Monday, August 16, 2010

White Coat Ceremony

The three days that we've been back in Grenada have been so busy that in some ways it feels like we never left. Our flight got in around 9:00pm Friday night. As we tried to find a taxi to take us back to campus, a couple friends saw us and offered us a ride. Back at our room, we waited for about 10 minutes for Security to come unlock our door, then began to unpack our closet and suitcases. (You can see a picture of our closet on the July 11 post.) Surprisingly, it took a lot less time to unpack everything than I thought it would. And apart from a container of nuts spilling in my suitcase, everything made it to Grenada just fine.

The next morning, Ryan registered for his classes and picked up his books for the semester.

Then we waited in line for about 45 minutes so he could pick up his white coat and get a ticket for me to attend the ceremony.

After waiting for a brief rain shower to pass, we headed to the grocery store. IGA was surprisingly well-stocked, and we came home with everything on our list. Of course, once we got home, I thought of about 10 more things that I wished had been on our list. And Ryan had to make a quick run to the convenience store on campus for a couple ice cream bars.

Later that evening, Ryan headed down to the soccer fields for the First Term Barbecue. I didn't go with him because the food was only for first term medical students - not spouses or parents or friends. So I enjoyed my first of many quiet evenings alone.

On Sunday morning, Ryan had orientation meetings starting at 10:00 and lasting most of the afternoon. When he came back home, we listened to one of my dad's sermons from a few weeks ago and then ate dinner. I enjoyed cooking my first meal back in Grenada. We had marinated chicken breasts, mixed vegetables, and garlic herb biscuits. I would have made brown rice as well, but I had a little less left in the box than I remembered. We ended the evening again by watching a couple pre-season football games.

This morning was Ryan's first official day of classes, although they were mostly just orientation meetings again. We had a cup of hazelnut coffee and scrambled eggs for breakfast before he left. While he was gone, I washed and ironed his white coat and my dress for the ceremony this evening. Then around 4:00 we headed down to Charter Hall for the White Coat Ceremony. I saved a seat for a friend, and Ryan sat in the student section with his friends.

The White Coat Ceremony is kind of like graduation, except it's at the beginning of school. The chancellor addresses the students, they have a special speaker for the occasion, and all the first term medical students walk across the stage and have their white coats placed on them. It sounds simple, but with an MC who liked to hear himself talk and over 400 students, it took about 2 hours.

One of my favorite parts of the ceremony was listening to the keynote speaker, Lord Walton of Detchant. He is at least 90 years old (literally), but one of the most interesting and eloquent speakers I have ever heard. He is a pediatric neurologist, a member of the House of Lords in England, and he previously chaired the Select Committee on Medical Ethics. At one time he was the president of the World Federation of Neurology, as well as president of the British Medical Association. He was responsible for isolating a certain gene that caused a severe form of muscular dystrophy in young boys. Because of his research, children that were dying from that disease by 16 years of age, are now living into their late 30's. I could have listened to him all day.

Finally the time came for Ryan to have his white coat placed on him. (Technically they call it "receiving the white coat," but I find that ironic since the students bring the coat on stage with them.) In these pictures, Ryan is second from the right putting on his white coat.

This picture is a little blurry, but this is Ryan walking past me on the way back to his seat.

Following the ceremony, we took some pictures on the stage and then headed to the reception.

This ceremony marks the first step in a long journey that is still ahead of us. But I am so proud of Ryan for his hard work in getting to this point.


  1. Congratulations to the both of you! Such an exciting time in your life together. I am looking forward to following you on this journey via your blog.

  2. Hi Sarah
    Hope you both are doing well. It was so nice to see you all in Greenville. Congrats to Ryan on his white coat ceremony. You'll have to let us know and when you start school too.:)
    Lisa H.

  3. The white coat ceremony made for quite an exciting day for you all! I was glad to read about it. Very excited about your new journey. I just found your blog today. I hope you are doing well.
    (When I saw it asked for URL below, I put David's site. He has a few really yummy recipes on it.)

  4. Lisa - it was so great to see you as well. I enjoyed getting to talk to you for a little bit. I'll keep you posted on my school plans. :) Hope this semester goes well for you!

  5. Bethany, it's great to hear from you! Thanks for the link to David's website. Hope you guys are doing well!


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