrics, internal medicine. OB-GYN,or family medicine. 75 percent of them are remaining in the Southeast," Dr. Kenneth Olive with the school said.
But for the graduating class, their friends, and family, it's just another step in a fulfilling journey of becoming a doctor. "You have to keep an open mind and just keep trying. Today's the day, now we don't have to worry about it anymore. It's really exciting," Colette Lahan said.
Congratulations, class of 2014!