Some Graduation Gratitude

by Justin Perez, MD

As I walked into Carnegie Hall wearing my cap and gown on graduation day, my head was swimming with mixed emotions. I wondered how the last four years have gone by so fast. I felt thankful for having made it to this point in my career with the support of my loving family. And while I couldn’t wait to be joining the ranks of fresh interns with their newly minted MDs, truth is, I also felt pretty nervous about taking this next big step in my life — and I’m willing to bet that almost every so-to-be intern out there had similar sentiments.

“Will I measure up?” and “to the bottom of the totem pole I go!” are just some of the preoccupations I’ve heard others in my class endorse before starting their residencies. And though all of us may have certain insecurities about being the “new kids on the block,” I feel fortunate to be starting my career in a familiar environment where I feel well supported (hence the importance of doing away rotations **cough cough**). The flurry of emails, texts, and phone calls welcoming me to the UTSW family since Match Day has been humbling. Whether it’s an offer to help me find an apartment or move a couch, the hospitality of my future colleagues has been endless. So I quickly realized that being a ‘newb’ in your residency program isn’t something to scoff at or fear; it should be embraced. And in the right community, you will be embraced.

…while I couldn’t wait to be joining the ranks of fresh interns with their newly minted MDs, truth is, I also felt pretty nervous about taking this next big step in my life

So consider this blog one of the many thank you’s I owe not only to those who’ve made me feel so welcome, but also those who’ve nurtured my path to this point. Too, I encourage you, other members of my class: don’t forget those who’ve helped you get here. Whether it’s a handwritten postcard from your 4th year travels, a handshake, or a hug (my preferred Puerto Rican means of gratitude), be sure to give a shoutout to those who’ve helped you find your way.

Cheers, to the Class of 2014! I wish you all the best of luck over the coming weeks as we make our transitions into our new homes, new neighborhoods, and new roles as the next generation of plastic surgeons. One day day when we’re attendings we’ll look back on these good ol’ days of intern-hood, so buckle up and enjoy the ride.

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