Mentorship. Motivation. Representation

To the Med School Student – An Open Letter || Black Girl, White Coat

Sometimes I feel like I’m too dramatic, like I made getting in to medical school too much of a big deal. The social media posts, the tons of pictures from my white coat ceremony, the fact that I got a photographer to capture it all, the number of family members and friends that I made sure were invited, the celebration after it all, everything. Was I doing too much? Is it really that much of an accomplishment? I know people surely had to be tired of me and all my antics.

No. You’re never doing too much. You got here. You deserve this. You get to party and celebrate for the sleepless nights and the missed events. You get to capture the whole process so you can remind yourself of your accomplishments, so you can relive the initial excitement, so you can remember why you started, so you can share your story of overcoming hard times and chasing your dreams. You get to invite all your loved ones because you deserve to be surrounded by all that love and support and encouragement they always provide. You reserve the right to share your accomplishments and happiness on your social media because it is just that, yours. Don’t feel bad for being so happy, so excited, so eager because the only people who would care to judge you probably have no idea what it took for you to get here.

You made it to medical school; you’re in! This is the perfect time for you. This is the perfect school for you. This is you following your passions and reaching for the stars you thought you’d never be able to reach. Congratulations and job well done! Your studying never went unnoticed, your struggle to prioritize and manage your time turned out to be beneficial, your stressful season of sowing has finally produced the finest fruit in your season of harvest. This is not to be taken lightly; they don’t know what you endured in order to stand where you are right now.

Forewarning, there will be times when you feel like you can’t do it, like the admissions committee somehow made a mistake when they accepted you into their med school, like everyone else is so much more prepared than you, like there is no way you’ll actually survive, like maybe the doubtful advisor in undergrad was right. There will be tough times that will be made worse by self-doubt as you are a new fish in a new and huge pond. There will be times when the amount of information being thrown at you seems as though it’s just unfair and absolutely ludicrous. Medical school is hard.

Additional forewarning, you’ll get past all that, you’ll make it, you’ll pass that test, you’ll remember those notes, you’ll get to the next year, you’ll adapt well to your new environment and find friends to help make the journey better too! Turns out the admissions committee did not make a mistake. You are meant to be right where you are right at this moment. You are 1 step closer to your career, to your ultimate dream. You are closer to accomplishing what they said you couldn’t; they were wrong.

Along this journey, remember to celebrate the good days, big and small. Don’t beat yourself up on the bad days, but do strategize and make improvements. When needed, regroup, reassess, relax, and refocus. Practice self-love and pay attention to your personal health and wellness. Don’t trap yourself in your room or in the library, but do be social and friendly with all the new people you meet. Get involved, but don’t run yourself ragged. Apply yourself and give it your all; this is it!

This is to the med school student.

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