Sunday, October 13, 2013

The White Coat

I'm a very symbolic person.  I like to pepper my life with little hints of symbolism, sort of like Gus's affinity for living his life in metaphors in The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.  For instance, my cousin's favorite color was purple, and when she died, the fact that she loved purple was very glorified (as you do when people die).  Everything that was involved with her was purple, and purple became a very comforting color for me.  When I bought my suit for my interviews I got a purple top to wear with it, and any day I was feeling like I would need a little something extra that day I wore purple.  Also, every medical school interview I went on I had my Hunger Games Mokingjay pin on hidden under the ruffled part of my shirt.  The Mokingjay pin was a symbol of defiance and strength in the series, and that was something I wanted embedded to my person as I went on these interviews.

As you can probably guess, what I wore to the White Coat ceremony was riddled with symbols, and everything I was wearing was worn for a reason.  I may not be a writer, but I like doing things for reasons, even if no one really knows about it.  I wore the nicest dress in my closest, you could say as a symbol of wealth, but it was mostly because I just like looking nice and getting dressed up.  Also it was dark blue, one of the University of Pittsburgh's colors.  I find that I have a lot of Pitt and Pittsburgh pride now that I'm not in it (so it always goes).  I wore my best, and hottest, pair of heels.  For two reasons, another one of those I really like to dress to the nine's when I can, but more because I bought those shoes at a second hand store in Portland when I came up for my interview at UNECOM.  I had on earrings that my younger sister bought me and I wore my late grandma's fur coat, as another way to have my family close to me even when they are far away (or dead).

White Coat was awesome--and I mean that in the real definition of awesome way, not the "oh that shit was awesome" type of awesome.  I couldn't help but get emotional as I was sitting there listening to all the speakers and watching my classmates get coated and think of all of the people who helped me get there.  I am indebted to my best friend and former roommate, Meg, who was my rock during the whole application process.  We were both applying at the same time so we were able to be each other's cheerleaders when we needed it.  She was there for me on those days when I felt like all my trouble and hard work would be for naught, like the day I came home fuming mad because my professor told me I should find something else to do with my life because I'm not going to be a doctor with my stutter, and as soon as I started telling her the story I dissolved into tears and waves of "Am I doing all this for nothing?" feelings came crashing over me, but it was Meg who told me that was ONE person's opinion and clearly that woman doesn't have any idea who she's talking about because I'm going to be a great doctor.

I am indebted to my stuttering friends in Pittsburgh who showed me how to live a life with a stutter.  It is thanks to Seth and Sara (and the many others) that I even started to think that you could be happy and have a stutter.  Anytime I was with either Seth or Sara or a group of stutterers out in the real world (as opposed to our NSA meetings) I always felt so empowered, sitting in a coffee shop with a bunch of "normal" speakers around us as we chatted away while stuttering.  It always made me wish I lived in a world where stuttering was the normal, or on an island populated by only people who stutter.

Mostly I am indebted to my parents.  To my dad, who always works so hard to support me and my dreams financially, and who is so proud to say he has a daughter in medical school (and I know he loves bragging about it).  I inherited his drive and work ethic and it's thanks to all of that I was sitting in that chair at white coat thinking all of these thoughts.  To my mom, who maybe doesn't always understand everything that I do or I like, but is proud as hell of me and always there for me when I need her (and especially when I need her to move me somewhere).

As I was sitting in white coat I was just very happy--feel in it in your stomach happy.  It's one of the many "I did it!" moments that I'm going to have in this life- like the first acceptance letter I got (unsurprisingly, UNECOM), and walking out of my clinical practical having spoken at least 95% fluent during the full 45 minutes, and I'm excited to keep having them.  I'm excited to live in this medical life and be around medical people.  Also during white coat, I kept thinking about the time Meg, Russell, Sean and I were out one night in Pittsburgh getting dinner and drinks and we got Sean talking about his work and he was telling us about Ulcerative Colitis and Meg, Russell, and I (med school applicant, med student, and med school applicant) were ALL sitting on the EDGE of our seats while Sean (surgery resident) talked about ulcerative colitis..ULCERATIVE COLITIS! Of all the things we could be interested in we were FASCINATED with UC! Not a pretty disease! It was hilarious because we were all so into it and asking so many questions because we love and thirst that knowledge.  That might be one of my favorite memories from this past year.  I just loved that I found people who were as into medicine and the science behind it as I am, not because they have to know the information for a test, but because they are honest to god interested in how the body works.  Of course, now they are all hundreds of miles away from me-which is the one drawback to this profession-the constant leaving that happens--but that, my dear friends is another blog for another day.

These are always SO SAPPY.  I promise I am also a very fun person, I just apparently can't write anything unless it drips with feeling.  Here's a picture of me at white coat to unsappify this-- (maybe my favorite picture ever of me)

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