Saturday, May 23, 2009
And they're off: UP Medicine Class of 2009
The tarpaulin backdrop provides a muted understatement of the celebration and promise it represents.
I was in the University Theater attending the 100th Commencement Exercise and Internship Closing Ceremonies of the University of the Philippines College of Medicine – Philippine General Hospital last weekend, almost four years to the day of my own graduation from medical school.
Dr. Esperanza Cabral, Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and alumna of the UP College of Medicine, gave the Commencement Address.
It was with a mixture of wistful delight that we launch into the greater world outside the UP Medicine Class of 2009. This batch of students will forever occupy a special niche in my heart because they are the first ones I have taught full time. As their names were called and their faces flashed in the white screen during the capping and hooding ceremonies, I can still recall many of the words from the papers they’ve written, the conversations we’ve had, the activities they’ve facilitated in the urban poor communities we immersed in as part of their third year medical school curriculum. Some of them, I can hardly I can hardly remember or recognize- the skinheads then now have hair, some slimmed down, some- well- did not =] But I must admit that it is an honor when they do recall who I am, from among the 660-strong faculty of the college =]
Posing with UP Medicine Class of 2009 Class President Paolo Medina, his mom, and UP Medicine Class of 1993 Class President Dr. Portia Marcelo, and myself, UP Medicine Class of 2005 Class President.
After the capping and hooding ceremony, faux diploma on hand, many faculty members swarmed at the foot of the steps leading from the stage. We were not so neatly lined up with hands outstretched, shaking the hands of the graduates and their parents, some getting hugs from us, especially the ones whom we worked very closely with.
Dr. Brian Vincent DG Salvador, cum laude and class valedictorian, with Dr. Nina Dizon, Dr. Delen Dela Paz, and Dr. Jimmy Galvez-Tan.
What almost wrung tears from my eyes was when the parents thanked us for taking care of their children. I must admit that there will always be bad apples in any heap, but for the most part it was an immense joy with their children, and any group of students for that matter. It is an honor to have worked with and for these young doctors, even if it was just for two weeks within their five-year stay in our medical school.
I am confident that I will be taken care of by their able minds, hearts, and hands should the time come I or a family member be taken ill. God speed, UP Medicine Class of 2009. Blaze trails in honor of your parents, your patients, your teachers, your alma mater, and the country who look forward to your selfless sharing of compassion and competence.