Take yourself as you know you can be: a message from residency educator

To the residents graduating in 2020 and joining us in the ranks as physicians, from a residency educator:

Victor Frankl was an Austrian psychiatrist and holocaust survivor. He was paraphrasing Goethe when he said: “If you take a man as he is, you make him worse. If you take him as he should be, you make him capable of becoming what he can be.”

When you started as interns, we, your educators, mentors, and teachers, took you not just as you were, but as we knew you could become.

We took you not as the inexperienced and unsure neophytes you were with the ink still drying on your diplomas. Instead, we took you as the competent, caring, confident, do-no-harm-but-take-no-shenanigans doctors that we knew you would become today.

Now as you start on your next stage of learning – because, really, the journey has just started, not ended – I encourage you to take yourself not just as you are, but as the person you know you can be.

Be insatiably inquisitive.
Be filled with wonder.
Be genuine, without facade.

Be proud of how hard you’ve worked.
Be unashamed of how smart you are.
Be honest with yourself about how much you still don’t know.

Be unapologetic of the things that you care about.
Be unwavering in your values.
Be relentless in doing the right thing.

Be slow to assume.
Be quick to listen.
Be brave enough to forgive.

Be continuously striving to do better.
Be eager to learn.
Be generous to teach.

Be audacious in your goals.
Be CEO of your own life.
Be ambitious for all the right reasons.

Be undeterred by the work to be done.
Be undaunted by difficulty.
Be unencumbered by your past.

Be fiercely loyal to those you work with.
Be easily amused with yourself.
Be hilarious.

Be a stolid believer in the value of hard work.
Be tenacious.
Be the last man standing.

Be an oxymoron.
Be cautious but quick.
Be tough but kind.

Be smart but humble.
Be serious but fun.
Be present in the moment but miles deep.

Be free to grieve the losses and the hardships.
Be free to forgive yourself.
Be free from the fear of failure.

Be free to question everything.
Be free to believe that we can do better.
Be free to wonder what could be.

Be excited by the good things you do that no one else will ever see.
Be attentive to the little voice that says, “Are you sure about that?”
Be clear on what your motivations are.

Take yourself not just as you are now, but as you know you can be.

“If you take a man as he is, you make him worse. If you take him as he should be, you make him capable of becoming what he can be.”

We are proud of the people you have become. We are proud to work alongside you as peers.

Christina Shenvi is an emergency physician and can be reached on Twitter @clshenvi

Image credit: Shutterstock.com

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