Saturday, February 09, 2008


That's the number of times I have graduated in my lifetime.

Considering that I'm batting at twice the average rate, it's logical to assume I would view this occasion with a lot less sentimentality.

You would be wrong.

Graduations always evoke mixed feelings - a sense of accomplishment that you've completed another chapter, a sense of sadness that you will once more be leaving something behind that has become a big part of your life. There's a complicated cocktail of excitement and apprehension at the thought of an unknown future ahead. There are the inevitable goodbyes as you and the friends you've made reach another fork in the road.

Gratitude is one staple sentiment in every graduation. Occasions like these bring to mind the people who have helped you get to where you are today. It makes you realize that while you may have been the one to offer the proverbial "blood, sweat, and tears" that is the prerequisite to conquering any challenge, you still would not have made it this far without the support and understanding of the people you love.

In the Philippines, it is often said that becoming a doctor is a family project. A wanna-be-doctor goes to medical school at an age when he should already be helping pay the bills around the house. If he wants to train further (in the country), he will be going into a residency program that will pay him a sum that will barely cover his living expenses.

Life goes on for these doctors-in-training - and some will get married and have children at this point in their lives. Despite the growing financial demands of adult life, there really isn't much they can do to catch up.

So it's the families - the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, (non-medical) wives and husbands - who willingly and lovingly take up the slack. They make up not just for our financial shortcomings but also for the emotional void we leave behind while we are working our asses off in the hospital, spending more time with our patients and our colleagues than those we love the most.

So tomorrow, graduation number six (number seven for the medical fellows!), we're going to take the time to say thank you to the people who have helped us, believed in us, and pushed us this far. We do not say it often enough - but thankfully, their kind of love understands without words.

(The following video is the reason why I haven't been able to blog regularly. :))


Manggy said...

Congratulations Ma'am! Kasama ba kami sa thanks diyan? (Haha, fishing... When in fact baka dagdag-hirap lang kami...) It's sometimes hard to believe that behind all the hardship, despite all the little disappointments that our families express-- they are really extremely proud. Hindi lang basta-basta maging doktor. At least I hope they think so ;)

I've graduated 5 times myself (counting kinder). I cried when I graduated from elementary school even though I was pretty much bullied every single day. When I graduated from med school, when I was in the care of extremely loving friends, I couldn't wait for grad to be over :p I guess we tend to keep the friends we want to keep-- the ends of these chapters are arbitrary to relationships. But yeah, starting a new chapter and a new way of life is scary. I haven't yet come to terms with it.

morks said...

congratulations, then! i didn't know meron pa ulit after the med boards. grabe pala talaga ang sacrifices ng families ng mga doctors.


Leon said...

Congrats on the success! I'm on the road to my 4th graduation (college).

MegaMom said...

Well put Claire. And although I don't personally know many of the people in the video, I recognize all of them. They could've been my family too.
Congratulations on yet another graduation!

dr_clairebear said...

thanks so much for all the good wishes! :))

@manggy: you'd be surprised how much we actually learn from you students. :)) not just academically (your reports are a review for us, too) but also in terms of building our character. ;P

@ris: yes, it never ends. *sigh*

@leon: thanks! are you planning on a 5th?

@megamom: thank you! :)) i made one also for our consultants - i'm sure you'll recognize more of the people from that video!