St. Luke’s College of Medicine

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13th Commencement Exercises at St. Luke's College of Medicine

The Class of 2011 has encountered a lot of struggles towards their graduation this year.  Having undergone the changes in curriculum in the College and losing 3 of their batch mates in a fire is just a few of them.  But these did not stop these goal oriented Doctors to pursue their life long dream.  Here is the valedictory speech of Kristine Joyce Linay, M.D. who shared to us her personal experience. 




TWO. ZERO. ONE. ONE

2011 is the year all of us have anticipated for since we entered medical school 5 years ago. If we could paint this numbers in our room or put it in all pages of our books (and make each page page 2011), we would do so. And now, we are standing in our moment in the history of our lives where all the sleepless nights, and should-have-been-studying-but-I-fell-asleep nights all brought us to this point. And let me just say it -- IT FEELS SOOOO DAMN GOOD!!!!:) This is our moment in history.

To our honorable guest speaker, Dr. Edgardo Cortez, Bishop Lumpias, Members of the Board of Trustees, our President and Dean, Dr. Brigido Carandang, Members of the Administration, Faculty, and Staff of SLCM, parents, friends...

Ladies and Gentlemen, To Class of 2011, good evening.

History, yes, history. Allow me to give you a quick flashback of my life, since I do not want to be remembered nor identified with a certain position. This I call my “developmental milestones”. At 1 week old, my mother left for abroad to work for me and her family. At 3, my parents got separated. At 4, I had my first public speaking stint when I recited the poem “Little Miss Muffet”. It was the first time I felt so proud I overcame fear and cowardliness. At 13, I graduated elementary as salutatorian of our batch but felt so unworthy of it since one of my classmates told me that I was dumb and stupid. At 14, I held a guitar and bravely told myself that I would learn how to play it on my own since we do not have the money to enroll myself in a guitar class. Then I learned that I could never have extravagance of things because our money was enough to sustain my education and daily physical needs. At 18, I entered UP-Diliman and learned that social structures oppress people and that it exists to maintain the status quo. I not only learn that revolution is the answer to break the status quo, but I wanted to be part of the revolution. At 19, I joined an underground revolutionary group which was the student arm of NPA. It was the darkest moment of my life. It was not the life that I wanted, but it was the life that I chose. For me, it was the only way, at that time, to effect change in my society. I knew I was born to make a difference; but I chose to do things my way. I never talked to my mother for 5 years, and put all the blame to her for a broken family that I had, the messed up person. At 19, I was hopeless, wounded, hurt, desperate, dreamless, almost suicidal. My entire being spoke of fear and hatred. Six months after my 19th birthday, I came to understand that the wrong choices that I made made me the mad person that I was; but those failures never make me a failure. It was the first time after many long years that I found hope for better things to happen in my life. I learned that when a Mac laptop is broken, you go to an Apple Technician to fix it; hence, in order for a broken and messed up woman like me get fixed, I need to get fixed by the One who created me. One night in July of 2004, I was desperate for change; even more desperate to be rescued. That night, I gave my life to the Jesus. He took my broken heart and messed up life and gave me a new one. I also found a new family in the lives of Pastors and cell leader and cell mates at my church Destiny. And it was never the same again. I started to rebuild old dreams and build new ones. At 20, my grandmother had her first angioplasty and learned then that our lives on earth are but temporary and I need to make the most out of my remaining days. At 21, I finished college, and pursued my dream of becoming a doctor. It was impossible for me to enter even a semester of medical education since even my NMAT fee was a big struggle for my mother back then. Three months after my 21st birthday, I gathered all my courage to apply for scholarship in this institution with a not-so-good-NMAT score and a Latin honor from college. I had a 1-hr interview with the associate dean and right at my face, our Dean signed the check of my scholarship with these words, “We’re risking it on you.” Then I learned that I was given one of the biggest opportunities in my life. That I need to protect the trust that people gave me.

Now, at 26, I am right in front of all of you. I took the risk. People took the risk on me. And I could very well say, that it was worth it. In five years of medical school, I not only learned the curriculum, but I could daresay that it was the most fruitful years of my life. I learned that people with integrity are the people who would stand the test of time and circumstances. I learned that loving your job passionately is the best antidote to burn-out. I learned that the moment you lost loving what you’re doing is the moment when you start to fail, not just other people, but yourself. I learned that the only person I could change and most accountable to is myself. That I could fool all people around me, but I could never fool myself and my God. Hence, I learn to be most honest and real even when no one else is looking or staring at the things that I do. I decided that quitting is never an option for me, and being excellent is not a natural ability, but a decision I need to make every single day. I decided everyday to wake up with a renewed sense of purpose and love the purpose why I am alive. And then, 7 days after my 25th birthday, I lost 3 groupmates and friends. For almost 3 days, my life shattered. It was a tragedy I could never imagine possible that would happen to our 3 batchmates. Cecille Anne Quintos, our consistent top1, Jessa Perez, my closest groupmate, and Jen Murillo, my groupmate with an Alibata tatoo on her lower back which read “Hinirang”, died in fire that literally burn their bodies. At their very last breath, they were found hugging each other; as if literally telling us as what Jesus in Mark 12:31 commanded, “Love one another as you love yourself.” It was a deep act of kindness and concern for each other. It would have been much different when they are with us now. Cecille would be the one delivering this valedictory address, and for me, it is my great honor to speak this address for her. As I would always joke her when she was asking for a favor, knowing how soft-spoken and introverted she was, “Why do I always have to speak for you?” But whatever her favor was, I could never resist her countenance. And Cecille, Jen and Jessa I know you are in a far better place now; and Cecille, I am gladly honored to speak for you again even in our graduation day. Congratulations to you, with all my heart.

Allow me to extend our deepest gratitude to the members of the faculty and our residents, who have become our inspiration not just with the things that you say to us, but the things that you do for us and for the patients. Thank you for setting a standard of excellence for us. Truly, medicine is not just about profoundness of knowledge but a heart that is willing to go the extra mile for the people.

We would want to give our big thumbs up for the staff of St. Luke’s College of Medicine from the janitors to guards to librarians, to all department secretaries, everybody in the 8th floor -- you are all excellent and loving. Thank you for giving us a college that feels closer to home.

And to my mother who cannot be with me today, and my Inay who had always been with me, Inay and Mama, for me, you would always, always be a wonder women. I do not have the ability to imagine how great your sacrifice is for me and for my sister. You are, by far, the two persons who had made the most amount of sacrifice for me; which I know I could never ever repay in any way. I honor you, Mom and Inay, Tatay, along with my aunties and uncles, and friends for loving me unconditionally. I honor each parent that is in this place. It is not the diploma, but having you in our lives and the big smiles in your faces that are our greatest reward today. You come here to celebrate us, but we are here to celebrate you as well.

And to my fellow graduates and friends, I salute you for not just starting well but for finishing strong. My Pastor said that only those who finish are the ones who are rewarded; that’s why we have graduation rites and not starting rites. Our days have been marked with failures and victories, but you surpass them all. We have learned the value of perseverance every single day we spend in the classroom and in the hospital. It is my great honor and pride to work with you. We have touched each others lives and have gained friends we know we would want to share our lifetime joys and struggles. Medical school has been a place of dichotomous realities for us: it both being our place of learning or torture at times, but has also been our place of refuge since we have found each other as friends. We have spent every single day and nights with each other. We know the habits of our groupmates, how he or she sleeps, what makes him/her mad, what makes him/her happy. Our batch had literally stood the tests of time and even accidents. I think, correct me if I’m wrong, that our batch had the most number of students hospitalized from diarrhea to car accident to burn and its complications. Some of us bear the mark in our bodies of the time our lives were spared. It speaks of each of us as special, with a unique call to pursue and a difference to make. We are now wearing this black and green toga we have been dreaming each night since the first day of the comprehensive exam started. And yes, indeed, the five years were all worth it.

Some of us have their future plans, some have their future waiting for them. Today would be a thing of the past in the future, but we are being made at this moment. This is a beginning for us; but for once, let us savor this moment as ours. And to the One Big Man who had brought us here with big smiles on our faces and pride in our work, indeed, to You be all the honor that this day and our future days will bring.

 

I am certainly sure of one thing that will remain as it ever was: on a Code Red, we will all see each other helping one patient live a few more minutes, or few more days; we would all be doing the best in our human capacity to make one person breath again. This is our call. This is our destiny. Congratulations to us! Here’s to one heck of a great life ahead! :)

Thank you so much, and God bless us all.