College of Medicine holds ‘white coat’ ceremony for first-year students

As their ceremonial induction into the medical profession, 119 first-year Florida State University medical students donned — for the first time — the white coat of a doctor during the FSU College of Medicine‘s annual White Coat Ceremony held Aug. 19 in Ruby Diamond Concert Hall.

College of Medicine Dean John P. Fogarty presided over the ceremony, which was attended by hundreds of the students’ family members and friends.

“These medical students have successfully completed their first semester,” Fogarty said. “This ceremony is a chance for us to officially recognize them as medical students and welcome them into the traditions of the medical profession.”

The white coat of a doctor symbolizes such things as the trust between doctor and patient, honesty, integrity and cleanliness, Fogarty explained.

With one semester completed, John Hahn, 27, of Valencia, Calif., discussed the challenges and rewards of his Florida State medical education so far.

“We’ve taken gross anatomy, embryology and a doctoring course,” Hahn said. “We’ve dissected cadavers and learned the human body from head to toe. It’s been a lot of work, but at the same time a lot of fun, too. You build some really great relationships. It feels as if we’ve become closer to each other than we are to our families.

“I didn’t expect to grow so close so quickly with my classmates,” Hahn said.

Mitali Agarwal, 21, of Orlando, Fla., echoed Hahn’s sentiments.

“I really enjoyed how we came together as a cohesive group and have grown so close in such a short amount of time,” Agarwal said. “The workload, as expected, was certainly challenging. Having the support group of my classmates and the faculty of the College of Medicine made it easier.”

Agarwal added how excited she and her fellow medical students were to don the white coat for the first time.

“It feels like we have been waiting practically our whole lives for this moment,” Agarwal said.