My I woke up at about 5am just to slowly get ready with a shower, straightening my hair, makeup and truly not sure what to expect. I was able to meet up with my friend Robyn in the lobby of the hotel which she was staying at too! It was so wonderful to see her and walk over together to the Theater at Madison Square Gardens across the street! We went with gown, tams and hoods in hand ready to see what was in store. We arrived about 7am to what we thought would be an organized get together to see old friends from Dominica and mingle - weeeelllll, there was mingling but organized? We were packed in there like a can of sardines, haha! No places to sit until we walked in at 9:30am outside the doors of the theater, which was great for us ladies in high heels - ouch. We had a continental breakfast, though I wasn't too hungry... I was just anxious to get in there! Then the fun part of the day came... getting in alphabetical order - alllll 650 of us! I was kinda bummed because I wanted to be by a couple friends but turned out just fine. Then 9:30am came and Pomp and Circumstance began to play. We were broken up into two lines A-L, M-Z and I saw the first group walk in first. Finally when it was my turn to enter into the theater, I had my first thought. I rarely remember "what was the first thing on your mind", but it was God. I, as well as all who read this blog, know how difficult times would be for me throughout all of this. The times I thought I would fail; the times I didn't fail but wanted to quit; the times I didn't quit but found myself sometimes crawling my way towards the next goal or milestone only to come out, on this day, a graduate - a doctor. I remember giving my thanks to God, just knowing He made this possible by giving me the strength to push myself, dare I say straight to the edge haha... But then I walked in, of course looking for family in a huge crowd.
When we were seated, I was in the front row on the right side of the theater. Everyone was waving looking for family way up in the seats. I did the only thing I could! My mom and I have always outlined a heart to just say I love you. This started back in high school when I was at track meets waiting to start my races. I sometimes would be scanning the stands over and over because I never felt right starting a race without her. To get my attention we would do the heart and worked like a gem during this fine day! After the last of us walked in, a standing ovation for all the graduates. Cue in the tears! There was nothing I could do about it - and I didn't want to, so I let my tears roll. I think those next to me thought I was nuts. Oh well! Next were the welcomes and commencement speeches which were fantastic! Here is a link to the address: http://www.rossu.edu/news/Dr-Dexanne-Clohan-Delivers-Commencement-Address-at-Ross-University-School-of-Medicine-Graduation-Ceremony.cfm They all had great messages that seemed so relevent to me, especually this commencement address - truly touched me. After this, they stated our requirements were fulfilled and declared us fully qualified to graduate as physicians. One row at a time we lined up to go backstage, where we were again lined up like a snake wrapping around the poles to stop at each checkpoint: name card in hand, hood folded neatly on our left arm, smile and GO! We went out in sets of three, luckily I was the last in a set so I could stay on the stage the longest. As one of my old professors took my hood, I remember him saying "How are you today?" All I could tell him was how nervous I was! I didn't even have to do anything haha but it was just so exciting! I passed by the other professors who hooded others, saying hello and handing my card over to my old faculty advisor for the student council, which I was the president of on the island. It was great to see her. I still don't know if she truly recognized me, now that I was graduating under a different name but she gave me a hug and a familiar smile so I am hoping that she really did. Then she passed my name card down to the speaker and stood in front of the podium where he annouced my name, "Dr. Jessica Lynn S." followed by the screams of my family and friends! It was such a quick moment but I will never forget it.
Once the empty diploma holder was in hand (haha, fyi just got it in the mail today!) I walked back stage where each person from MSG I saw congratulated me. I kept thinking, "They are congratulating all 650 of us?!" I was impressed because it seemed so genuine. Moving towards the back I had one more picture taken and then I moved back down to my seat to watch the few others get their diploma as well, I swear I screamed for at least half of us - I forgot how many people I reall knew! I saw each of them get hooded, coming from a new, scared person just landing on "the island" not knowing what to expect from such an institution coming into their own now looking so professional, proud and most importantly prepared and eager student turned physician, ready to go out and make a difference in the world. I literally was in awe, as though I was watching the best fireworks show on the fourth of July. Again, I'm sure people looked at me like I was nuts - but that was just fine by me. I was soaking it in baby! After we were all seated, we recited the Hippocratic Oath and were proclaimed graduates, alumus and now forever fellow physicians heading out into the world of medicine.
The day was followed by good times in NYC, some drinks great food and another night of sleep in the city that doesn't sleep. We woke up early and were on the road by 6:30am Saturday, ready to get home for a relaxing day and night with friends. Overall, a wonderful, fabulous, time of my life, one of the best days of my life! I am so grateful to my family and friends who have supported me and finally have found myself to be proud of my accomplishments, in and of itself was no easy task! I had always struggled with looking back and being proud of what I did, and I can say now that I truly do.
I am now a proud graduate of Ross University School of Medicine and a prepared and eager new physician truly ready to make a difference in our world. Congratulations to my friends and now collegues - WE DID IT!!!
Hippocratic Oath (modernized)
I solemnly swear by all that I hold dear that I will carry out to the best of my ability and judgement the duties and responsibilitiesimcumbent upon one who practices the profession of medicine.
I will abstain from any act, either by omission or commission, that could harm those I serve; and never will I betray the confidences of those who place their trust in me.
In order to best serve my patients, I commit myself to a lifetime of study so that I may stay fully current in the practice of my profession.
With full understanding of the special place of trust physicians hold in the hearts and minds of their patients, I dedicate myself to the service of all who seek my care.