Picture of Yara Abou-HamdeYara Abou-Hamde is a medical student in the Class of 2019 at Western University


Dear Mom and Dad,

When you arrived in Canada eleven years ago with four young children, you knew you had given up everything familiar to give us a chance at a more secure life. What you did not know then was that your only daughter would go on to pursue a career in medicine, adding stretches of foreign terrain.

Now, I have made it to clinical clerkship. It has been a dream. You know how much joy I get from learning on the job and being able to provide care to patients. It has been both exciting and relieving to know for certain that I have chosen the right career path for myself.

Despite this, there is no denying that clerkship has also been grueling — both physically and mentally. You have heard about the 5am patient rounds, the call shifts, and the post-call sleep that is never quite as restorative as nighttime sleep. You have watched me struggle to keep pace with new teams and new expectations every two weeks. And you have picked up the phone every time I have needed to talk about the stress of setting up an elective or the emotional strain of being unable to help a patient. Ultimately, you have made me feel that this is your journey as much as it is mine.

Over the last few months, I have learned that it takes community and continuous support to make a physician. For a medical trainee who is so wholly focused on the act of healing, contact with family and friends is their own form of therapy. You are as important to my professional development as the lectures and the hours of training. So, to you and to the families and friends who provide my colleagues and me with the sustenance we need to keep moving forward: thank you.