Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thursday Top Ten: The Best (Match) Day Ever

Match Day.

To employment! (That's cider for me--I had to go back to finish rounding.)

Today was match day. The day where all of the fourth year medical students all over the country rip open envelopes that determine where they will be doing their residencies. A day full of angst--the sonic boom heard all over America after a nearly four year drum roll toward being a doctor.

Today was that day.

Emory School of Medicine, today as I crossed the street

For the nonmedical folks reading this. . . .here's how it all works:

You decide on a specialty after doing all of your clinical rotations.
You make sure that your choice of specialty matches up with your performance in med school.
(Certain specialties require otherworldly board scores and grades, etc.)
You gather your letters of recommendation.
You apply through the computer application system.
You wait to hear from programs and if you're lucky, you get a bunch of interviews.
You interview.
You fret about which programs in which cities you liked the most.
You fret some more.
You pray, if you're into that. (I am.)
You rank the programs in order of where you want to go.
(Little do you know that the programs are fretting, too.)
The program puts in their lists in order of who they want.
You hope and pray that the folks who you liked like you back.
On Match Day, you rip open an envelope and find out.

My Match Day Moment, March 20, 1996

Yeah. That's pretty much how it works in a nutshell. I remember that day for me. I was so freakin' happy. Like so happy. My first choice of programs wanted me, too. And most importantly, as my father quickly reminded me, I was gainfully employed.


I am doubting that this was cider (but don't worry-- I didn't have to go back to round!)

We had a big ol' party where we signed each other's scrubs, toasted a few too many times, and graffiti'd our names all over a giant map with our residency locations. That day was awesome. And as you can see above. . . . I sho' nuff celebrated.

So with that said. . .even though I always have enjoyed coming to Match Day at Emory each year, never has it ever even come close to the enjoyment I had on my own Match Day. Not even close.

That is. . . . until today.


 I can't believe I'm saying it. . .but it's true. This year was the best Match Day ever.


Quick background: In 2007 our School of Medicine overhauled its curriculum. The remix included sixteen faculty members appointed to advise small groups of medical students and teach them over a longitudinal experience for all four years. I was one of those lucky sixteen faculty members.

So in July of 2007, I met these seven students who, along with many other students in the class, I came to know and love very well. The nature of the curriculum created these family ties in our small groups that leaped above and beyond any teaching experiences I'd ever had. And it trickled from one small group to the next, like neighbors standing on porches handing cups of borrowed sugar to other peoples' children. All for a cake that in the end everyone would be invited to come over to enjoy.

Yeah. Like that.

I'd advised students before, yes. I've taught students, too. But this? This was different.

Never have I known learners so well.
Never have I been so invested.

That's why match day this year destroyed my careful application of drugstore mascara. Yes. Completely annihilated it--and any chance of anyone ever using the word "stoic" to describe me--all with what bordered on "the ugly cry."

I told one of the students today:

"Imagine how you feel right now. Now multiply it by all of you students and take that value to the fourth power for every single year I've known you. Then you'll know how I feel."

And so. Here is your Thursday top ten. . . .the top ten reasons (in no certain order) why this was the best Match Day ever. . . .

. . . . and why I now know for sure that I am walking in my purpose.


#10 The Excitement.

It's impossible to describe the excitement of the day.  You can see it in these faces, though.

#9 The Anticipation

They can't legally release the results until noon on Match Day. Here's a few shots of people waiting with baited breath. . . .

That clock is for the countdown. . .

Preclinical onlookers: "We got next."

#8 The Moment.

Some times a bunch of words just don't suffice.

a nervous student

a proud mother

a dream realized

first choices aligned again

Another proud "mama": Dr. B., one of the head advisors.

In the presence of two gentlemen both headed to Harvard for residency. . . !

Disbelief by some, relief by most, pride by all.

Over the moon

A job with benefits, too!

Words from the wise.

It's a family affair.


# 7 through #1: My Small Group.

The seven wonders that I have had the pleasure of watching grow since their very first day of medical school orientation. And seven reasons why if this wasn't my job, I'd sure wish it were.

Look at these shots and you'll know how long I've known them. . . .
I've watched them growing up right along with Isaiah and Zachary . . . .

Zachy wasn't even walking yet!
Zachy less than a year old with Adam less than a year into med school. .

Wook at dat two year old Isaiah!
. . . and here we are today as serious doctors. . .

. . .well, sort of serious doctors. :)

May I introduce you to my seven wonders--and part of medicine's future?
Each is described in four words, even though four thousand would never suffice.
And don't worry--I can tell you that the future of medicine looks bright.


Thoughtful. Empathic. Mature. Empowered.
Internal Medicine, UC San Francisco.


Hreem (pronounced "Rim").
Driven. Organized. Focused. Confident.
Ophthalmology, Rush Medical Center Chicago.


Insightful. Compassionate. Loyal. Patient-Whisperer.
Anesthesiology, Walter Reed Army Medical Center


Activist. Inspiring. Memorable. Brave.
MD/MPH Candidate, to enter OB/Gyn Residency 2012


"My Three Sons": Dougie, CQ, and Sparky

(Gainfully employed sons, that is.)

Talented. Magnetic. Fighter. Winner.
Otolaryngology (ENT), Henry Ford Medical Center


Adam (aka "Sparky").
Selfless. Dependable. Passionate. Incredible.
Internal Medicine, Barnes-Jewish/Washington University St. Lo.


Doug (with sweet wife, Anne)
Caring. Gracious. Focused. Funny.
Anesthesiology, Mount Sinai Medical Center, NYC


Oh happy day.


  1. Oh happy day. Couldn't say it better myself. We are the luckiest 7 students at Emory SOM. Thanks for being you Dr. M.

  2. Priceless pictures of this eventful day for those of as afar!!! This summary of the last 4 years helps those of us on the outside appreciate the journey. This proud Mother is soooooo happy that our son, Douglas, had such an exceptional mentor, fantastic student colleagues, and excellent medical school experience. Thank you Doctor Manning for helping to make this all happen, because it is the people, not the place that really make good things happen. Marilyn Wetmore

  3. Congratulations to the Class of 2011, your 7 children in medicine, and you Dr. Manning! Wishing everyone continued and growing success.

  4. You had to put up a picture of me with the ugly cry, eh? (I started ugly crying a little bit just reading this)

  5. Absolutely, Positively, and OFFICIALLY my favorite post of all time! Thanks for making me cry at my desk!!!

    Congrats to your Magnificent Seven, the Seven Wonders!
    I feel like a proud auntie! Come to think of it, I AM!

    And, Miz, you know I'm your number one fan... I couldn't be any more excited for you if I tried. This world is a far better place with you grooming & leading doctors. Every student that crosses your path will touch hundreds... thousands of lives, which means YOU will have touched those lives as well. That adds up to a lot of BLESSED people & patients!

    Congratulations again, and I LOVE YOU!!!

    ~Biz (the proudest little sister in the world!)

  6. You are a talented writer. I am silently sobbing at my desk and beaming with pride and joy and I have absolutely no connection with your former students. Congrats to them and to you for all of your achievements and success.

  7. Lots of ugly crying this week. I am so proud of everyone. So so proud. I just couldn't stop hugging everyone yesterday!

  8. Thank you, Dr. Manning. (I almost went to the ugly cry had to put up that picture, huh?) Thank you for being my son's second mom and friend. You have made a magnificent impact on both our lives. I so admire you and the work that you have done with these exceptional young people. I feel your pride. Well done.

  9. Kimberly, you are an inspiration to all and a blessing to the universe. Let God continue to shine on you and work through you!!!

    You make us proud! We love you!!!



  10. Someone should have warned me...
    BOOO HOOO!!! Officially crying the ugly cry.

  11. Kimberly,
    You are simply the best! I'm so proud of you and your students. I was sharing this with my 10 year old and she is beaming!! She said I really want to meet them! Continue to walk in your purpose!

    Love you!

  12. Remembering Match Day for my daughter and, four years later, my (soon to be) Son-in-Law brought on the tears. Bringing up GOOD doctors IS hard work. Cudos to you, Dr. Manning; and,job well done to you AND your family!

  13. Wow, I wish I had a small group facilitator like you. Kind of jealous right now.

  14. Wow! I can feel the warmth and love on this one. :)
    Congratulations to all of you - I guess it's that amazing feeling - every single hour you've put in comes down to that moment.

  15. You have some smart "children" there lady! How wonderful to be able to influence so many new doctors.

  16. I feel like I will be in good hands with these doctors of the future. They are clearly mentored on the right path.


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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