The cheers and screaming erupted at the Amarillo Country Club just seconds after 11 a.m. Friday, as medical students from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center learned where they would be taking the next step of their medical careers.
After four years of medical school, best friends Harrison Torres and Luis Ruiz were ecstatic about their matches.
"We're about to be doctors! It all came true, this is a dream we've been thinking of for years," Torres said. "This is the accumulation of all of our hard work -- high school, undergrad, med school -- it's the hardest thing you can do and it all comes down to this one day to figure out where you're going to go. It's a very exciting time!"
On Monday, TTUHSC students found out if they were matched with an institution to complete their residency at all; it was left for their imaginations to roam and their anxiety to build as they waited for the 11 o'clock hour to strike Friday morning to learn their fate.
"You have this big question mark, where are you going to spend the next couple years of your life, and now you can finally start moving forward," Torres said.
"It's so exciting to see where all my friends are ending up," Ruiz said. "These are the people we've worked with for the last four years -- blood, sweat and tears. To be able to see it all pay off for them and to see the excitement in their eyes, it's the coolest thing."
Ruiz is bound for Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Temple, Texas, where he will focus on obstetrics gynecology.
"As on OB-GYN, we're the first person who gets to touch that baby when they come into the world and I don't think there's a more special, tender moment in medicine," he said. "Getting those new people off to the right start, that's my role."
Torres is headed to Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, on his way to becoming a urologist.
"I hope to expand the field, expand the research (and) become the best doctor I can be," he said. "I'm planning on providing for the more rural community in east Texas ... and hopefully being able to help people. That's what this is all about, helping people."
Nationwide, graduating medical students learned the next step in their medical fate concurrently through the National Resident Matching Program. Since 1952, the NRMP says they've provided "unparalleled medical matching services" that are "100 percent objective, 100 percent accurate and 100 percent committed to a fair and transparent process."
"What they do is, the places (students) want to go rank them and (the students) rank the places they want to go, then whatever is the highest on both rank lists, that's how they choose," said Dr. Richard Jordan, TTUHSC regional dean.
Jordan said 100 percent of their graduating class was matched to an institution where they can complete their residency.
"We're really proud to see them get to go where they want to go," he said. "Almost everybody feels like, 'This is good and I'm going to be what I wanted to be all my life, a physician."