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Student Writing & Art
Donning of the White Coat
By Erica Nelson, MSI
The day I had been waiting for, for what seemed like forever, has come and gone. But not gone in the sense that it has been forgotten; rather in the sense that now I can officially say I am a medical student.
When I thought about the White Coat Ceremony, I thought about what it would mean to me and how I would react to the Oath. However, having now recited the Hippocratic Oath and hearing the
overwhelming applause from the audience, I could never have imagined how I would be feeling during those moments.
I was ecstatic, scared, overwhelmed, passionate, proud, grateful, and joyous—to name a few. But I probably felt a mix of a thousand emotions that I couldn't possibly put a name to.
As I turned around to face the audience to be introduced along with everyone else in my class, I caught my father's eye. He was sitting in the far back of the crowd, but I managed to lock eyes with him. Then tears instantly welled up in my eyes. I had dreamed of this moment for so long, and now it had finally come true. More importantly, I saw how proud my dad was. I knew I wouldn't be standing there without the help of my parents, family, and friends. I knew I had made them proud; I had gone above and beyond their expectations. I was a daughter with high hopes and dreams, determined to follow my heart. I was a daughter who just vowed to live for her patients, to listen to them because they are the most important part of a doctor's career. I was a daughter who would now embark on a difficult
journey but only because she had support around her.
The audience’s applause, which my family was surely a part of, was like no other. It gave me courage, pride, and responsibility. It told me what my duty as a doctor would be. It told me that I cannot
let my patients, my family, and my colleagues down or at least not without a fight.
As I reflect on what I will take away from this ceremony, I know I am in this no matter what—you can be sure of that. I am going to put my white coat to good use and abide by the Hippocratic Oath for as long as I live.