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Some Words for the Graduates

by emma

Some Words for the Graduates

One psychiatrist shares some words of wisdom for the class of 2022.Many years ago, I wrote in a personal journal a list I called “Things of Value I Would Say in 5 Minutes.” This was my way of getting past my inner censor to arrive at what I felt was truly important.I have always taught psychiatry trainees that being an effective psychiatrist demands constant work on oneself. Although this internal work may be helpful in other disciplines, in psychiatry, it is essential.During my last formal seminar with graduating trainees, I began to share my list in the hope that some of these points would resonate. Over the years, my list evolved into this poem.1.You’ve put in your time,Read all the books on your shelf.Now is the timeTo put trust in your self.2.You’ve learned to defineWhat’s abnormal, that’s true.Don’t let anyone defineWhat you can and can’t do.3.You’ve been through the trialsOf COVID-19And learned to adaptTo meetings on screens.4.You’ve seen face to faceThat the world’s full of pain.So, here are some tipsTo help you keep sane:5.Laugh often and muchBut avoid the sarcastic.And always keep learning,So your brain stays elastic.6.With time, money or loveThough hard to believe,It’s best to give moreThan you expect to receive.7.Sometimes you will lose;Other times you’re a winner.Now and then, simply let yourselfbe a Beginner.8.Though time forever feels short,Read great novels and stories.Be someone else for a while—Live with their trials and glories.9.Ask lots of questionsWherever you go.Never pretendTo know more than you know.10.You’ll convince no one elseTo hold your point of viewUnless you allowThat their view could be true.11.Finally, training does come to an end,As the long, paved road to the dirt gives yield—Imagine the seeds you could plantIn those vast unplowed fields.12.Some say to love everything—It’s all for the best.That may be a pathFor the saints and the blessed.Why not love what you canAnd learn from the rest?Dr Sugar is an Adjunct Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, a Consulting Psychiatrist at the California State University, Long Beach Trauma Recovery Center, and a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.

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