Sixty-five thousand pieces of mind;
Should you discover the amount of loans I was forced to accept, this is the number you will find.
For each dollar lent, a small piece of our peace of mind is invariably spent.
Over time these pieces eventually accumulate,
Leaving a part of our brain perpetually troubled, as the financial burden continues to grow in weight.
Though these concerns are buried deep and concealed by a smile on my face,
In the back of medical students’ minds, each of these numbers inevitably occupies a space.
Mind you this number only represents loans taken prior to med school,
Which unavoidably left me to wonder: am I but a fool?
Long days and short nights of pre-med can leave anyone hanging by a string,
With the competition increasingly great, and the possibility of acceptance never a sure thing.
The path to a career in medicine can leave many with internal strife,
As there are few goals that require this much time and sacrifice in life.
The weight of my decision to embark on this journey is difficult to measure with a scale,
And one must also not forget the sixty-five thousand consequences that will follow me if should I fail.
Thoughts of inadequacy and doubt may arise and creep up fast,
One’s mind clouded by the magnitude of future challenges and uncertainties, infinitely vast.
It is far easier said than done to simply focus and be strong,
When thoughts invade your brain questioning, “Do I truly belong?”
In times like these, the doubts in my mind may manifest as a lump in my throat,
Though these thoughts do not persist; soon replaced by the image of a patient looking to me in my white coat.
A physician who possesses the knowledge to help others and the experience to know just what to say;
This image of a future self in my head has helped me over countless hurdles along the way.
Endless hours in the library and untold nights short on sleep;
These obstacles will not stop me, as I made a promise to myself – and it is one that I will keep.
I will be a doctor because it is the one thing I have always wanted to be,
And no amount of loans or challenges will prevent the realization of this goal that defines me.
An intrinsic drive to learn and my very best effort can always be assured,
For as a child I stood by helplessly, unable to offer solutions to the suffering my father endured.
All the result of one fateful day as my dad drove casually along the highway,
When a Mack Truck lost control, spinning my dad’s car into the guardrail and fracturing his vertebrae.
Accidents like these can forever change a person’s life, transpiring within seconds on a clock;
My dad suffered severe damage to his spine, leaving doctors unsure he’d ever regain the ability to walk.
It took surgeons several procedures involving fusion and the placement of rods and screws;
A reminder of the fragility of life, and how much we have to lose.
Following several grueling months of rehabilitation and frustration,
My father miraculously beat the odds, forever serving as an inspiration.
Despite suffering from lingering effects, in the form of debilitating aches and pains,
My dad not only regained the ability to walk, even returning to work, where to this day he remains.
This experience and many others have molded me along the way,
Motivating me to pursue life’s greatest profession, which is where I sit today.
Each of us in medical school has a lifetime of stories that shaped this path for us all,
Which altogether led to the single greatest moment – our first acceptance phone call.
A mix of euphoria and relief left me speechless, as I stood overwhelmed with emotion, unsure how to feel,
Shocked by the words I had just been told, everything about this moment seemingly too good to be real.
Fast-forward fifteen months and I am now starting my second year,
Each day pushing myself further, inching closer to my dream that is finally near.
The initial bliss and exuberance we experienced, however, does not forever last,
As medical school brings new challenges, even greater than those of days’ past.
It is helpful to reflect back on your experiences and the journey that you took,
Though keeping in mind the big picture can prove difficult after weeks with your head buried in a book.
The marathon continues and unavoidably at times the mind begins to roam,
Which inevitably brings along self-doubt, a phenomenon we call “imposter syndrome.”
Similar thoughts from pre-med return with a vengeance,
Now accompanied by an even greater weight of loans, to a number I cannot bear put in this sentence.
Though at this point I have grown accustomed to the pressure and usually lack this sense of fear;
I must remind myself that I have earned my place, and I deserve to be here.
As a medical student it can be easy to get caught up in studying and lose sight of the ultimate objective,
Which is why thinking of what my dad went through helps put everything in perspective.
So, on days when I am barely treading water and struggling to remain afloat,
I remember the feeling that wondrous day when I was accepted, or when I first put on that white coat.
As summer turns to fall and brings with it a novel school year and new season,
I think back to these days, because I remember the excitement I had was there for a reason.
This education we pay so much for requires long days and many a short night,
But it is worth every dollar and every second when we remember to think with far sight.
I have learned to get back up each time that I fall,
And despite sixty-five thousand reasons to doubt my decision, there was always one that trumped them all.
For when I stop to think about the lives I may someday uplift,
I am reminded that physicians are blessed with an incredible gift.
From identifying a cure to delivering a child for a wife,
Physicians have the power to make a genuine impact on human life.
I hope you will consider me for the White Coat Investor Scholarship based on this poem that I wrote,
Which reminds me there is no investment greater than the one I made for my very own white coat.
This scholarship would mean the world to me, helping to leave these 65,000 pieces behind,
Allowing me to move forward in life, with complete and total peace of mind.