As a premed, I would spend many nights wishing and praying for just one interview invite. I thought, “if I could just get one shot” I would be in. For several years, I planned, studied, and prepared for my moment of opportunity. Then, after what felt like an eternity, I received my first interview invite. Before I knew it, I was on a roller coaster ride. From interview season I quickly progressed into what I call “waiting season.” During this time my prayers changed slightly to include “if I could just get one acceptance” I would be there. Day after day I would check my email, religiously scanning the titles for .edu addresses or “Congratulations”. Then one day it arrived. “Congratulations” it read, “you have been accepted into THE Ohio State University College of Medicine.” I was in shock.
The next few months until white coat seemed like a blur of excitement, anxiety, and celebration until that day; The White Coat Ceremony. The White Coat Ceremony is the summation of all premed students blood, sweat, and tears. It is a day of pomp and circumstance, presented in a roaring auditorium consisting of ones most trusted family and friends and the most esteemed academic physicians of the hosting institution. All the newly accepted medical students sit in the front row, awaiting for the moment when they will be christened into the club that is medicine. I will never forget the moment I was called to the stage to receive my white coat. As my name echoed out into the crowd I walked across the stage blinded by the lights and deafened by the sounds. As they slipped the white coat over my shoulders for a brief moment everything stopped. It was as if at that instance time paused and the only thing I could hear was my own thoughts. It was during that silence that my inner voice said to me, “I’ve made it.”
You know… If the story ended right there it would be the greatest triumph story ever told. I mean, I like many other students, overcame what seemed like a mountain of obstacles all for that one moment. From poor grades, hatin’ professors, and dead end jobs, I hurdled every obstacle. If I was knocked down, I stood back up. If I was beat, I tried again. I mean, I made it right?
During that silence at The White Coat Ceremony, in an auditorium of hundreds of people, what should have been said was not “I’ve made it” but instead “you done really did it now”. Little did I know, that by accepting that white coat, I had just signed myself up for the most difficult task I have had to face in my entire life.
I am now a battled hardened fourth year medical student. I have survived anatomy lab, board exams, the wards, and the ORs with my most recently accomplishment of overcoming COVID19. As I sit and type this I can only think man how naïve was I. If only I knew that the REAL journey came AFTER the acceptance and not before. The before was the warm up and medical school isn’t even the first half of the game. Medical school, is akin to the pre-season. As a fourth year student, having completed my rotations, I now see that the medical journey is lifelong. There are moments where you score a goal/make it yet, the game is still going. Thus, after three more years of blood (literally this time), sweat, and tears I now find myself once again hoping, wishing, and praying. Except this time, instead of medical school, it’s now residency. “If I can just match.” Thus the cycle repeats itself. However, this time it’s different. I’m wiser now. I have learned and come to appreciate the fact that resiliency is the prerequisite to an MD.