SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — It wasn’t just Saint Patrick’s Day on Friday, but it was also Match Day for students at Upstate Medical University. The class of 2023 learned where they’ll be spending their medical residencies after graduation, with the entire class matching.

A long journey filled with hard work, sacrifice, and dedication is what landed these students here today. 175 students at Upstate Medical University anxiously waited in their seats at the Oncenter, to open their envelopes right at noon on Friday. The room quickly lit up with excitement and happiness, after learning where they’ll be spending the next chapter of their lives. Some of those students won’t have to travel too far, like Alexis Saunders with her number one pick being Upstate Medical University.

“I’ve never been happier. This was my first choice and I couldn’t have asked for anything better,” said Saunders.

Originally from Ellicottville, New York, just south of Buffalo, Saunders said she wanted to be a doctor since she was a little girl and this is the last step to making sure her dream becomes a reality.

“I’ve been here for four years. I loved my education here. I rotated in the emergency department and I loved everyone that I worked with and I really couldn’t see myself in any other program,” said Saunders.

Saunders will spend the next three years at Upstate Medical University, specializing in Emergency Medicine.

John Kangarlu, a student at Upstate Medical University was also thrilled to learn he’ll be spending the next chapter of his residency at his number one pick, Westchester Medical University.

“It’s like 40 minutes from home. A lot of my friends live around there. I know some people who work at Westchester. I love the things they say about it, so just overall it was like a really good lifestyle decision for me,” said Kangarlu.

Kangarlu getting to share that special moment with his biggest fans!

“I am just so proud. It’s the proudest day of my life,” said Beth Kangarlu, mother of John Kangarlu.

“I am so happy for him. He’s going to go to Westchester Medical Center and he’s going to be closer to home,” said Shima Moradpour, a friend of Kangarlu.

Dr. Lawrence Chin, MD, Dean of Norton College of Medicine at Upstate Medical University says the universities mission is to train physicians and there is a need for doctors right now.

“More than 50 percent are going into primary care, and more than 50 percent are staying in New York for their training. We desperately need doctors here,” said Dr. Chin.

92 students in the class of 2023 will enter primary care specialties, including internal medicine (22 students), pediatrics (20 students), family medicine (six students), medicine (18 students), and obstetrics and gynecology (six students).

98 students will stay in New York State. Six students will stay for preliminary positions and 94 students will do their full residency training.

38 students will also stay right here in Syracuse! With 31 at Upstate University Hospital, and seven students at Joseph’s Health.

Students will officially earn their doctor of medicine degrees at Commencement in May of 2023.