By Krista Kiyosaki, President of the MD Class of 2013
On behalf of the JABSOM class of 2013, I want to welcome our faculty, administrators, and guests to our special day. Also, thank you to our families and friends for your support and happy Mother’s Day to all the moms.
As we prepare to move on to the next step in our lives, I want to take a moment to reflect back to the beginning. I still remember that first day of orientation, when Dr. Antonelli made us all sit one seat apart. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one wondering if we were going to have a test on the first day of medical school. Thank goodness she quickly explained the separation was just for SWINE flu contact precautions. What she didn’t know was that, over the next 4 years, we would inevitably invade, infect and contaminate each other’s lives.
We began this journey as 55 bright eyed, naive individuals and we will emerge as a cadre of physicians and colleagues. As our patients transitioned from fictitious PBL cases to real people, we began to understand the gravity of our commitment to medicine. I still remember my very first night on trauma call, when 5 minutes into the shift, a full trauma was called. A pedestrian had been run over by a trolley. I eagerly jumped into the action and began doing chest compressions. While trying not to look at the patient’s face, I caught a glimpse of her left hand and her wedding ring. In that instant, I realized that she belonged to someone. Our patients belong to someone and they will be loved and missed by someone. The loss of loved ones is something that has affected all of us, and some more recently than others. But that is why we must continue to learn and grow, so that we can do the best for our patients.
We are the vibrant, diverse, and strong class of 2013. Over the years we often joked that the class of 2013 was cursed, but we are blessed. Although we have faced hardships and continue to fight our own personal battles, we keep on going. Our willingness to work hard and our refusal to give up is what defines this class, and that is why I know we will do great things. As we continue on our separate paths, we will forever be bound by our formative years together in Hawaii. We have grown together and formed a codependent bond that I’m not quite ready to leave yet. JABSOM has changed us, and we have forever changed each other.
Now that we are at the end, it seems like it all went by too fast. However, it felt like such a distant goal way back in our first year. I remember visiting my grandma every day during MD1. She was fighting her final battle with cancer, but each day she would ask me, “Eh, you pau? You a doctor yet?” I would laugh, and tell her, “No, not yet. I just started.” Today, she and all the loved ones we have lost are with us. Today we can finally say, “Yes, I’m pau. We’re all pau now.”
Thank you and congratulations to the class of 2013.
Dr. Krista Kiyosaki is a native of Hilo, Hawai`i. She is pictured with Dean Jerris Hedges, MD and her father, Ken Kiyosaki.