Reflections as a Student

By: Ladan Hariri


I pray that I always be deserving of the blessings bestowed upon me, and that in my 23 years of living I have never been undeserving. I pray that I may always be ardent to the experiences of my wise elders, and that I always be a loving daughter, sister, grand-daughter, niece and friend. I pray to be humbled and remember that life’s joys come not from material, but from moments.

I am so fortunate to be of a beautiful Iranian heritage, and with that I have been blessed with the gifts of Persian music–breath taking musical compilations of meaning and poetry which act to both haunt and inspire me. My quaint apartment is always piping with the sounds of both classical and modern Persian melodies–many which may bring me to tears or induce me to dance. That is the beauty of our musical culture–it inspires such a variation of emotions and speaks to you on levels I have never known from any other type of music–but then I again I am biased by my undying and unrelenting love of Iranian culture. The love of Persian music runs hot through my veins, and without it– I doubt I could live.

Only a few months ago I came to discover the song “Khaki” by the ever famous and legendary singer Sattar over the online Iranian radio. “Khaki” implies to be of the soil and thus invokes to be humbled. I wish to share my reflections in hope that I might inspire my readers. You may also utilize the link at the beginning and end of this post to access the music video for “Khaki.”

As my first year of medical school is coming to an end, I cannot help but to feel two very polarized emotions. I am thrilled to go back home and spend time with my family for a full three months and feel celebratory in being able to claim success in finishing what might be regarded as one of the most challenging years of my life. I also feel reluctance in stepping forward in time and in my course of education, for as I step forward in this aspect I also find myself taking a step away from classmates and fond memories I have cherished more than I could ever have imagined. To have been blessed with such incredible people in my life has been a gift which I hope I never find myself undeserving of. To think that I have had the honor to sit in the same lecture hall and celebrate all sorts of events of my life with the most accomplished, unselfish, brilliant, inspiring and talented students in the entire nation. To believe that these remarkable individuals belong to my life as friends. I almost cry at the thought of not being able to see these friends who I cherish and love so dearly–and that is the reality of moving forward. All I will have are memories of daring experiences, roaring laughter and undeniably unforgettable moments involving some of the most brilliant young ladies and gentleman I will ever have had the pleasure of being in company with.

I am humbled by my peers–honored to have them as my friends. I hope that as we progress in our work we do not lose sight of what and who we are at the end of day–ultimately we are all of the soil. We are to be healers, and I wish more than anything that we all remain humbled in our work. I pray that we not forget the oath we all took from the first day of our journey–that we look upon our white coats as not being marks of status, but instead of cloaks representing our humility and reverence to all we work with in the hope of healing those who have been humbled by ailment. I hope that we do not ever look at ourselves as being above our co-workers whose degrees do not possess the same letters as our own–that we never find ourselves lost in our own egos and thus too high-and-mighty to be bothered by patients who are without insurance, nurses who have opinion, or family members who ask for our time. I hope that we never utilize our scrub uniforms and white coats as stamps of our superiority in mind and physical ability. I pray that we always be of the earth-of the soil and remain humbled. No matter how far we progress in our field, we will ultimately always be students of the patient. We serve the patient–care for the patient. May we not toxicate the humble position we hold with egotistical reverence of ourselves nor sneer down from self-constructed pedestals upon which we can feel tempted to sit upon.

Sattar asks that we break the self binding chains of money and possession for those who are humble are lovers of innocence and purity. Those who are of the soil are loved by God and know no differences between a king and servant. These individuals live life as it should be lived–they measure happiness by memories and moments–never by placing material upon the scale to measure it to their greed. In my mind material includes that of self-reverence in status. May we never use our degrees, and years of experience to “put someone in their place” may they be nurse, resident, intern, student, patient or family member.

I have been humbled in so many ways this past year, and though at times it has been painful to accept my realization of life’s funny lessons, I feel that I am a better person for falling to my knees. To tilt my chin down is to yield opportunity of self-reflection. I may in this manner feel the pangs of deserving versus undeserving and merit the remembrance that–again–moments not material build a life.

“Break the chains of wealth and possession–Those of the soil are lovers of innocence–Thus loved by God–They know not of difference between king and servant”
“Khaki” by Sattar