AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Friday was Match Day for fourth-year medical students across the U.S., including at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center’s School of Medicine.

Those students found out they matched into residency on Monday and learned where they would spend the next three to seven years on Friday.

Jonathan Umelo and his roommate Felix Omoruyi learned they will both be in residency at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York.

Umelo matched into orthopedic surgery. was there when he opened his letter, he and Omoruyi embracing tightly as they celebrated the good news.

“My mom had breast cancer when I was younger, and she passed away when I was about 14, and, you know, seeing her being sick for that two years, made me appreciate, you know, life and you know, taking care of people and that’s why I got into this field,” Umelo said.

According to TTUHSC, Umelo came to the United States from Nigeria and got his undergrad at UT Dallas before coming to the School of Medicine. He became a U.S. citizen in 2017 but looks forward to giving back in his home country.

“When I was thinking about what specialty to pursue, I felt like orthopedics would do it for me because the orthopedic care in my country is is in a very poor state,” Umelo added. “And it’s always been one of the dreams of mine to be able to you know, go back home periodically as often as I can to you know, to give back.”

“It’s honestly a different feeling when you have your mind set on something, and actually go for it and, you know, achieve it,” Umelo said. “On Monday, when I found out that I matched into orthopedic surgery was probably the happiest day of my life, because I knew that everything I’ve worked for every, you know, late nights, every headache, every literally tears sometimes, you know, paid off.”

On Friday, Umelo was crying happy tears as he looked back on how far he had come.

“I never thought moments like this would happen. Looking back to where I came from,” Umelo said, dropping to his knees in tears, Omoruyi comforting him and reminding him he had worked for this.

“Coming to the United States and pursuing medicine was not something that I thought was possible because I grew up very poor. I grew up in a one-bedroom with my four siblings. It wasn’t easy at all. So, when I came to the U.S. and aspired to become a physician, I thought it felt like too big, you know, for a goal to pursue, but I just took it one step at a time,” Umelo said.

He continued, “I was told no, just you know, find something else along the way, but I kept pushing. So, what I’m going to tell, you know, any young kid minority out there is, you know, if you set your mind to something, you know, pray about it, work hard, and just believe that that you can, you can get to that point.”

Omoruyi matched with a residency for ophthalmology, focusing on eye surgery.

“This is something I really never saw myself doing initially when I got into med school and then my third year doing my surgery rotation, we got to pick specialty weeks and I decided to do ophthalmology for one week,” Omoruyi said. “I got to work with Dr. Sloan Rush and throughout that week, I got to see the surgeries he did.”

Omoruyi said he saw how the surgeries made a difference in the lives of patients and it inspired him.

“This is just a field where I’d be able to touch the lives of others, especially being someone was born in Nigeria, and I grew up in Jamaica, and I carry something that’s lacking in those areas and one of the things Dr. Sloan’s practice is doing—They do global mission work,” Omoruyi said. “So, they do work to Mexico that you work through the Republic of Congo, and do work to Nicaragua. And one of the reasons I want to come back to Amarillo and work with them is to establish points of connection to Jamaican, Nigeria as well. So, we can help those in those countries who are suffering from preventable blindness each year.”

Omoruyi said his mother is now a family physician in Jamaica, so that transition should be easier to establish.

He also reflected on his journey to residency.

“When my dad moved here with me, back in 2010, he had the goal of you know, ‘I want you to be successful, I want you to be able to pave a path for yourself,”‘ Omoruyi said. “My dad, he didn’t grow up with much. There’s some days he didn’t eat so his other siblings could eat. He was one of 12. [He would] have to walk 10 miles to school sometimes and he only had like one pants, two shirt throughout college. So he knew what it was the struggle and to get to where he is now. He’s a professor of Texas A&M Corpus Christi and he’s done a lot to help me and my siblings.”

Omoruyi continued, “There’s no way that we can misuse these opportunities given us. So we did our best and I was fortunate enough to get into med school and find a field where I can be able to help people and continue to climb and grow and learn. So I’m just really glad I’ve been able to get here, find something where I can help others and kind—all the sacrifices my parents have made for me and my siblings and it’s, it was worth it, that we’re going, we’re going somewhere,” Omoruyi added.

Both of the students told they were grateful for the people in Amarillo, as well as at TTUHSC.

Umelo and Omoruyi will begin their residencies this summer. Until then, they can celebrate their hard work.

They started celebrating early. In fact, Omoruyi went to the Big Texan on Wednesday night and ate the entire 72 oz. steak with sides, and had about nine minutes left to spare.

For full interviews, including details on how Omoruyi ate the entire steak (and more food after), watch the videos below: