EDITORIAL: Candidates Hope to Represent All Arizona Physicians By Dr. Gary Figge, PCMS Board of Directors We…
UA College of Medicine – Tucson MD Student
PCMS student member
My White Coat Ceremony was a day I have imagined for several years. While studying for the MCAT, writing dozens of applications, reflecting on my mission and interacting with patients — I hoped one day I would have the privilege to be a physician in training. In some ways, this moment showed me more about medicine than I imagined.
The responsibility of service that the white coat represents is something I acknowledged stepping into medicine. Medical professionals have the responsibility to serve their patients and communities with their skillset. But the emotional connection between faculty, students and family the White Coat Ceremony was surprising. I had underestimated the overwhelming feeling of putting on my white coat in front of everyone for the first time, knowing that each person in attendance would support our class.
Applause thundered around me, as the Class of 2026 made their way into Centennial Hall’s auditorium. As I looked ahead, I saw bright cameras and the Wildcat Blue and Red lights illuminating my path. As I walked through the aisle I tried to take in the reality — I was going to be a physician. It was a relieving, yet inspiring moment. Making eye contact with my family, I realized that this moment was for them as much as for me. I was filled with gratitude as I saw them smile. My family had supported me in my journey — from showing interest in medicine in the sixth grade, to exploring the profession in my undergraduate studies where I found my passion and prepared to enter training. They had supported me through my trials and tribulations, and they were applauding with tears in their eyes. I am thankful to them, knowing that they will continue to support me in this next stage of my journey.
With each of my classmates walking across the stage, Centennial Hall was filled with applause, smiles and happiness. All of us cheering one another on. When it was my turn to walk across the stage, all I could think about was how these next few steps would signify the responsibilities of a physician being given to me — that this was my entrance into the profession and that these next four years will provide me the tools and knowledge to serve my community. As Dr. Serena Scott put the coat on me for the first time, I knew I wasn’t alone in this journey. Dr. Scott, along with the other faculty at the University of Arizona College of Medicine — Tucson, had reminded us that while the climb is up hill at times, they will always be there to help. And as I looked out in the crowd, waving to my family, I knew through all their support that I will be able to serve and do justice to the white coat. I understand that the journey to serving my community is long and full of turns, but I hope to always remind myself of my “why” whenever I feel lost. My “why” is service. Caring for patients who otherwise would be at risk to go without care. Bridging the urban — rural health care disparity in Arizona, through service and policy changes. This is my “why.”
Medical school is daunting, but as I look forward, I will use this moment to recharge and remember my gratitude for my family and mentors. Without them I wouldn’t be able to pursue my passion. I am sure my journey will have obstacles, but I also know the depth of my drive to serve my community will make it worth it. I will cherish my time at the College of Medicine — Tucson and hope make lifelong memories, friends and connections — starting with the White Coat Ceremony of the Class of 2026.