March 22, 2011 I received an unforgettable phone call. To this day, I still can’t believe it happened. It was pivotal.
A couple of months before that phone call, as I was wrapping up my Senior year and looking towards an uncertain future, I wrote that sometimes one works so hard for a goal that they lose themselves in the journey. When it is finally reached, there is nothing left to do but pause and reflect if it was all worth it. It is the moment when one hopes to God they made the right choices, because there is no way of getting back lost years, memories, thoughts, dreams, hopes. Time always moves. At that moment I was trying to decide which side I fell on the flip, if all my hard work meant something to someone reading it on a piece of paper that’s supposed to summarize four years of my life.
Fast forward to August 3, 2015. It’s an odd feeling, to recognize you are experiencing the day you have dreamed of, to finally reach a goal years in the making. It didn’t hit me. All the anticipation, the waiting, the daydreaming, the uncertainty, the magical alignment of events, made it all feel surreal. But one thing was for sure, everything was absolutely worth it. Not because I had reached a goal, but because I learned to find myself through the journey.
Doctors are men who prescribe medicines of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less, in humans of whom they know nothing. Voltaire.
As I walked to my first ever class as a medical student, bright and early for an 8am I haven’t had in years, my eye caught this statue. It struck me. I looked at the inscription to read that it was dedicated to a physician. Undoubtedly, a great one.
I learned very early in college, through arrogance and humility, that greatness is not measured by what you think you can do or thoughts of what can be done if given different circumstances. That type of greatness only lies in your mind and lingers on your lips, in whispers of what ifs and well, I could have. Greatness is measured by how much you grow and what you do with what you are given, in physical actions, in the lips of others and how it impacts them. Greatness is measured in the measures you take to achieve, not in the measures taken to fantasize achievement. Greatness is not achieved by waiting for that perfectly planned daydream to become a reality, it is achieved by acting on imperfect situations perfectly.
This is a journey, and like all journeys, it is meant to be challenging, to be rewarding, to be enjoyed and cherished, to be never taken for granted. It is meant to give moments that I’ll fall and fail, so that I may be able to rise and succeed, to help me grow and learn, to fulfill personal dreams and aspirations and come up with new goals and higher achievements. It is meant for me to find my own definition of greatness and to live up to it. This is something that younger me didn’t know at the time. There is never a finish line, only checkpoints. I am forever humbled.
As I walked to my first ever class as a medical student, bright and early for an 8am I haven’t had in years, my eye caught this statue, and it struck me. I realized that being able to see this on my way to and from classes everyday will always remind me that this journey is worth it, that I can carry more than I think I can. When the night gets long, when the books get high, when the mind gets exhausted, when even faith in myself, in my ability, may be low, I can carry more than I think I can. We can always carry more than we think we can.
Go be great. I am. I can. I will.