*Since I technically graduated from medical school in September of 2016, going to a commencement ceremony in June of 2017 felt super weird to me, so I decided not to go. Oh, and, if I had gone, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have let me give a speech.... But y'all don't mind do you? Nah, I didn't think so.
To my esteemed colleagues, friends, and family: Welcome.
We've worked incredibly hard to get here. But, it is only right that we should have worked hard to get here for now we find ourselves continuing in the tradition of the long and noble line of physicians who have gone before us.
Together, we have done a lot of living. We have seen things. We have watched each other grow and learn and struggle and do better. We have cried tears of joy and tears of sadness together. We have provided each other with comfort when comfort seemed impossible. We went from a group of strangers with a common goal to becoming each others family.
There is an intensive pre-med framework in place at UF. There are counselors specifically dedicated to students in the pre-med track. These counselors pretty much direct you in everything that you need to do to get into medical school from the moment you set foot on campus and declare yourself to be "pre-med." That was a problem for me, because at no point had I considered myself to be "pre-med," let alone declared myself "pre-med." I spent half of undergrad with the plan of becoming a forensic anthropologist. It wasn't until I spent some time in the bone lab that I realized living and breathing humans were the ones for me.
Once I decided medicine was going to be the right path for me, I made an appointment to see the pre-med counselor. I figured the counselor would be able to give me some good advice. The meeting started out fine. She told me what remaining classes I'd need to take and that I should probably get some research experience.…
Around these parts they keep telling me I talk funny. And, I will admit I do play it up sometimes, but I figure I better not go getting above my raising. The other day somebody gave me a hard time about my liberal use of the word "y'all" and how they couldn't use it because people would think that they were "uneducated." I smiled and nodded and didn't worry my pretty little head about it one bit.
That is, until later, when it hit me like a ton of bricks that the person I had just had a conversation with pretty much called me uneducated to my face. Now, I don't take kindly to being insulted- no one does- but I just find being insulted to my face a little much. It made me just want to take the ridiculous colloquialisms up to a whole new level. I got to thinking about the phrases I loved as a kid and still get a good ole kick out of to this day, so I compiled a little list.
Life is hard and things are shitty sometimes. That seems obvious, but I think it's important to acknowledge it. Say it with me: Life is hard and things are shitty sometimes. Lately I find myself pretending everything is okay when it isn't. This is bad. It's unhealthy and it's becoming a pattern. And I don't think this is a problem that is unique to me, I think this is something we all do- we put on a brave face and power through. It seems easier to power through. Feelings are messy and no one likes a mess. A couple of days ago a patient that I had become invested in died. I say invested, instead of liked or knew because he was already comatose when he became my patient. He had no family. He was dirty and his story (what little we knew of it) was sad. But he was a fighter. Every day for a week or so when I checked on his progress he would have invariably pulled himself a little further out of death's grasp. Until the day that he didn't. He died …
There's supposed to be this calm after a storm passes. That's what they tell you anyway.
But I've never really experienced that. That's bullshit.
There is no calm after the storm. There is only stress and debris and things to be done.
I ended up being assigned to the A Team and as such was at the hospital for the entire storm. We were literally locked in from Saturday night until everything was deemed "all-clear" on Monday afternoon. During this time, while things weren't all business-as-usual in the hospital, they weren't too crazy. There was electricity and air conditioning and food and even wifi. There was this can-do spirit of camaraderie, like no matter what, we were all in this together.
When the all-clear was called, we didn't really know what to expect outside. Was it going to be terrible? Was there going to be massive flooding? Lots of damage? Dangerous conditions?
It turned out, for the most part, that none of those things w…