Monday, June 16, 2014

Line crossings.

My small group advisee who just graduated sent me a text saying he'd just left something on my porch. He was heading out to go to New York to start his new life as a surgery resident and wanted to leave a token. And yes, he knew exactly where I lived because he'd been in my home along with the rest of that small group more times than he could count.

"Oh man! I was home! I wish you would have rung the doorbell so that I could hug your neck!"

This was my response. And his response?

"I am not far. I will turn around."

And he did. In fact, I met him in between where he was and my home. I hugged his neck just like I said and wished him well. Then we both said the thing he said to me when I hooded him on commencement day:

"It's been a dream."

And that was that. On a very rainy day, that was that.

While I was in L.A. I sent a text to another former advisee who just finished up his internship at UCLA.

"Just saying hello while I'm out here visiting the family! I hope you are well!"

And his response?

"Dr. M!!!!! Where are you?!? I wanna see you!!!!!!"

And so. On a post call day, we met up in a cafe. Him in scrubs. And me in my sister's Clipper's sweatshirt.

And it was great. And that was that.

"I got engaged!!! She said YES!!!!!"

This was another text I received a few months ago from another student. With this photo attached.

And that was that.

And this was the advisor meeting I had over whole wheat pancakes in the Virginia Highlands this weekend.

A colleague once told me that I should be careful to keep the line between my students and myself hard and never blurry. "You are their advisor, not their friend," he told me.  "But can't I be a little bit of both?" I asked. The response? "No. Not really. Too much caring can be dangerous."

I always remembered that. And you know? I'm sort of glad that I continue to fail miserably at it year after year. Because it's been a dream. It has.


Happy Monday.


  1. I think I speak for all of your advisees when I say that we are glad you blur the line too.

  2. What a beautiful post. I am really glad you fail so miserably--it is a blessing to all those students as well as your sweet self.

  3. You have to be you. And if that means "blurring lines" then so be it! Everyone has a different approach, and your advisees obviously respect you as well as love you. Why be human if you can't throw some love into the mix?

  4. This is why I think you might be one of the greatest doctors ever. And I'm a fine judge of them --

  5. I sooo second Jen!! We are so grateful that you care and give so much of your self/schedule to mentoring and teaching us.

    - D.A.


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