Dr Amman Hassan
Class of 2010
Respected Chief Guest, Justice Sarmad Osmany
Respected Dean, Dr Farhat Abbas
Faculty, families, my colleagues
As Salaam Walaikum.
And welcome to the graduation of the class of 2010!
I stand before you wistfully with a surge of emotions - ecstatic for finally having Dr attached to my name - humbled for having Dr with my name. Grateful to the Creator for making me capable to be called a Dr Indebted to my teachers for abling me to become a doctor. Proud for my parents and family without whose unrelenting support Dr Amman would not have been possible. Sorrowful for having to leave my very large and familiar nest, and the corridors where doctors perform miracles - the Aga Khan University.
Teary eyed at the thought of having to part with what had become my extended family, all my colleagues and fellow doctors. Yes, it is indeed an honour to be known as a Dr now. But mostly, I stand here with a gulp in my throat - one which comes when you are leaving home. Please join me as I re-trace these memorable 5 years to Dr hood.
The journey started in 2003 - with a dream - a dream to be part of the noblest profession this world has known. It was the final year of our O' levels when most of realised this was our dream. In 2005, the dream was enroute to becoming a reality - we got accepted here!!! The feelings were mixed initially - eager, anxious, relieved, hopeful but mostly naïve. The first two years we were thrown into a barrage of lectures, labs, problem based learning. Third year was our transition to clinical rotations and the turn to "growing up" in the world of medicine. That's where we realised one important fundamental concept: medical students will always be at the bottom of the food chain! There were moments when we got lucky and knew the answer to a question, but mostly we were clueless! Then came 4th year: In psychiatry, we diagnosed patients, ourselves and most of our consultants. Obstetrics and gynaecology where we spent long hours in the labour room and those long hours of joy are why most of us decided we were never going to have children!
And then final year, probably one of the best year of my life, where we finally knew the answers to questions and were active members of the team. And of course there were always third year students around who made us look good!
This journey has had its ups and downs, some defining moments: The excitement of wearing the blue scrubs for the first time; the thrill of making your first incision; the feeling of helplessness when you see a patient pass away: the joy of delivering a baby! We have all made mistakes, most of us more than once. We've looked at our own notes and wondered: who wrote this? The journey has also been about conquering fears: whether it was learning anatomy, writing research protocols, understanding bioethics, being away from home, working under pressure with little sleep and for some of us the fear of getting up at 6 am for morning rounds!
So, you probably think you are here to celebrate us, but we are actually here to celebrate YOU, the families and faculty that brought us to graduation. We've worked with accomplished professors both in our basic and clinical years. Some who inspired us, some who intimidated us and some who reminded us what being a doctor is all about. Clinicians and residents who made us realise that there is no such thing as a stupid question. The medical training that we received on morning rounds, in clinics and in the ORs. Our fellows, residents and interns who took the time to teach us in the late hours of the night when we were on call. For all of that: Thank you is but a very small word! I know that we are better physicians because of it. A special thank you to our mentors, who were our teachers, our advocates and our role models. And to our families, thank you for all the encouragement. For understanding our schedules and why we slept at all odd hours of the day. And of course for all the prayers.
How things have changed in these 5 years. I remember orientation week. We looked at perceived similarities: where we came from, the language we spoke, which schools we went to. Comparing it to today, I am in awe at how we moved from those shallow bonds to deeper ones. Even these red walls, 5 years ago we would frequently get lost on campus, these red walls were intimidating; now they're home. 5 years ago the diversity of our class made us feel apprehensive, now we celebrate the differences. Together we have travelled the world, from the flood stricken parts of Pakistan to some of the richest countries abroad. We've laughed, we've cried, we've fought, we've helped each other, but we did it together.
Today is the day we have been waiting for, but now that it has arrived, are we really ready for what comes next? Are we ready to say goodbye? We have become so used to each other that the thought of being apart is inconceivable. Will we meet people in the future who will make us feel as safe and secure as we do now? And more importantly, do we possess the knowledge and skills to be good physicians? Do we have what it takes? Are we strong enough to handle the responsibilities that come with this title? Standing here, I am looking at some of the best doctors this nation has to offer and I know that we will rise to any challenge that comes our way, Inshallah!
Lastly, I'd like the graduates to look around the room; honour the family, spouses and friends who supported us, the colleagues and faculty who laboured, walked and laughed with us, and look to the future with optimism.
To the class of 2010: Congratulations, we did it!