My medical school graduation was last week. As I sat on stage beside 80 or so of my classmates sweating profusely under my stifling gown, I looked out at the hundreds of friends and family out in the audience. It was such a surreal moment.
Thinking back to my undergraduate and graduate school ceremonies, I remember them feeling like any other day. I saw them as just another step in my journey to becoming a doctor. But, med school graduation felt so very different. It felt significant, like a transformative moment. This is probably because it was the culmination of over 10 years of sacrifice and dedication. However, in that moment, all of the blood, sweat, and tears just manifested into a tangible product--and that adversity made this moment even sweeter.
My favorite radio talk show host, Colin Cowherd, has a great saying: “Grind daily, celebrate rarely.” It really encompasses my approach to everything because I’m often thinking 3-4 steps ahead and constantly working towards something. But up on that stage, my thoughts were still and calmness rushed over me. I reflected on all the crap I’d been through in my 10 years of post-high school education--all the social events I missed, all the vacations I didn’t take, all the long and sleepless nights of studying, and all the debt I’d acquired (the stuff of nightmares). I thought about all the times I considered giving up, the times when I felt it was all just a bit too much. How in the world did I overcome doubt and setback after setback? The answer is simple: I was determined to dominate.
As you make your way to the MD, keep this in mind: Whatever you do, don’t ever give up because you CAN do it and you WILL do it...and when you do finally make it, you will have the biggest sense of accomplishment and personal pride for pursuing your passions and turning your dreams into a reality.
Dr. Andre Pinesett, a Stanford Medical School graduate, is best known by his moniker “The Pre-med Productivity Expert.” He is an award-winning educator, highly sought-after speaker, and noted authority on pre-med personal and professional development. He has helped high school, college and graduate students improve their academic performance, while reducing their work time, allowing them to maximize their potential and ultimately achieve their dreams.