TOLEDO, Ohio — One hundred and seventy-six first-year medical students gathered in the Stranahan Theater's Great Hall today for the "white coat ceremony;" the first step in their long but purposeful journey toward being a doctor.
"We've worked so hard; taking the MCAT, doing all the extracurriculars and maintaining that high standard of GPA. So to finally see it all come together has been amazing," said Hunter Eby, one of the new first-year students.
For Eby, being a doctor is a long time coming. It's a dream he's had since he was 11 years old and was diagnosed with epilepsy.
"I was curious about my own condition, and seeing my physician help me work through that I knew I wanted a job where I didn't serve myself but served others," Eby explained.
Now, Eby and his fellow classmates are living that dream by officially entering a world where taking care of others is the entire job description. He says putting on the white coat for the first time is a symbol of that commitment.
"It's an oath that we're going to serve the community, be life-long learners, and that we're going to do our best to be there for our patients," Eby said.
Despite starting their medical school educations in the midst of a pandemic, Eby explains it makes him want to do this more than ever.
"During the pandemic, I was fortunate enough as a master's student to be there providing care for clinical trials and providing medications, and I knew from then on I wanted to be a physician. I wanted to know more, I wanted to do more."
While it will be a few years before Eby and his classmates can help strengthen the healthcare world, they're entering the program motivated to not only see their communities improve, but also to grow together.
"We have a great group here and we're already making inroads- making friends. And we're gonna need that support system because learning medicine, it's going to be tough."