*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.
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 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.…
In senior year of high school I took a (world?) history class with a professor named Dr. Schmidt. I don't remember what the class was called, or, really, a ton about the content in general. Dr. Schmidt was sweet, but a little drone-y and I had a difficult time maintaining alertness, but I tried.
To Dr. Schmidt's credit, ten years later, I still remember him talking about Mao and his famous (infamous?) five-year plans for China.
Now, senior year of high school is a point in life where everybody and their brother thinks they have a right, no, a need, to ask you what your life plan is. And saying that you didn't know is simply unacceptable.
As a high-schooler this enraged me.
I was 18 years old, barely old enough to vote, not even old enough to drink, and everybody from Great Aunt Linda to my favorite cashier at Publix wanted to ask me what my plan was.
And every time someone asked me to describe in detail this epic plan that they just knew I had for myself all I could thi…
"One thought of doubt in your mind is the devil." -Rinzai
When I was itty-bitty, probably 7-ish, I took a test to get into Gifted Classes. Looking back now, I can tell you it was an IQ test, but at the time all I knew was that my best friend got to leave our regular class one day a week to go to this reallyreallycool class where they built things and ate things and blew things up and boy did I want to join her, and to join her I had to take this test and do well.
From what I remember, tests in general didn't have a ton of consequences as a kid. Either you got it or you didn't and if you didn't someone would help you figure it out.
But for this particular test, I understood the stakes. I really really wanted to get out of regular class.
The exam was administered by some Random Lady I only have a vague recollection of, but I'm pretty sure it happened in the guidance counselor's office. I remember Random Lady asking me questions and giving me puzzl…
Lately I keep getting offered ads/links to this artist named Emily McDowell. They were everywhere so I finally clicked on the link.
The bots at google know me pretty well, because I loved her stuff. She makes cards and prints and coffee mugs with cool sayings on them. I wanted to buy all of them, but there was one in particular that really stood out to me. It said "I will not compare myself to strangers on the internet." (You can buy it here)
This pops into my head all the time now. I have taken to repeating it over and over like a mantra: I will not compare myself to strangers on the internet. I will not compare myself to strangers on the internet. I will not compare myself to strangers on the internet. I will not compare myself to strangers on the internet.
Between Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and reality TV a decent amount of our recreational time these days is spent watching or clicking through "aspirational" nonsense from strangers on the interne…