Archive for tag: future

The End

Here we are. It's the end. So, the thoughts I'm leaving you all with, are what I deem, my "commencement speech." I wasn't asked to give the commencement speech (I don't even know if we have students give one at all), but if I had been -- this is what it might be like.

In the immortal words of Diane Court, from one of the seminal movies of MY generation (Say Anything):

"We're all about to enter 'The Real World.' That's what everybody says. But most of us have been in the real world for a long time. But I have something to tell everybody. I glimpsed our future, and all I can say is... 'Go Back'."

Well, Diane, I don't have the same advice.


Yes, we're about to go out into the "Real World," and some of us have been out there all along, and long before, but it's different now for us. Some people have their whole lives and careers ahead of them. They have families to create and fortunes to make -- names for themselves. Others have different goals entirely -- coming to this as a steppingstone, or a second career, or both. These are exciting, and scary times for all of us. Because after we walk across this stage, after the fanfare and the parties and the dinners and whatever else, we'll simply be -- Doctors.

It's a title -- sure. But it doesn't mean anything unless we MAKE it mean something. If I've learned anything at all over the course of my professional and academic lives (and there have been a few), it doesn't mean anything at all, if we don't do something with it.

We're called to be leaders and teachers. We're called to make a difference in the lives of our patients and communities. And if we so choose, we're called to be revolutionaries.

When people ask me (nowadays) what I want to be when I grow up, I often use the following quote (also from Say Anything -- in the voice of the illustrious Lloyd Dobbler):

"You mean like career? Uh, I don't know. I've, I've thought about this quite a bit, Sir, and I'd have to say considering what's waiting out there for me, I don't want to sell anything, buy anything or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or... process anything sold, bought or processed, or repair anything sold, bought or processed, you know, as a career I don't want to do that."

And I might add.... So, I'm becoming a Doctor.


For those of you contemplating a career as a physician, know that it is one of the hardest choices you could ever make. The school is grueling, the hours are long, and the thanks may not be plentiful. If you can choose ANYTHING else that you believe you'd be happy with, do it. If you want to be a lifelong student, challenged every single day, and called to be more than you ever thought you could possibly be, it's the perfect place for you. What are you waiting for?

As for me, the first part (Yes, I said first part) of my education is over. There may be more studies. There may be research projects. There may be additional degrees. But I'm far from being finished. I'm just getting started. And so are my classmates.

It's been a ridiculously long, hard road. We've been through a lot together. There were times we hated each other -- and times we couldn't hug each other hard enough. I have watched my classmates grow as people and as practitioners -- into things they never thought they could be. From the first day of dissection when people didn't know if they could handle it, to the last days of clinic when some of us knew we'd never see each other again after graduation -- we are family.

For those just getting started, don't give up. No matter what -- whenever you're struggling or Life hands you a speed bump... DO. NOT. GIVE. UP. Persevere! Keep studying. Keep moving. Keep trying. Keep learning. I have faith in You... just like You've had faith in me.

Look out world. Here I come.

Taking a Good Look

Have you ever stared at something so long that it looks completely different? I do this with words. I think that's a new level of zoning out. Sometimes when I do this, it completely changes my perspective. Not all that often, mind you, but it does. Lately, I've been getting hit with a lot, that's been altering my perspective.


I've been spending a lot of time in downtown St. Petersburg. It's not as if I haven't lived here for 8+ years, and it's not as if I haven't been downtown nearly a million times. Because of friends living downtown, I'm seeing parts of it that I've never seen before. I'm always amazed at what exists, right under my nose -- but I just haven't taken the time to see it. So now, it's starting to look completely different.

Like many downtowns across the country, ours has had its moments. There were department stores downtown, factories, big business. I've always wanted to research some of the buildings downtown, especially the Studebaker Building, which I used to drive by nearly every day when I lived on the other side of town. And then there's the nation's first open-air post office, which, honestly -- these pictures don't do justice. The inside of the post office reminds me of old time banks and Westerns -- loaded with beautifully stained wood and remembrances of teller windows. Some of these buildings have been standing for a long, long time -- constructed not long after the turn of the century, which for this area is nearly ancient.

Also, like many downtowns, St. Pete seems to constantly undergo some form of revival. New places move in; old ones move out. Things get rebuilt or renovated, torn down, and new life comes in to change the look and feel of it all. The more time I spend down there, the more I like it. There are old bars and restaurants, beautiful scenery, and the old stately architecture. I've posted pictures of the banyan trees, the Dali and Mahaffey Theater, the Pier, and a few of the marina as well. I'm running out of time to explore here -- at least while I'm still at school. I've set a loose goal for myself, of visiting every building between Beach Drive and 34th street on Central Avenue. I wonder how close to that I can get with this crazy schedule.


We're in Week 10, which means midterms are over here at National, and I'm looking at finals for Western States. I can't believe how quickly things have passed. I keep going back and forth about jobs and locations and being excited about being out in practice and clinic and a million other things. I was forwarded a list of job openings all over the country, towards the end of last week. I couldn't help but look -- thinking that it was all very premature, and yet I'm being told that I SHOULD be looking right now. I'm still thinking it might be a little presumptuous.

And of course, this week I have to turn in a sample business plan. It's hard to anticipate things like that when you have no idea where you'll be. Of course, I could go anywhere. The question becomes where, and when, and how, and why. We've all talked about setting up our own practices -- well, most of us have. Some, I think, are planning on joining practices and others might just associate for a short period of time. When I thought I had a clear plan before, now I'm not so sure. Life sometimes gets in the way of plans. John Lennon said something like, "Life is what happens when you're busy making plans." For right now, I'm only making immediate plans, with the rest in the background.


Maybe I just need a change in perspective.

Oh, the Places You'll Go - Thinking About Moving

Greetings and Salutations, blog readers!

It's been an interesting week. I can honestly say I don't much know what to do with myself since there aren't any boards to study for, and it's early in the trimester so there aren't exams (not that there aren't things to study--mind you). We have had quizzes and assignments already. The professors certainly aren't wasting any time! Last week was the first full week of school for me--since we were taking boards the previous week. It was a LONG week.

Photo of Dali museum
DalĂ­ Museum

The 6th Tri schedule is pretty long and involved. I feel like we're moving classrooms and changing topics every few minutes. Everything from Pediatrics to Rehab is on the docket. But, we have a couple of projects in different classes that are tied together. Both of which are associated with where we'll be in just a couple of years.

In marketing, we're challenged with setting up a business plan--a real one. That means I have to research where I think I might set up my practice, what type of practice I want to have, the cost of setting up and maintaining a practice, and a million other things. I'll be honest. I'm a little overwhelmed. On one hand it seems a little bit premature, and at the same time, now is the time to do all of this research--before I'm in the clinic and focused on working.

 Photo of St. Pete at dusk
St. Pete at Dusk

So, the quest is on. I already know what kind of practice I'll have (Go Functional Med!), but I have no idea where. So I'm looking into scope of practice in a variety of locations. From there I'll be searching demographics--to see if the area can support a practice of this type, and also--if I'd even want to live there. One more slight complication--are any of these locations anywhere near where Grey wants to go to college?

So, things can never be simple--can they? I accept this challenge. It's exciting--to be thinking about and essentially planning that kind of future--the one where I'm done with school. Honestly, I can't remember a time when I wasn't in school (well I can, but it's been a WHILE). All this work that I've been doing--that all of us have been doing--is starting to come to fruition. We're building our futures. That's pretty exciting!

Seize the Day

It occurred to me, yesterday morning that you never know what can happen. One moment in time can change everything. We spend so much of our time working towards something--our education, a better income, job, house, car, etc., etc. We often forget to savor the moment.

I keep thinking back on my experience in the mountains, about one friend in particular, who viewed every single thing with absolute Joy. It was like seeing something for the first time or finally understanding something that we'd been struggling with. You know that feeling, right? It's the moment when something, some idea, suddenly sinks in and it's such a beautiful thing. I marvel at that Joy. Sometimes I see it in my classmates. Mostly I see it in children when they experience something for the first time.

In my former life, I had the amazing experience of volunteering for a hippotherapy organization. If you're not familiar with hippotherapy--it's using horses as physical therapy for posture, body control, and many other things. I worked with all ages and disorders, but mostly with children with autism and cerebral palsy. Joy. Every moment of every day spent volunteering there was Joy. The moment they made an accomplishment, were able to sustain a movement, sit up straight--each time, pure Joy.

We spend so much time working towards our goals that we forget to experience Joy. It's not as simple as taking time for ourselves. That's important, too. What I mean is--smell the roses, chase the rainbows, seize the day.

A good friend of mine lost someone that she loved dearly this past week. I've stood by her as she's struggled to get a handle on her life, her relationship with that oldest and dearest friend, and figure out where to go from here. Every word I've heard uttered about that friend was that she enjoyed the experience of Life and relished it. But every time we lose someone that we love, there's always some form of sadness or regret--regret that we didn't get to spend more time with them, or that we said or did the wrong thing, or that they had so much more to experience in their own lives.

(Image from

In 1989, a movie came out called "Dead Poet's Society." This movie, which I highly recommend, talks about sadness, loss, and regret--what happens when we miss our lives because we're focused on the wrong things. The phrase, Carpe Diem, gained its popularity from this film. It means, if you're not familiar, Seize the Day.

My challenge to all of you reading is this: Don't put off until tomorrow what you could do today. Don't hesitate to tell someone that you love them. Don't hesitate to show your love. Don't put off learning something that you want to learn. And whatever you do, don't let another day go by with one ounce of regret. Make it count.

Looking Backward in Order to Go Forward

To whoever decided that we should have extra days to collect ourselves while many faculty attended National's Homecoming celebration in Lombard, I offer my undying gratitude and appreciation. I apprehensively took the opportunity to reconnect with friends and family in North Carolina. 

I don't generally have a whole lot of free time--it's true. I spend the vast majority of my time in class and then studying for exams. Especially during midterms, there just isn't usually any spare time to speak of. Having these extra days off for Homecoming was a huge boon. With projects to complete, papers to write, notes to compile, and exams to prep for, I threw caution to the wind and decided to actually take the time off. I didn't do much to promote my studies--other than take care of my Self. 

As I sit here writing, I'm happily exhausted and looking forward to a long night's sleep and a long day of driving. My heart is full of reminders of my past--of my friends and experiences both before coming to National and since. My adventures over the last several days have taken me through decisions to pursue medicine and healing, memories of experience and support from those that encourage(d) me to be where I am today, and hopes--from others and myself. 


I visited NC State, where I'd spent many hours toiling over books, exams, applications, and things that I really wasn't sure would ever be important to my education or my life. I sat with a new friend and discussed wonderful things--lessons, hopes, dreams and ambitions. I've always been enamored by the parabolic reflectors in front of the library--where one can sit and whisper from many feet away and the other can hear every single syllable said in the subtlest of sounds, as if it was whispered directly into their ear. This has to be a metaphor for my decision to pursue medicine as my life's calling--how just one thought has been amplified and now comes back to me much, much clearer from far away into the future. I've been so encouraged, by family, by classmates, by friends. The end of my formal studies are coming closer to an end and soon I'll be choosing not only what to practice, but where. 

Many of my classmates have already chosen where they want to be after graduation. Some will stay in Florida; some will go back to their hometowns. I am thinking about many locations--from the most progressive of environments and widest scope of practice, to where I find my Heart. This will be a tough decision, undoubtedly. 

My weekend has had some interesting twists and turns. Unexpected information and happenings have reminded me how important support from our friends and loved ones truly is, and how we carry that with us throughout our lives. 

I ask that as everyone continues to prepare and work on midterms, that we all remember why we're here. Remember how you got here and who helped you, encouraged you, and lifted you up throughout the process. Think about where you are going from here and keep it present in your mind. The end of school will be here before we know it.