“We are like dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, so that we can see more than they, and things at a greater distance, not by virtue of any sharpness of sight on our part, or any physical distinction, but because we are carried high and raised up by their giant size.” - Bernard of Chartres, circa 1159
This past Saturday, I finally graduated from the University of Florida’s College of Medicine as a Doctor in Medicine. The convoluted journey has had many peaks and troughs, providing me some of the most meaningful and most difficult times of my life. Through my own wits, I would not be in this position. Growing up, I was never the top of my class, not the most athletic, nor strongest in anything I’ve done. It is through those around me - family, friends, and mentors - who have elevated me to a position to succeed beyond my own capabilities. My family, from a non-medical background, provided me with the love and support to continue pushing through difficult times. My friends helped me celebrate the best of times and picked me up in the worst of times throughout life. My mentors, who saw a diamond in the (very) rough, pushed me to achieve outcomes that were not fathomable in my own mind.
Medical school offered a real privilege to develop intimate relationships with patients and families during their most vulnerable of times. From babies to burr holes and cesareans to seizures, medical school provided a unique opportunity to experience all facets of medicine and healthcare. Besides adding more letters to my last name, nothing transformative happened as I crossed the stage to receive my diploma. I’m still the same person I was moments before, though the walk across stage symbolically represents the passage into being a physician. Though I have a whole new set of responsibilities and obligations, I still feel like the same as before.
Traditionally, the principle of medicine has been to treat the patient. However, I challenge us to ask ourselves how we really “treat” patients? Treating patients goes far beyond providing prescriptions and scheduling follow up visits. It is about addressing people’s biggest fears and concerns; it is about providing compassion and empathy to people who may not otherwise feel cared for. I look forward to this challenge as residency looms around the corner, and hope to leave a lasting positive impression to those who allow me to be their healthcare provider during their most vulnerable moments of life.
I'm a current MD-PhD candidate, working hard to help treat and manage muscular dystrophies