When I first heard about the white coat ceremony, I didn’t give much thought about it. I vaguely remember a “fitting day” where they let us tried on the different sized white coats and asked us for our height (girls with heels). Finals were approaching and to be honest, finishing second year strong was running through my mind… After the tests were done, we had almost a week of vacation until we returned to our school for clinic training and the following day was our long awaited Clinic Induction Ceremony AKA white coat ceremony.
On the morning of the ceremony, we drove to the main campus of the University of Incarnate Word (UIW); The UIW Rosenberg School of Optometry, campus is located in the San Antonio Medical center around 10 miles away. I don’t visit here often, but that day, the campus was just gorgeous! The flowers were blooming, the colorful international flags were waving in the nice summer breeze, and the view from the UIW Skyroom’s 5th floor reflected the San Antonio skyline. San Antonio’s largest building is an observation tower called the Towers of America ; the 750-foot building looked so small from here!
When I entered the room, the UIW Eye clinic staff greeted the inductees and their guests with a pamphlet of the event and handed me my new spiffy white coat, they asked us to hold the coat in our left hands and be prepared to walk on stage for the “coating.” I stumbled in…and wow was I shocked! The entire auditorium was full! We have just less than 70 students in the second year class, but I noticed that some of my friends had more than 30 family members and friends attend the ceremony. It was huge!
Family and friends sat in the back while the inductees/students sat in front. I had the hardest time figuring out where my seat was because it wasn’t in alphabetical order; in fact it was based in height! It turns out I’m the 4th shortest student in class (since I wrote- no heels).
Dr. Fortenberry, UIWRSO Faculty and Master of Ceremony introduced the speakers and announced the interns being coated. Dr. Fortenberry did a great job keeping the program on schedule. Dr. Buzzelli, UIWRSO Dean and the opening speaker, commends the class of 2016 for their hard work. He reminded us that optometry opens doors because we have the opportunity to go anywhere we want, from the military, to private practice, to an hospital; however we must always remember that this also means that today is the day that we no longer serve ourselves, but the patients at hand. Dr. Fred Farias III, OD, FAAO, Texas Optometric Association President, sponsored the white coats for our class and reminded the audience and students about the importance of the white coat and how this will be the foundation for our lives.
Dr. Farias left the audience laughing and inspired with his speech (Darth Vader was somehow the punch line)! Lastly, Dr. Collins, UIWRSO Faculty gave the closing speech and left us some advice for clinic; be on time, wash your hands, and on a comical note: don’t forget to zip after going to the restroom. The ceremony went by so fast, the speeches, then the pictures… it is a blur to me now.
I could not have made it this far without my friends and family supporting me this whole way. Thank you all!