“You have been accepted to Loma Linda University School of Medicine.” It’s funny how that one little sentence changes your life. In one fell swoop you realize that everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve is finally becoming a reality and it all comes out in one big burst of grateful emotion and about a million “thank you’s” to Dr. Nyirady who waits patiently on the other end of the line while you try to recompose yourself. I received the phone call while I was visiting family in Florida over Christmas break. I was walking with my mom around Downtown Disney (it seems appropriate that such happy news should be delivered at the “happiest place on earth,” right?) and as soon as I hung up the phone I was immediately scooped up into a big mom hug while she simultaneously jumped up and down and proclaimed, “I’m so proud of you.” We then proceeded to document the occasion by climbing into one of the “Disneyfied” photo booths and taking a series of silly pictures.
The hugs and smiles were even bigger and better this past Thursday as all of us incoming freshmen were given our white coats. The ceremony was a spectacular reminder of the reason why we have all chosen to devote our lives to the profession of medicine. Dr. Robert Orr inspired us with the challenge to be more than just medical providers and instead be the caring and compassionate healthcare professionals that God has called us to be. Then, while friends and family looked on with beaming smiles, the white coats were distributed. My mom stood amongst the physicians who passed white coats on to the next generation of doctors, and just as she was with me when I received the news of my acceptance, she was right there with me for this momentous occasion. I will never forget what it felt like to have my mom help me into my first white coat. In a word, it was perfect! I was moved to tears as we hugged for what seemed to be an eternity and all I know is I didn’t want to let go.
The feeling was just as incredible as I made my way back to my seat and hugged my dad, his wife, my niece and nephew, my sister, her husband, and my aunt and uncle. I knew that the white coat resting on my shoulders was the result of the values that my family had instilled in me and that this day would not have been possible without their love and support. Once everyone had received their coats, we proceeded back up to the stage to take our oath and to dedicate ourselves to continuing the teaching and healing ministry of Christ.
The night ended with the hundreds of pictures and hugs, and just when I thought the night couldn’t get any better, my family replaced my official white coat with one that my cousins had decorated for me in honor of the ceremony. Complete with hand-drawn stains, name badge, stethoscope, beeper, and a disclaimer on the back that warns “Student Doctor – WATCH OUT!” It was the perfect ending to an incredible evening.