Peoria, Ill. (WMBD) — It’s a huge day for future doctors across America.

Today is 2023 Match Day for medical students. Fourth-year students from the University of Illinois College Of Medicine gathered at the Embassy Suites in East Peoria Friday to find out where they’ll spend the next three to seven years training for their residency.

It was a milestone celebratory moment for everyone involved.

Specifically 54 medical students will be calling 19 new states home, with 16 specialties.

“It’s such a proud day for us, always. We are so excited at the College of Medicine on Match Day,” said Eileen Doherty, assistant dean for student affairs. “We work so hard with these students over the past four years — it’s a combination of all of that work and all they have done and how we’ve supported them.”

It’s a day most students have been thinking about for years.

“This has been my dream for as long as I can remember, and it’s taken me over 20 years to get here,” says Matthew Carr, adding that it’s never to late.

Although the journey as medical students hasn’t been easy, one student calls it rewarding.

“You do a bunch of studying your first two years and then finally step into your clinical rotations,”  Tommy Rashid says. “Finding out your care actually has an impact on patients is probably the greatest reward.”

Students opened their envelopes at exactly 11 a.m. with their fellow classmates and family by their side.

Now, medical students like Rashid, who matched with the University of Kansas and had the opportunity to rotate there for a month (he is following the oncology route) — looks forward to continuing their journeys to becoming doctors.

“It’s a phenomenal culture, very tight-knit… all the residents are great surgeons,” Rashid says you can see they have top-notch training. “So I was super excited to find out I matched there.”

He grew up in Peoria, had a close connection to St. Jude Hospital, and comes from a long line of doctors in his family.

Rashid says it’s been a privilege to have his family as role models. His doctor dad’s advice: bedside manner and patient care is everything and that’s what the future physician plans to focus on.