From Dropping Out of High School due to Illness, to Becoming a “Matching” Medical Student

Match Day is an annual nationwide event where upcoming graduating MD students receive sealed envelopes informing them where they have “matched” for residency training.

March 15, 2024

Fourth-year Doctor of Medicine (MD) program students at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, just like those at all medical schools across the country, will soon celebrate Match Day. During this event, graduating MD students receive sealed envelopes, with a single sheet of paper inside that informs students where they have “matched” and where they will spend the next three to seven years of residency training.

From Dropping Out of High School due to Illness, to Becoming a “Matching” Medical Student.Unlike many of her classmates, fourth-year MD student, Virginia Anne Lane, had a different journey to medical school. A native of Florida, she grew up in a rural town and was a healthy child, until around middle-school. 

“I started to have symptoms like strong fatigue, joint pain, daily migraines and fevers,” Lane said. “It got to the point where I was missing several days of school each week.”

Eventually her symptoms subsided, until high school. Her sophomore year, she was missing so much school, she had to dropout. 

“I was going to all kinds of specialists but could never find any answers,” she said. “To this day, I still don’t know exactly what was causing my symptoms, but this sparked my interest in medicine.” 

After more than a year away from school, Lane regained some strength and energy and thankfully was able to return in time for her senior year and graduate on time with her class. But it wasn’t easy.

“I was so behind on my coursework that I was taking more than six classes at a time,” she said. "I was told time and time again that I wouldn’t be able to catch up in order to graduate with my class, but I did and I was able to get my diploma in 2014.”

After facing several challenges during her adolescent years, Lane knew she wanted to work with children and become a physician to help them. After applying to medical school in 2019, she was accepted at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

“I am so thankful for my time at the School of Medicine; it feels like home to me,” she said. “The last four years, I can truly say I have never been able to connect with a group of people like I have here at Wake Forest.”

Lane has chosen pediatric neurology as her specialty and is anxiously waiting to learn where she will match tomorrow at Match Day.  

“We are so excited for our medical students as they are about to embark on a new chapter of life,” said Dr. Ebony Boulware, dean of Wake Forest University School of Medicine and chief science officer and vice chief academic officer of Advocate Health. “Match Day is not only a special tradition for medical students but a transformational time in their lives. I remember the mix of emotions I felt during my Match Day. I am extremely proud of all of our students as this is not an easy journey and I look forward to celebrating them as they embark on their final steps to becoming a medical professional.”

Last year, in 2023, Wake Forest University School of Medicine had 137 matches with 17 students matching at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist and another eight matching at Atrium Health locations in Charlotte. A total of 37 students stayed in North Carolina for their residencies.

Media contacts: 

Jenna Kurzyna,; Joe McCloskey,