Monday, August 21, 2006

Starting Med School

My wife started med school today. Last week was orientation week, concluded by her "White Coat Ceremony" on Saturday. Basically, the WCC is a kind of reverse graduation where many of the first-year students' families and loved ones come out to hear some pompuous speeches and then watch with joy as the students receive their first physician's coat.

The ceremony climaxes with the students putting the new coats on each other as a symbol of the collaborative spirit that will help carry them through their four years of schooling.

Several of the couples at the ceremony were ones in which the non-participating member was already a doctor. They said that it will be quite difficult to maintain the strength in relationship through the rigorous four years.

That's part of the reason why I was so thankful that they incorporated us into the orientation process. The students spent last week learning about the program during the day, but the upper-year students would then take them out on "outings". Spouses who RSVPed early were also allowed to come along. On Wednesday we went to a White Sox game and then on Thursday dinner cruised on Lake Michigan.

Having been multi-year veterans of the long-distance relationship, one of the most important elements to success was "shared experience". Anotherwards, it made a huge difference that, despite our distance, we had firsthand understanding of what each other's days and schedules were like and what we might be going through.

I kind of feel the same way about medical school--I wish I could directly share the experience with my loved one, but at least having met her classmates and instructors, I feel like I have a better idea of the environment she's going to be in and that makes me less anxious.

The other relevation that I found fascinating was the demographic of the student class. Unlike many medical schools, UIC-Med is extremely diverse, with whites making up only a minority fraction of the enrollment. However, in terms of economic class, the students were much more homogenous. Liz told me that only 14% of the students' parents had not attended university, and the large majority of them had at least one parent who was an MD.

Hearing that made me both proud and mad. Proud that the woman I love is amazing enough to overcome those odds, but also upset that our society is so unequitable in the opportunities it affords its citizens and the reality it points to:

Some of the best doctors in the world never get to even dream of practicing. Some of the best teachers never see the light of a classroom. Some of the best judges only get to see the wrong side of the bench.

And we all suffer for it.


Blogger Ironcheffie said...

We didn't have one. I'm sure NTU will just fuck it up anyway. Old people talking about ethics they don't follow = boring.

P.S. - Yes, my dad is a MD

4:12 AM  
Blogger sonrisacsc said...

Woot woot!!!! Truckloads of whistles and bells to Liz!!! :D:D:D

8:15 PM  
Blogger xian said...

IC: Can't you use your legacy to get us that Asian baseball blog? Or does Asian Doctor currency not work in white lawyer circles?

CC: Thanks. Sorry she is unresponsive, this week is pretty crazy, but if you get a minute, you should call her this weekend. She could use the love :)

12:40 AM  
Blogger Ironcheffie said...

I supposedly had to "call Jim" or something. It just died. My clinical rotations start next week, so I'll be busy as frak. If you want to revive this thing by e-mailing Jim, that would be awesome. If I'm not banned by that time.

3:57 AM  

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