The White Coat Ceremony is the day all pre-meds look forward to. It’s the day you officially become a medical student and get that short white coat you spent all those hours studying, volunteering, and maybe even pulling all-nighters to get. If you’re anything like me, you’ve seen pictures of people getting their coats or shadowed a doctor and it motivated you to keep going so that it could be you one day.
The whole day was very surreal for me because it honestly still hadn’t hit me that I was finally in medical school. It was like I blinked and I was where I’ve always wanted to be. I’ve wanted to be a doctor since I was about eight years old- there were other career interests including artist, dancer, actress and the next Oprah- but being a doctor was always at the top of the list. I’m not going to lie, I had moments during undergrad (usually after a difficult chemistry or physics exam) where I doubted I would ever get accepted into medical school. I even cried in my professor’s office once after failing an exam (yes, I have failed before and its okay!). Looking back on it now, I know it wasn’t that serious and that I had to go through those things to get to where I am now.
The best part about the ceremony was having my family there to witness it. It was not just a success for me, but for them too. They have always supported me and never pushed me into medicine. I am forever grateful for their continued love and support. The day marked the success of the journey so far and reminded me of how much more work has to be done so that I can be the best physician for my future patients. I am now part of a team with the primary goal of doing “no harm” and that is a very big responsibility.
I don’t want this to be a long post because I could go on for days about how hard it was to get here. I hope that hearing a little bit about my journey will encourage anyone taking the time to read this. Getting your white coat is just the beginning. I have answered the call to medicine and have begun a journey of dedicating my life to others. If you are currently working towards a short white coat, a pair of scrubs, a teaching certificate, a law degree, or even a bachelor of fine arts- please don’t give up. Work hard so you never have to say “I should have…” or “I wish..”. Do what you have to do now so one day you can say “I made it”. It will not be easy, but your dreams are out there waiting for you to catch them.