freetext. professor

I never really saw myself here.

Clinic work is amazing. I love sitting down, looking into the eyes of a tired mama, or a scared teenager, or the 45-year-old diabetic, or the hurting grandma, or the 4-day-old child. They talk. I listen. I examine. Diagnose. Treat. We think outloud together and find a plan. A plan for health. A hope of wellness. And perhaps, some short-term peace and empowerment in life.

I love working with patients.

But wow. I equally love working with graduate students.

My heart races out of pure excitement everytime. I walk onto campus with a huge smile on my face. Every room I pass has eager adults, hunched over books and drinking coffee — hands on their foreheads trying to learn it all. I get to the room and walk into it. Men and women who have survived higher education, have chosen to keep going with school and learn even more.

I love clinic. I love my family and friends. But MAN I ADORE being with students. Whether they are with me in clinic, in their lab practicing skills and looking for tips, or interacting with me as I lecture, it is a constant highlight of my week.

I can’t remember a lot of pathophysiology details. Most facts are difficult for me to memorize. And don’t even get me started on attempting to teach me numbers. I never aced grad school exams and there are certain diseases I still can’t correctly pronounce or spell (why are three names for everything and they’re so darn long?!?! Breathe.). So I NEVER thought I would be considered “smart enough” to somehow teach others how to do what I do. How to BE, how I am.

But I DO know that I’m gifted with my patients. I’m really good at my job. And I love challenging others to think outside the box. I know what questions to ask to get a little bit deeper. I love mind-maps. Connecting the dots and asking the questions. I know my own limits and love learning new things myself.

So with only a third of my life complete here in this world, I was gifted the opportunity to teach.

The road to this moment was slow, YEARS in the making. With each area of my work life and lecture-experience giving me one more piece of this puzzle until it was all in place. The location and timing. Their needs and my needs and skills. Even my season of quiet held it’s purpose. There was no mistaken chapter or season. All was for creating a purpose. And even now, I don’t know what purpose THIS all will create in my next chapters! (isn’t life grand?!)

I have practiced in family medicine for 6 years (WOAH. How did that happen already) and I have so much more to learn myself. And the only constant in the medical field is that there WILL be change, it’s impossible to keep up with it all. But in my methods of teaching, I have become a better life-long student myself. I find myself constantly becoming a better provider BECAUSE of my students.

So my point? Keep living in your spot. Because inevitably your spot will change as your life experiences change. God’s story throughout history is covered in people who held multiple roles in their life. It’s OK that life isn’t one thing for 50 years. And if it is for you, then wow what an expert teacher you will be for others coming behind you. Every patient’s life I touch has meaning and purpose. Every student I guide has meaning and purpose. Your gifts are important because God made you for many purposes. So live boldly and bravely!

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Alicia

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