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May 22, 2017

A Message From the Other Side

I was told that the graduation of my alma mater College of Medicine will be this Saturday. Let me share my insights to the graduating medical students after 10 years of being a medical doctor myself, a neophyte compared to the giants of this vocation. The adventure does not stop in your graduation. This is only a step closer to the realization of a dream, a bigger dream. A dream within a dream. The diploma only marks a milestone in your life. It only certifies the end of a phase. The demand for sacrifices will still continue and the pressure and stress will still linger. Remember that the way to doctor-hood is the footprints of humility and sacrifice. Ego would have only distracted you from your journey towards becoming a doctor. You have to literally crawl on your knees to get your way to this reality: a graduate of Med School. And if you think you will now stand erect like an evolving primate to homo erectus, think again. Being a doctor, a physician, will continue to be difficult. It will be challenging. It will be frustrating. It will be disappointing. The road is sprinkled with heart aches along the way. The sacrifices will never be enough. There will always be trade-offs at every converging road you will encounter.

Underneath every cloud of gloom, there will be moments however that the sunshine will leak its way through the heavens. Treasure every beam of light, they come in the form of smiles and affirmations. Acknowledgements and compassion. They will temporarily wipe the tears you have cried alone. They will lift you for a brief moment from your weariness. Take advantage.

You can sacrifice your sleep, your time, your luxury, but never sacrifice your humanity, your soul. You can regain the lost time, the lost sleep and the unclaimed luxuries. But it will be almost impossible to reclaim your lost humanity. Guard it with your life. It is the very core of the vocation of doctor-hood.

It will be difficult just like at the beginning. Remember the trembling moments you had when you started out in medical school. They will never leave you even while you practice your profession from here on. It is the tremble in your feet that anchors you to earth, they keep you grounded. And once you are able to learn how to live with them, you would have earned Courage.

The hardships you have and will encounter prepare you how you will handle your victories. To become successful is the easy part. How to handle success is the more difficult part. And the trials you have been through. The sufferings you have to go through, they all teach you how to hold this fragile commodity called accomplishment.

Smile. Always wear that smile, especially in your heart. You cannot heal if you cannot smile. It is the mask that every physician wears. It separates you from all other professions. For you are Hope's ambassador, Comfort's representative and Hospice's spokesperson. Your language must always be the language of love. And you can only articulate love through joy. Joy even with a weary heart. Joy even with a broken soul. You are broken because in your healing others, you take a piece of yourself to replace the brokenness of the person you are healing.

Do not be afraid of failure. Failure is the shadow of every triumph. Rise with anticipation if you see the glimpse of this dark shade. Success is just around the corner.

As you step outside into the world of healing and curing, let your steps be guided by Faith. The stars in the dark sky will usher in the glorious morning that you deserve. What you are seeing now is just the breaking of dawn, it is not yet morning. But it is already beautiful.

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