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What’s Your White Coat?

By Steven O. Evans, PhD

With my background in academia, August normally marks the start of a new academic year.  When I was a high school mathematics teacher, it was the sound of lockers, the crack of new Euclidean Geometry textbooks,the smell of new whiteboard markers, and new faces in the classroom.  

When I taught college mathematics, it was the sights of move in day at the residence halls, the sounds of the Austin pipe organ in Hughes Auditorium at Asbury University¹, and getting students the first day to throw away their ink pens to replace them with mechanical pencils and “click” erasers so they could start to think and write like mathematicians.

During my years in medical education at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine ² the Florida International University College of Medicine, it brought M1 students, most 24-year-old fresh college graduates; a chance to see patients in inpatient and ambulatory clerkship rotations for the M3 students; and the opportunity for residents to finally be called “Doctor.”  But my favorite was the White Coat Ceremony ³ for the M1 students, when they received the student doctor coats with their names embroidered and the college’s logo page emblazoned on the chest and sleeves. And with that, brought the flood of crisp, fresh white coats that entered the classrooms and clinics.  

Currently, students in K through secondary education to the professional schools transitioned to almost entirely virtual learning through the pandemic.  But now our educational enterprise seeks to return to its own “new normal.” 

This is your chance to create your whole new world, a new existence, your new paradigm of life, new friendships, and maybe even a new career.  Let us not waste our suffering of 2020.  But press on to the goal that is before us. May happiness be abounding4

Steven O. Evans, PhD

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