The white coat ceremony for medical students is a rite of passage. It has a quasi-religious significance which symbolizes the “conversion” of a lay person into a member of the healthcare profession. In some ways, based upon the oaths and promises made, it is similar to an ordination associated with a religious denomination.
Yesterday, I witnessed my daughter Allison have a white coat placed upon her shoulders and make this transition to the medical profession. The weight of the coat is light, however the responsibility she has accepted is very heavy. Wrapped in that coat are the hours of time she has spent with instructors, mentors, family members and friends. Those hours hold all of the doubt, fear, fatigue and regret that accompany the pathway to medical school. Having witnessed this for the past five years, I can tell you that this isn’t easy and it isn’t for the faint of heart. This was hard….really hard. Of the 12,800 applicants that applied to Rush Medical College in Chicago, she was one of 144 that were accepted. Yep… that comes out to around a 1% acceptance rate. She was accepted to other medical schools, but Rush was the one she really wanted.
This is my proud papa moment. Allison has only started medical school, but I am so proud of my daughter. I wish I could provide a full accounting of all of the hurdles she had to jump to get here, but it would require more space than this measly blog would allow. There were some very dark moments. Some of those occured in the wee hours of the night. Her mother and I worked with her through those hurdles, piece by piece. There were last minute recovery trips home and critical tests that were “make it or break it”. I don’t regret anything. I would do it all again. And again.
Allison is an exceptional young lady. I am blessed to have such talented daughters. I wish that my parents and grandparents were alive to celebrate in her accomplishments. That said, I have no doubt that they are wrapped in that white coat with Allison. They are sewn in to the fabric that gave her the power to overcome all of the doubt, fear and fatigue that comes with a pre-Med curriculum. They were the cheerleaders when life dealt significant setbacks. They were the hands that picked her up and allowed her to pave the path that led her to Rush.
Allison…you are going to be the most amazing, compassionate and thoughtful physician that the world has known. I am so proud of what you have accomplished and look forward to celebrating all of the milestones that are coming your way. Your patients will be so fortunate to be in your care. May the peace of Christ be with you and remain in your heart forever.