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In Your Words  |   June 2013
Reflection in the Water Pool
Author Notes
  • Address correspondence to Jimmy Tam Huy Pham, MHS, MA, OMS III, Midwestern University/Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine, 20000 N 57th Ave D208, Glendale, Arizona 85308-8622. E-mail: jthuypham@gmail.com  
Article Information
Medical Education / Being a DO / In Your Words
In Your Words   |   June 2013
Reflection in the Water Pool
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, June 2013, Vol. 113, 496. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2013.113.6.496
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, June 2013, Vol. 113, 496. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2013.113.6.496
Web of Science® Times Cited: 10
First day of class, I stood
in front of it.
The pool was empty,
completely empty.
Newly accepted,
I was eager to start the journey.
Came the end of first year,
I completed the basics:
anatomy, physiology,
and osteopathic principles.
 
I stood in front of the pool again;
I still could not see
my full reflection.
More materials to learn,
more experience to gain,
and pathology,
not my favorite class to take.
 
But each moment of learning
— from class or from outside,
from volunteering
or from lecture slides,
from standardized patients
to colleagues' explanations —
is a droplet of water
forming a puddle
at the bottom of that pool.
 
I stood in front of Sahuaro Hall,
at the water pool,
again.
Now I see myself:
in a short white coat
with a fancy name tag.
The reflection is clear:
I am a physician in training.
It may seem so far,
but in fact
I am very near.
 
I could not see myself before;
the pool was empty
and dry
but with each drop of water,
the pool fills up
in a blink of an eye.
Each drop of water,
let it be big or small,
slowly and collectively form,
without our awareness or instant recall.
 
Next time you stand in front of that pool,
remind yourself:
without a collection of water drops,
big or small,
there won't be a reflection,
not at all.
 
Let it be big or small.
The reflection of you
is a collection of droplets,
that you
have gathered to become.
 
Acknowledgment
This poem was inspired by Malcolm Blazer's painting titled “Reflections,” which is on display at Midwestern University/Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine in Glendale. 
   Financial Disclosures: None reported.