Saturday, June 6, 2009

Reflections on Graduation, 2009

It's Saturday evening and I'm thinking about 125 new osteopathic physicians who took their medical oaths today. I interviewed with and was admitted to medical school with this Class of 2009 although circumstances required me to delay entrance until the following year. I have no regrets though, because it allowed me to become part of the most wonderful group of people I've ever known, i.e. the Class of 2010.

The Class of 2009 were our mentors. They taught us how to survive the herculean task that is medical school and maintain our sanity in the process. They offered advice and encouragement, we played and learned together. One fall evening a group of us put on a spoof of beauty contests, featuring male medical students competing on the basis of talent, scrub suits, and our skill at responding to "serious" questions. It has become an annual event and last year, yours truly was honored with the title of Mr. Congeniality. Miss Congeniality is the one all the guys should marry because, although she may not be the most lovely, she's certainly the most level-headed. I don't think all the available ladies are lined up at my door, but it was fun nevertheless.

In a few months the members of the Class of 2009 will scatter to the four winds, beginning residency programs in family medicine, psychiatry, emergency medicine, and all the other specialties. Some of them we may see frequently and others maybe never again. I attended this morning for just that reason. I wanted to see them together once more, to say thanks, and wish them well. As they walked across the stage and were given diplomas rolled up like ancient scrolls and bound with blue and gold ribbon, I couldn't help but imagine what it will be like for me and tears came unbidden.

The longer I'm a part of this process the more precious it becomes. Carlos Casteneda called it discovering where your heart lies. Joseph Campbell described it in terms of finding your bliss. However we describe it, I'm grateful to be a part of the community of healers -- there is absolutely nothing like it.

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