“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
I had read this quote somewhere online a few days before Max's White Coat Ceremony, which reminded me of the last few years in a few ways. As we sat in Kingsbury Hall on Friday morning, I thought about it again as I watched 120 other students receive their white coats; I felt so proud of allll of them because I've been able to see in part the amount of "dust and sweat and blood" (metaphorically, for now) the profession of Medicine requires.
(I also felt like going up to every wife/husband in attendance and giving them a hug, because I know even better what's been required of those unsung heroes (just kidding/not really).
Over the last few years I've read countless of articles weighing the pros and cons of Medical School. Most of them discuss the negative changes the Affordable Care Act has created for practicing physicians; the drastic increase in medical school tuition over the last ten-fifteen years; the amount of stress school/work/debt can bring those attending and their families; etc etc etc. And of course being me, I worried about it all and then some. But at the end of the day, Max always has and always will want to be a doctor. It's why he hasn't stopped trying and I guess why I haven't ever tried to persuade him otherwise either.
So as I sat next to my parents during that White Coat Ceremony, I told myself that when things get hard and as the debt continues to grow, I will do my best to remember this day. The day Max received his white coat on stage, and waved to us with a big smile on his face as he walked passed our row on his way out to take pictures. I will remember what he looked like with that white coat on and really do my best to remember the feeling: I am so happy he chose this.